Private Funding Pours into Quantum Computing; How Much and Who’s Getting It?
Interesting capture of private funding for quantum computing startups. Well worth the time to read from the source. Because Quantum is Coming. Qubit.
Quantum gold rush: the private funding pouring into quantum start-ups
Selected notes ~
+ Many worry that the buzz could turn into a bubble. “There is a lot of hype right now,” says Doug Finke, a computer scientist in Orange County, California, who runs the industry-tracking website Quantum Computing Report. Quantum technologies have seen rapid progress, but machines that can tackle many kinds of computation are still likely to be decades away, and even then it will be difficult to write algorithms that harness their abilities, says Finke.
Schoelkopf says that some firms are making grand promises on too short a timeline. But he thinks that estimates on how long it will take to build a general-purpose quantum computer are overly pessimistic. “If you had projected forward from where we were ten years ago, you would never have predicted how far we are today,” he says. Innovative hardware combined with software that picks out the most tractable problems means “we’re going to be reaching useful quantum computations faster than people think”.
+ Some VC investors are betting on a breakthrough that brings general-purpose quantum computers to fruition in five or ten years. Others are banking on making just enough progress for another firm to buy them out. Many also hope scientists can find applications for relatively small, imperfect quantum computers, which might emerge sooner. These would be limited to tackling specific questions, such as simulating a reaction in quantum chemistry or optimizing a financial model. They might not perform better than a classical computer that has unlimited computing resources, but they could still create marketable products.
+ If 2019 data end up showing that private US investment in quantum technology is slowing down, says Finke, that might be because of fears of a quantum winter or the long timeline to profitability for quantum firms. Increased competition between the large number of start-ups could also play a part, or concerns that the US–China trade war might cool the economy, he adds. A hype cycle is mandatory for almost every high-tech market, says Merzbacher, who predicts that “breathless reporting and frothy announcements” are likely to die down. There are solid reasons to think that quantum technologies will create game-changing advances. “It’s a question of the timeline, rather than if that will happen,” she says.
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