Technology Planning and Analysis

How close is quantum computing?

“That sounds like sci-fi…!” is a term that gets bandied around a lot. Yet in the case of quantum computing, the really weird thing is just how recent the whole idea is.

In fact, the concept wasn’t invented until the early 1980s by Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman in a paper entitled “Simulating physics with computers”. And sci-fi didn’t get its teeth into it until the early 1990s – although, Multivac the supercomputer in Isaac Asimov's 1956 short story “The Last Question” from 1956, does show some parallels.  

These days everyone is getting on the bandwagon. But it is still pretty slow moving. D-Wave has been in the space since 1999 but hasn’t developed anything that is really usable yet. While IBM is also a core player. So, what does the rise of quantum computing really mean?

“Quantum computing is a dramatic leap from the computers that we have today,” Ergun Ekici, Vice President of emerging technologies at IPsoft, tells IDG Connect. “The biggest difference in quantum is using the superposition of quantum particles compared to binary digits. Quantum is not restricted to 0s and 1s. As a result, it's able to do large computations more easily and faster than ever before.”

Richard Murray, lead technologist of emerging technologies and industries at Innovate UK adds: “This will mean a new type of computing hardware, which will allow us to solve massively parallel problems much more efficiently. It will be very effective at solving problems like machine learning, image recognition, materials modelling and drug discovery, search and optimisation, which classical computers can do in only a very limited way.”

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