Quantum Computing and the Next Technology Revolution

Thanks to an absurd experiment by Erwin Schrödinger, we can see the potential benefits of quantum computing and its symbiosis with AI.

Quantum computing was the result of a deliberate yet thoughtful experiment by Erwin Schrödinger on his cat. However, what started as a simple experiment to highlight the superposition principle can now start a fifth-generation computing revolution.

The technology has taken a great leap forward from Schrödinger’s cat to replacing bulky supercomputers. Quantum computing harnesses the physics of quantum mechanics to develop a computer technology promising enormous processing power and faster arithmetic calculations.

Today, computers use bits – 1 & 0 – to encode and process information; however, quantum computers use qubits known for their unique ability to exist in a one and zero state simultaneously. This prowess allows quantum computers to perform the most complex calculations at a faster pace. The nascent technology has gained traction in the past few years, and global enterprises hope to launch quantum computing in the commercial sphere.

For instance, Riverlane, a spin-out company from the University of Cambridge, aims to transform quantum computers from experimental technology into commercial products. While a recent report by Accenture revealed that more than 80% of British companies are looking to scale up their quantum computing capacities.

Until now, businesses have relied on supercomputers to solve problems. A significant drawback of using supercomputers is low working memory to hold multiple combinations while solving complex problems. They iterate each combination one after another, taking irregular hours.

Potential Benefits of a Quantum Computer

There are potential benefits of a quantum computer. If a pharma company is testing a new molecule reaction, quantum computing’s processing speed can permutate millions of possible combinations and sort large datasets to unearth patterns. With the technology, life-saving drugs and vaccines can be formulated faster, a fundamental requirement to curb pandemics like COVID-19.

This possible application of quantum computing has nudged the UK government to invest in it. The government and IBM announced a five-year £210 million artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing collaboration. Moreover, IBM has launched a Quantum Network that works with startups, governments, organisations and research labs to advance quantum computing. Rakho, a London-based company, uses quantum machine learning to build solutions and cut costs and time to support the pharma industry.

Amanda Solloway, UK Science Minister, has already quoted quantum computing as a real-life technology transforming lives. Following the trend, the UK government is investing hugely in quantum computing and AI followed by a centre in Daresbury, Cheshire, in a partnership between IBM and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The centre is looking for a transformation in transportation: traffic routing, energy distribution and the manufacturing industry via quantum computing.

A quantum revolution is inevitable, and organisations need to be ready.

The Symbiosis of AI and Quantum Computing

AI has already been in the innovation space for some years. However, the technology requires quantum computing to expand and have a competent infrastructure. Quantum computing algorithms can help enhance machine learning technologies employed by IT firms.

Google is dwelling over this possibility and has launched its Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab to work out this theoretical framework. Universal Quantum, a brainchild of the University of Sussex, is competing against Silicon Valley giants. The enterprise uses microwave technology instead of lasers for a quantum AI discovery.

Moreover, quantum computing has an untapped potential to remodel the fintech industry. As per Mckinsey, quantum computing can change the way the financial world works. SpinUp AI in London has developed algorithmic trading strategies. The technology can have further applications in risk assessment, portfolio management and customised solutions.

Beyond healthcare and finance, quantum computing can help reform the communication industry by facilitating secure communications standards. Quantum Base in Lancaster says it can invent, design and develop mass-producible quantum security solutions and devices at the nanoscale. They provide optical and electronic PUF (Physically Unclonable Functions) devices that cannot be cloned, copied or simulated. Also in the UK, Crypta Lab, an IOT security startup, uses a quantum-based encryption chip to secure electronic devices against cyber attacks.

The symbiosis of AI and quantum computing holds endless potential. However, the process comes with its own set of drawbacks. Scientists have pointed out the risks and ethical concerns involved with quantum computing. It is essential to mitigate the challenges in advance for a sustainable and inclusive future. Given the crumbling of healthcare during COVID, it makes much sense to invest in quantum technology. The promise of quick analysis by quantum computers can ramp up our machine learning and AI capabilities. All thanks to an absurd experiment by Schrödinger.

Avya Chaudhary
Avya Chaudhary
Avya Chaudhary is an engineer turned writer and an ardent Potterhead. Currently associated with TechnologyAdvice as a freelance writer, Avya develops high-quality content for businesses. She also has a well-demonstrated history of working with NGOs and civil societies, and is currently pursuing her passion for community service and content marketing.
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