How Will Your Business Apply Quantum Computing?
Applications for quantum computing are becoming quite numerous. As quantum computing science and research transitions to the commercial world, does your business have a plan to apply quantum computing to business functions? Well done and thorough piece; in lay-speak. Recommend reading it from the source, below. Because Quantum is Coming. Qubit.
A Game Plan for Quantum Computing
Excerpts and salient points ~
+ Quantum computers have four fundamental capabilities that differentiate them from today’s classical computers: quantum simulation, in which quantum computers model complex molecules; optimization (that is, solving multivariable problems with unprecedented speed); quantum artificial intelligence (AI), with better algorithms that could transform machine learning across industries as diverse as pharma and automotive; and prime factorization, which could revolutionize encryption.
None of this will happen overnight. In fact, many companies and businesses won’t be able to reap significant value from quantum computing for a decade or more, although a few will see gains in the next five years. But the potential is so great, and the technological advances are coming so rapidly, that every business leader should have a basic understanding of how the technology works, the kinds of problems it can help solve, and how she or he should prepare to harness its potential.
+ 1. Cut development time for chemicals and pharmaceuticals with simulations …Quantum computers are intrinsically well suited to tackle this problem, since the interaction of atoms within a molecule is itself a quantum system. In fact, experts believe that quantum computers will be able to model even the most complex molecules in our bodies. Every bit of progress in this direction will drive faster development of new drugs and other products, and potentially lead to transformative new cures.
+ 2. Solve optimization problems with unprecedented speed …Solving these problems with classical computing is an arduous, hit-and-miss process. To isolate the inputs that drive performance gains or losses, the number of variables that can be shifted in any calculation must be seriously limited. As a result, companies must make one complicated calculation after another, a costly, time-consuming process given the multiplicity of variables. But, since quantum computers work with multiple variables simultaneously, they can be used first to dramatically narrow the range of possible answers in a very short time. Classical computing can then be called in to zero in on one precise answer, and its work will still seem slow compared with that of quantum. But, since quantum has eliminated so many possibilities, this hybrid approach will drastically cut the time it takes to find the best solution.
+ 3. Accelerate autonomous vehicles with quantum AI …It’s possible that quantum computers could speed the arrival of self-driving vehicles. At Ford, GM, Volkswagen, and other car manufacturers, and at a host of start-ups in the new mobility sector, engineers are running hours upon hours of video, image, and lidar data through complex neural networks. Their goal: use AI to teach a car to make crucial driving decisions, such as how to take a turn, where to speed up and slow down, and, crucially, how to avoid other vehicles, not to mention pedestrians. Training an AI algorithm this way requires a set of computationally intensive calculations, which become increasingly difficult as more data and more complex relationships within the variables are added. This training can tax the world’s fastest computers for days or even months. Since quantum computers can perform multiple complex calculations with multiple variables simultaneously, they could exponentially accelerate the training of such AI systems. It’s not going to happen anytime soon. Translating classical data sets to quantum ones is arduous work, and early quantum AI algorithms have resulted in only modest gains.
+ 4. Transform cybersecurity …Since quantum computers can perform multiple calculations simultaneously, they have the potential to break any classical encryption system. In fact, a quantum algorithm to do just that already exists. (It’s called Shor’s algorithm.) Luckily, there’s no quantum computer capable of managing the hundreds of thousands to millions of qubits it would take to execute Shor’s algorithm—as we said earlier, today’s versions can handle a dozen or so qubits. But somewhere between ten and 20 years from now, that might change, and at that point a new wave of quantum encryption technologies would be required to protect even our most basic online services. Scientists—as well as forward-thinking policy makers—are already at work on this quantum cryptography, trying to prepare for this tipping point.
Source: McKinsey Digital. Alex Ménard, Ivan Ostojic, Mark Patel, and Daniel Volz, A Game Plan for Quantum Computing…
Content may have been edited for style and clarity.