The year 2021 (and 2020 for that matter), saw a complete shift in the way people work, play and communicate.
The culprit attributed to what has been aptly referred to as “the new normal” was, of course, the COVID-19 global pandemic. 2022 and 2023 however are lining up to see even more changes, but this time, we’ll be able to attribute some disruption to advances in quantum computing as the technology continues emerging from the exploration and research phases to implementation in the real world.
Zapata Computing published a new survey-based report on Enterprise Quantum Computing Adoption in December 20211 which provides insight into quantum computing trends of the past and what can be expected over the next two years. The most telling conclusions of the report is that the early adopters of quantum computing are expected to realize a competitive advantage over later adopters as early as 2022 and 2023. In particular, those enterprises that fail to adopt quantum computing solutions will certainly fall behind their competitors, to which the report emphasizes that, “The long-held belief that quantum is years — if not decades — away, is no more”.
The report provides interesting insight into the investment trends of organizations in the quantum space, which are expected to continue over the coming years.
For example, Zapata found that the motivation fueling the big budget organizations having quantum budgets of $1 million or more, is at least in part, to block the intellectual property of competitors. Other motivators fueling increased quantum budgets include early adopters “playing to win”, in other words, gaining the first-mover advantage, and for late adopters, trying not to be left behind. Workplace development was also a significant motivator with 85% of the most advanced quantum adopters ranking development of a quantum-ready work force as a top motivator for increased quantum budgets.
Although it is clear that enterprises are buying into the quantum computing race, whether trying to beat the market or ensuring they don’t fall behind, what isn’t yet clear is just what kind of advances are tangibly expected in 2022.
Researches remain skeptical of achieving quantum supremacy within the next few years. Bob Sutor, Vice President, IBM Q Strategy & Ecosystem, agrees, but remains optimistic of achieving quantum supremacy within the next decade. Thus, while classic computers remain prevalent in solving every day problems, significant disruption is coming.
Industry experts predict some proof of concept works to come to light in 2022 in the realm of quantum cryptography demonstrating how encryption schemes could be hacked or otherwise compromised.
his development may in turn ramp up the research and implementation of robust quantum resistant algorithms to defend against quantum hacks. The most likely trend to come about in the coming years however is expected to be a hybrid approach with quantum computing technology supplementing classical computers.
Expansion of quantum technologies between nations to encourage technological growth and development is also already being seen in the early days of 2022. Canadian company D-Wave Systems Inc., recently announced1 its launch of the Leap™ quantum cloud based system at the Forschungszentrum Jülich Supercomputing Centre in Germany. D-Wave’s offering includes access to D-Waves quantum annealing computer, the Advantage™ quantum system, which enables users to develop and run real-world, in-production quantum applications at scale in the cloud. This is the first quantum annealing computer to be physically located in Europe and provides general access to European researchers to continue advancing quantum technologies.
The future is, of course, unclear. Quantum computers are advancing at an unprecedented rate but a significant number of obstacles still need to be overcome before any true quantum supremacy will be achieved.