Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Recently I have shared with you an article called 'Quantum Computing: Why The Race is On?'. In this blog I will focus mainly on the actual business cases and touch briefly how quantum computing (QC) market continues to develop.
The global market value forecast of quantum computing differs depending on the source. For example, IQT Research suggests that it is expected to reach $ 2.2 billion by 2026, while the other source indicates that it was estimated to account for US$ 3.98 billion in 2019. The third source projects $ 513.3 million opportunity by 2027. Despite massively different quantum computing global market value estimations, there are few elements that are consistent across multiple resources:
- Quantum computers are coming and that the market is accelerating in growth
- Pioneering businesses are preparing for Quantum Leap and applying QC in real business cases
- QC offers amazing optimization opportunity, but qubits are still prone to errors
Recap: What is Quantum Computer?
Quantum computers excel at optimization, where mathematical problems need to be solved. The remarkable properties of quantum computing depend on the behavior of qubits. Classical bits encode the information in strings of 0s and 1s. Contrary to bits, which can be represented by either 0 or 1, qubits can exist as 0 and 1 in parallel, or so called 'superposition'. Superposition lets one qubit perform two calculations at once, and if two qubits are linked through a quantum effect known as entanglement, they can help perform four calculations simultaneously; three qubits, eight calculations; and so on, which also means that it's less energy-intensive process. It is qubits that enable quantum algorithms to run various calculations at the same time. Qubits are temperamental: they are error-prone, hard to control, and always on the verge of falling out of their quantum state. It depends on the QC technology, ie. superconducting qubits need to be cooled all the way down to -273 C. Scientists expect a fault-tolerant quantum computer to be commercialized in 5 to 10 years.
There are several fundamental compromises when you move into the realm of quantum computing. Here’s one that’s daunting just by itself: solutions will rarely be exact or definitive. A quantum computer is not a deterministic machine; in other words, there is no singular solution for which any other result would be an error.
Image source: Clotmag
Need for computing power continues to grow exponentially as automation, AI and machine learning take flight. Especially U.S. and China are competing aggressively for a global market leader position. For example, the U.S. is investing around $ 420 million per year in QC R&D for dominating the space. IBM roadmap is set to achieve 1,121-qubit system in 2023 - pretty ambitious compared to the fact that most quantum computers currently work with less than 100 qubits. You may purchase QC from $ 15 million or run quantum calculations on the cloud service provided by Google, IBM, D-Wave, Honeywell, QC Ware and others.
'58% of survey respondents said quantum computing will have a significant or somewhat of an impact on the enterprise, even though 90% reported having little or no understanding of the technology'.
Source: The CIO’s guide to Quantum Computing 2020 by ZDNet
The above quote suggests the lack of QC awareness amongst business leaders and this is one of the drivers why I'm writing another blog for you. Not surprisingly, recently concluded Gartner CIO agenda survey suggests that QC was not a high priority investment area for CIOs. It can be understood why. Companies will need to have access to much larger quantum computers with low error rates, as well as to appropriate quantum algorithms that address key problems before they can measure QC business value. The most forward-thinking IT and business Leaders are already preparing themselves for Quantum Leap by planning staffing, skills and projects, and building an understanding of how quantum computing can help solve actual business problems. While CTOs, CIOs, CDOs, VPs of Digital Innovation are seen as the ones who will drive QC need within their organization, Solution Architects, Security Engineers will be tasked to start planning how quantum computing will become part of their IT use case workflows.
Source: Mckinsey, 'A game plan for quantum computing' (above projections are expected to materialize by year 2025).
Financial & Consulting
Quantum computers could generate much better predictions of financial risk and uncertainty, and boost the efficiency of key operations such as investment portfolio optimization or options pricing. Stock markets will witness high frequency trading which will lead to higher investments and efforts to develop resources and infrastructure to support quantum computing. At this stage of QC technology, when solving smaller problems, scientists still run quantum algorithms alongside classical computers to validate the results.
JP Morgan Chase partners with Honeywell to develop quantum computing algorithms for financial services. 50-60 qubit computers are needed to do useful work.
“Right now fund managers have to choose among an infinite number of investment combinations for their portfolios, based on the level of risk they want to take. Just imagine if you had a computer that could detect potential risk, based on your appetite for risk, within seconds of the change taking place in a particular security or market.”
The challenge is that detecting fraud could be better optimized through a tighter synergy between human factor and the technology. Quantum computing can be applied to that risk when assessing potential fraudulent payments, and connecting that capability to a virtual assistant would be beneficial for merchant services clients.
Goldman Sachs partnership with QC Ware aims to determine whether QC technology could speed up 'Monte Carlo' algorithm use to calculate theoretical value of an option, or a contract that gives individuals the right to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specific price and time. The project also aims to explore the capabilities of artificial-intelligence-based decision making. While majority of banks are looking to improve risk and investment portfolios through QC technology, Commerzbank PoV (proof of value) with Fujitsu is focusing on a completely different problem - the selection optimization of several thousand vehicle leasing assets for a securitization portfolio.
One negative consequence is the higher likelihood of financial systems being hacked. Without quantum safe cryptography and security, all information that is transmitted on public channels is vulnerable. Even encrypted data that is safe today can be stored for later decryption once a working quantum computer of sufficient capacity becomes available.
For instance, Mercedes–Benz, Daimler and IBM teamed up to develop next-generation batteries and how it can be used for discovering the new EV battery materials. The researchers are using quantum computing to figure out quantum chemistry. To increase the capacity and speed-of-charging of batteries for electric vehicles, Daimler’s researchers are working on next-generation lithium-sulfur batteries, which require the alignment of various compounds in the most stable configuration possible. To find the best placement of molecules, all the possible interactions between the particles that make up the compound’s molecules must be simulated.
The carmaker Volkswagen has been working with D-Wave since 2017, using its systems to model traffic flows and, similarly to Daimler, develop more efficient batteries for electric cars.
Image description: Quantum mechanics boosts photosynthesis. Image source: Physics World
Pharma / Biotech
At the leading edge of research into tackling diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, scientists have been utilizing software that models the behavior of artificial antibodies at the molecular level. A similar QC project tasked to analyze human decease patterns is driven by Bayer.
Neuroscience firm Biogen has been partnering with IT consultancy Accenture and quantum computing research firm 1QBit to frame a new molecular simulation model in such a way that it can be executed on classical platforms, as well as present and future quantum platforms. One methodology developed by 1QBit’s researchers involves translating traditional molecular diagrams into graphs full of dots, lines, and curves that, while seemingly more confusing on the surface, map more directly to a quantum model of vectors and relationships (Source: ZDNet).
By simulating molecular interactions that are too complex for classical computers to handle, qubits will let biotech companies fast-track the discovery of new drugs. QC will enable the performance of scalable and accurate quantum chemical calculations - this is one of the key drivers why Merck Group are researching quantum opportunities for past three years.
While a classical computer can do well in terms of machine learning when screening of images from an MRI and trying to screen for cancers. Quantum Computer has generative modelling capability to screen for a very rare kind of cancer and adapt the machine learning.
Canadian grocery chain Save-On-Foods has become an unlikely pioneer to discover some of the first benefits of quantum computing aiming to improve the management of their in-store logistics. Within two months, the concept had translated into a hybrid quantum algorithm that was running in one of the supermarket stores, reducing the computing time for some tasks from 25 hours per week down to mere seconds (Source: ZDNet).
As we become more fully immersed in the world of Big Data, the amount of information that needs to be analyzed and stored is going to grow exponentially, and quantum computers will be the ones to process it all. Quantum computing is used for the applications like cryptography, machine learning, algorithms, quantum simulation, quantum parallelism and others. Quantum computing is anticipated to hold a critical role in supporting new applications and technologies such as artificial intelligence, edge computing, IoT, smart city projects while also delivering a more accurate predictive analytics. Quantum-infused artificial intelligence also holds huge promise, with models expected to benefit from better training on bigger datasets. I didn't come to any resource yet that discusses QC application in threat and cyber risk modelling, or an accurate predictive analysis of cyber attack, however, I personally believe that there is a great potential for QC in those areas.
Travel & Transportation
According to CES 2020: The Big Trends for Business 2020 report, Delta Air Lines is looking to use QC technology to reduce stress across the travel day and optimizing the lengths of aircraft routes. An airline that used a quantum computer for route planning could develop a strategic advantage over another that didn't. Airbus is looking for ways how to optimize aircraft design and save fuel through quantum computer capabilities.
DHL sees value in exploring QC to help maximizing the simultaneous packing of millions of parcels in thousands of trucks and airplanes worldwide, detecting energy and product waste on a micro level, and boosting resiliency with adaptive, seamless re-planning and re-allocating due to unexpected shutdowns, late shipments, and cancelled orders. Besides dynamic route planning process optimization, QC promises to improve the layout of spare parts for rail network - it's not surprising that Deutsche Bahn have formed their own corporate venture capital arm which invests in innovative technology, including QC.
Navigation: A GPS system cannot work everywhere on the planet, particularly underwater. Teams of scientists are racing to develop a kind of quantum accelerometer that could yield very precise movement data. One promising effort to that end comes from France’s Laboratoire de Photonique Numérique et Nanosciences: an effort to build a hybrid component that pairs a quantum accelerometer with a classical one, then uses a high-pass filter to subtract the classical data from the quantum data. The result, if realized, would be an extremely precise quantum compass that would eliminate the bias and scale factor drifts commonly associated with gyroscopic components (Source: ZDNet).
ExxonMobil and BP are adopting QC technologies to develop a more accurate chemistry simulation techniques in energy technologies. More specifically, ExxonMobil is using quantum to design new chemicals for low energy processing and carbon capture and simulate macroscopic material properties such as heat capacity. The team has focused so far on the smallest of molecules, hydrogen gas.
Quantum computers can help manufacture fertilizers with better yields. This could have huge implications for the agricultural sector, as it faces the colossal task of sustainably feeding the growing global popular ion in years to come.
At Quantum Cybersecurity Skills we apply quantum computing approach which helps Security Services Operations to achieve optimization through people, processes and technology and be better aligned with your business goals. Our team has decades of Security Operations experience. With Quantum Leap coming, every percentage of efficiency and effectiveness count towards the business agility. Reach out to discuss how we could help. E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.quantumcybersecurityskills.com