Reasons to Enable Africa’s Quantum Computing Potential
Why Africa must be ready to take the quantum leap
Selected notes ~
+ By harnessing such natural behaviour, quantum computers can run new types of algorithms to potentially solve previously “unsolvable” problems in optimization, chemistry and machine learning. And this is why Africa needs to act now to not miss this new era. We need to educate, we need to skill up and we need to brainstorm around the most pressing African use cases.
+ Sometimes the question is put to us: while the argument to diversify and nurture local expertise is well founded, do we have the raw talent? Fortunately, in South Africa we have a history of innovation in quantum physics to draw upon (for example, the Nobel prize for the invention of the CAT scan), and even recent surprising successes in the already mentioned supercomputing field, which is strongly intertwined with the quantum field. Over a recent four-year period, the South African supercomputing team were three-time world champions in the International Supercomputing Competition.
The quantum computing expertise that must be fostered to fulfill the goal of making sense of the raw SKA data would also have local spin-off benefits for Africa. Why? Well, the SKA will capture more data per day than is on the internet, meaning if you are a start-up and have algorithms that can find patterns in this enormous data set, working with banking or e-commerce data will be effortless.
+ Complementing classic supercomputers, quantum computing also promises to solve physics simulation and pattern discovery problems relevant to the SKA, such as removing the noise in the data from the science.
+ The last African-specific reason justifying investment in quantum computing are the future security implications. Quantum computers have the long-term potential to crack certain types of encryption we use to safeguard transactions. There are classical solutions to being quantum-safe, and it would be prudent if Africa had local expertise. Such precautions would steer a middle path between complacency and unwarranted hype and alarm.
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