As money pours into quantum computing, investors are eyeing the technology’s potential to address scientific, business, and security problems beyond the scope of today’s conventional computers. According to industry executives who spoke at the Goldman Sachs 2023 Disruptive Technology Symposium, there are indications that dramatic impacts could emerge in the not too distant future.
A key question during the event was whether the development of quantum computing will follow the path of globalization or fragment into a regional approach. This is especially important at a time when the world is emerging, a source of geopolitical tensions and showing signs of vulnerability amid a pandemic.
Quantinuum vice chairman and founder Ilyas Khan said during a panel discussion on quantum computing that he sees an impetus for state control over the development of quantum computing technology. The work his company does in the United States is subject to national security agreements administered by various federal agencies. In many countries, the development of quantum computing technologies is managed by national bodies, and the intensity of their interest and investment is a historic development, he said.
“Since the Industrial Revolution, I don’t know anything that resembles resources being controlled at the national level to allow individual countries to gain competitive advantage,” Khan said. “When that happens, there will be overlap, there will be competition, there will be doubt. According to Khan, one of the many things that could ultimately counteract these trends and support globalization is that investors and corporate customers are asking for the best ideas of quantum computing. to seek out all over the world.
At the same time, there are significant military and cybersecurity concerns as quantum computing has the potential to overwhelm existing cryptographic protocols. The disruption that quantum computing promises will not only affect the business sector, but also the national security sector, Stephen Nandy, chief technology officer at European venture capital fund Lakestar, said at the symposium.
Nundy suggests that even more pressing is the question of who will lead the development of this new technology. Europeans were mostly on the sidelines as the US firm expanded his computing business in the now-dominant cloud, but should be wary of doing the same with quantum computing. he said. Rather than develop domestic industry and expertise, Europe would be making a poor choice simply waiting for a copy of the quantum technology blueprint from the United States or Asia, he said.
Interdependence is another theme that is emerging as the ecosystem of quantum computing technologies evolves. Pia Lemmetty, financial director of her IQM Quantum Computers in Finland, explained her company’s decision to build a pilot her foundry for quantum processors. Her original intention was to design the chip so she could manufacture it in-house, but she said other startups without the foundry’s capabilities are starting to reach out. “It’s very important to think from a European angle and have the ability to be self-reliant in terms of hardware development in Europe,” Lemeti said.
Lemmetti said her company has already begun working with enterprise customers to design adaptations of quantum computing algorithms and solutions and develop hardware specifications to address industry-relevant problems. This will ensure that companies can build their expertise and will be able to do so when “quantum supremacy” emerges, she said. “Now is the time to start doing that.”
Markus Pflitsch, founder and CEO of Terra Quantum, agreed that corporate customers should start building relationships and expertise now. His Swiss-based company is developing quantum algorithms, software that can now run on classical computers, while developing quantum hardware. This hybrid approach using simulated qubits has already shown some of the possibilities. Examples include collective portfolio modeling for the investment industry and optimized satellite mission planning.
These algorithms may start to reach their full potential as hardware advances. But Pfrich said companies need to be aware of the upcoming disruptions and start working on quantum computing technologies as soon as possible. “We have more and more customers,” he says Pflitsch. “We can deliver business value today.”
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