Aldo Agostinelli

In this period, rumor has it that quantum computing is bound to revolutionize digital ecosystems. Could it be true? First of all, we need to understand what we are talking about.

To say it in a nutshell, quantum computing offers the opportunity to exploit quantum calculus by means of a new generation of quantum computers. The difference between a standard PC, like the one I am using to write this post, or the ones everyone has on their desk, and a quantum computer is huge. While the former is mainly a calculator which uses sequences of 0 and 1 bits to process data and solve problems, the latter can do much more than that. Read it in Italian.

Indeed, they use quantum bits, called qubits. Quoting the definition Bernard Marr gave Forbes, if we picture a sphere, one bit can stay only on one of the sphere poles, while a  qubit can be anywhere. Which practically means that a 50 to 100 qubits quantum computer, can record and process an amazing amount of data and solve extremely complex problems. In other words, Big Data to the Nth degree.

However, inventors have not been working on a new type of PCs only to obtain a greater capacity to process data, but also to face the emergency due to the shortage of energy: according to a research by the Semiconductor Industry Association, by 2040 we will no longer be able to power all the PCs in the world. Therefore, we need more powerful machines consuming less energy, maybe to be shared or even to be provided to all of us. The race towards “quantum supremacy”, as it has been defined by scientists, has officially started. Actually, some experts think we may be there within two years.

It is no coincidence, then, that last year IBM premièred a quantum computer which can be accessed online by everyone for free, and that, only two months ago, they announced the development of some quantum computing systems , called IBM Q, to be distributed through IBM Cloud.

But such quantum supremacy is just the beginning. The real target is manufacturing a quantum computer with several million qubits, and this won’t be achieved before a decade (Quantum computers are about to get real).

How and how much quantum computing will affect our lives is still to be clarified, since it may be applied to so many fields that boundaries are impossible to be defined. It will surely be used for industrial research, from the chemical sector to the aerospace one, for instance to select the best material (and composition) to be employed for the production of space stations, robots, cars and so on. But not only: quantum computers are bound to replace cryptography as we know it today, since quantum cryptography is literally “unhackable”, thus boosting the IoT.

Marketing and advertising may be revolutionized, as well. An example? In a near future advertisers will be able to use a quantum algorithm to optimize the recommendations about their products by an ad appearing when consumers are about to buy them. Good news are coming!

Which benefits do you expect to be brought about by quantum computing? Tweet @agostinellialdo.

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Aldo Agostinelli