Quantum computers were once thought an impossible technology as they harness the power of quantum mechanics and are housed in unconventional environments. Now they are able to solve important problems in all kids of industries.
Quantum computer are types of computer that directly leverage the laws of quantum mechanics to do calculations. Most importantly, quantum computers are able to solve problems faster than conventional computers that we all enjoy in our daily life. Other than usual computers, which use bits that are either one or zero, a quantum computer can use bits that are what’s called a subversion of zero and one. This means it can be both at the same time. In December, NASA and Google have published the results of their first quantum computer and confirmed that such a system can work. To make it do so, the computer needs to run in an environment of nearly -273 degrees, the lowest temperature possible by physical objects.
By now, one would not buy a quantum computer for the economics but with more research, there will be tasks that are economically solved by quantum computer compared to classical ones. Vern Borwnell, CEO of D-Wave Systems, the first company to introduce commercially available quantum computers, says that the advantages of quantum computers lie within the area of machine learning and optimisation.
“We’re trying to find the best answer out of a complex set of alternatives. And that could be in portfolio analysis and financial services. It could be trying to find the right types of drugs to give a cancer patient—lots of meaty, very impactful types of applications that are in the sampling world that we believe are very relevant to this,” Vern says in a McKinsey interview. In five years time, the technology will be very much in use in all sorts of businesses, he predicts.