Following on from my blog post outlining an A-Z of Digital, here is “Q is for Quantum Computing”.

A computer which makes use of the quantum states of subatomic particles to store information (*Source: Dictionary*)

Although still in its infancy, there have already been huge developments in the field of Quantum Computing and predictions are showing a mass market in the future “Quantum Computing Market – Will Reach $10.7bn by 2024”.

Today’s computers make use of transistors to compute binary states (on/off, 1/0) where as Quantum Computers are based on quantum-mechanical phenomena, superposition and entanglement. See a colleagues post “Through the looking-glass: Quantum computing 101” for an explanation of these.

So what is special about Quantum Computers? Its their ability to compute data at an exponential rate allowing for quick computing of complex data. This is boosting the abilities of Machine Learning and AI to quickly deliver results and allow for greater computations to take place.

The measure of quantum information is called a qubit (the quantum version of the binary bit). Google already have a 20 qubit processor in test and are working on higher speeds. There have already been large systems capable of 2000 qubits (with a cost of around £15m the system). Higher qubit counts are expected as developments continue by the industry. MIT are looking at how “Ultracold molecules hold promise for quantum computing”

The applications for business and industry are vast with the ability to process information quickly, provide predictive analytics and machine learning, tackle cyber threats and provide a system for AI.

It will be a while before Quantum Computing becomes fully mainstream with some analysts predicting this around 2025. In the meantime there are advancements in existing computer methods with companies making new developments around Machine Learning and AI- e.g. “Google says its custom machine learning chips are often 15-30x faster than GPUs and CPUs“.

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