Scientists and researchers have long extolled the extraordinary potential capabilities of universal quantum computers, like simulating physical and natural processes or breaking cryptographic codes in practical time frames. Yet important developments in the technology--the ability to fabricate the necessary number of high-quality qubits (the basic units of quantum information) and gates (elementary operations between qubits)--is most likely still decades away. However, there is a class of quantum devices--ones that currently exist--that could address otherwise intractable problems much sooner than that. These near-term quantum devices, coined Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) by Caltech professor John Preskill, are single-purpose, highly imperfect, and modestly sized. Dr. Anton Toutov is the cofounder and chief science officer of Fuzionaire and holds a PhD in organic chemistry from Caltech.
Just occasionally, Alán Aspuru-Guzik has a movie-star moment, when fans half his age will stop him in the street. "They say, 'Hey, we know who you are'," he laughs. "Then they tell me that they also have a quantum start-up, and would love to talk to me about it." "I don't usually have time to talk, but I'm always happy to give them some tips." That affable approach is not uncommon in the quantum-computing community, says Aspuru-Guzik, who is a computer scientist at the University of Toronto, Canada, and co-founder of quantum-computing company Zapata Computing in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In the near future, quantum computing could change the world. Download the free report to learn about the the quantum computing industry landscape and how close we are to quantum supremacy. Take climate change for example: Because of the complexity of the climate system, seemingly endless data, and growing limitations on today's computing power, no classical computer (like your desktop) can simulate the earth's climate changes with 100% accuracy. Quantum computers, on the other hand, are supercomputers equipped with advanced processing powers. Taking tons of climate variables into account, they could create data-driven models to help forecast weather patterns and prepare for natural disasters. Beyond climate simulations, these advanced computing systems could make ultra-fast calculations on the biggest and most complex datasets -- and the technology is certainly catching media attention. But how exactly does it work? Quantum computers can process massive and complex datasets more efficiently than classical computers. They use the fundamentals of quantum mechanics to speed up the process of solving complex computations.
From the start of computing history, the power of our CPU's is growing exponentially. Henceforth allowing the computer systems to be smaller and more powerful, but this joy ride is about to come to an end. To understand why, first we need to understand the greatest prediction of the 20th century which held on for more than 50 years. Yes, I am talking about the Moore Law, which is named after the Gordon Moore cofounder of Fairchild Semiconductors and CEO of the Intel. The number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit, double about every two years, though the cost of the system is halved.
This month IBM and Google both said they aim to commercialize quantum computers within the next few years (Google specified five), selling access to the exotic machines in a new kind of cloud service. The competitors predict a new era in which computers are immensely more powerful, with dividends including more efficient routing for logistics and mapping companies, new forms of machine learning, better product recommendations, and improved diagnostic tests. But before any of that, the first quantum computer to start paying its way with useful work in the real world looks likely to do so by helping chemists trying to do things like improve batteries or electronics. So far, simulating molecules and reactions is the use case for early, small quantum computers sketched out in most detail by researchers developing the new kind of algorithms needed for such machines. Quantum computers, which represent data using quantum-mechanical effects apparent at tiny scales, should be able to perform computations impossible for any conventional computer.