A quantum leap for business

In the past few years, quantum computing has emerged as an exciting and potentially explosive successor to classical computers.

Why all the excitement? By harnessing the principles of quantum physics, quantum-based computers promise exponential leaps in performance over classical computers. And the wait for a fully realized quantum computer to hit the market could be as short as 10 to 20 years.

To learn about the potential impact of this breakthrough technology on businesses and industries, the IBM Center for Applied Insights talked to leading experts in the field of quantum research. While there are still technical feats to overcome, we wanted to know what to expect from quantum computing. What benefits will it provide to companies and what industries will benefit the most and soonest? Their insights, available in a new study, “A quantum of possibilities,” are revealing and optimistic.

Quantum computers could provide huge benefits for governments and corporations, especially in areas such as cryptography, materials science and chemistry. They could also accelerate innovation in a wide range of areas from drug discovery to weather prediction.

The experts are clear that it’s not an all-or-nothing game. From quantum simulators to cryptography tools that use the general rules of quantum mechanics, several capabilities are already a reality. Earlier this year, IBM unveiled a new square quantum bit circuit design that could potentially scale to larger dimensions and get us one step closer to a quantum computer.

While it’s still a waiting game, there are several ways we can prepare for a quantum future:

  1. Nurture new skills and create new roles to build, maintain and use quantum computers – from quantum scientists and engineers to quantum generalists and managers.
  2. Expand quantum computing curricula to address the growing need for quantum education and training.
  3. Increase collaboration between the academic community and corporations to accelerate innovation and fund quantum projects.

Even at this early stage, interest in quantum computing is growing rapidly. With billion-dollar investments from Institutions, corporations and governments around the world, quantum computing may become a goldmine for early adopters. While the full impact of this new technology is still unclear, researchers in the field are hopeful about quantum computing’s potentially enormous impact on industries and society in general.

 

Previously published on the IBM Center for Applied Insights blog, December 2, 2015.

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