How, Where, and When Quantum Computers Will Take Over
Quantum computers will dominate the future, but it is just a question of how, where, and when? For starters, quantum computers are fundamentally different than current computers. Conventional computers use bits, which are electrical pulses that represent 1s or 0s. Meanwhile, quantum computers generate and manipulate quantum bits (qubits), which are subatomic particles such as electrons or photons. Qubits provide advantages over bits because of qubits’ superior processing power over bits due to their quantum properties. The issue is the quantum state is extremely fragile, and researchers have not been able to generate enough qubits in a stable state for perfect use. This is why quantum computers are some time away from being fully utilized.
This being said, applications of quantum computers will render the future due to the qubits’ incredible processing power. Quantum computers will be used to solve combinatorial optimization problems, meaning minimizing or maximizing a function. This will affect industries with network optimization problems such as airlines or taxis. Moreover, quantum computers will solve differential equation problems. Solving differential equation problems is important for industries that need to run large scale fluid dynamic simulations (automotive and aeronautical designs) as well as for molecular stimulation for drug discovery.
Additionally, quantum computers will be better at solving problems involving matrix diagonalization or eigenvalues. This has huge applications for risk management and DNA sequence classification. Finally, these computers can run through factorization problems, which is important in everything in cryptography and computer security. This means decryption and code breaking could be done with ease.
Quantum computers likely will not be used to full capacity for another twenty years or so but they will still influence the next few years. In the next three to five years quantum computers are expected to have over a two-billion-dollar impact. This is due to a quantum computer’s ability to solve combinatorial optimization problems. However, the destabilization of qubits often causes errors to occur.
Nevertheless, in the next ten plus years it is expected quantum computers will fix this issue and be utilized in risk management and quant funds. At this point, the computers will have north of a $25 billion impact. Finally, at full scale (likely 20 years away) quantum computers will be able to model anything. This will mean quantum computing will have huge effects in drug industries and have upwards of a $450 billion ceiling.
Although full scale quantum computers may be a way away, investors should buy in now. It is unlikely that quantum computers will slowly get better, but rather they will hit a breakthrough at any point. As a result, companies that are invested and ready to implement them are at a huge structural advantage. The failure to understand the future of quantum computers could be a detrimental mistake for many companies in a number of industries.
Written by Willie Turchetta, Edited by Sonakshi Dua & Alexander Fleiss