Quantum Bits, AI and Supercomputers

Quantum Bits, AI and Supercomputers
Quantum computers could solve new sets of problems that might otherwise take super computers thousands of years with the advanced technology of quantum bits. In the latest episode of their podcast 'Tomorrow's Tech by IDTechEx', market intelligence firm IDTechEx explores the technology behind quantum computing, with Senior Technology Analyst, Dr Tess Skyrme, sharing some insight into the future of the quantum market based on her extensive portfolio of research on the topic.
 
Quantum bits
 
Whilst quantum physics aims to understand the nature of the universe on a tiny molecular level, quantum computing is a transformative technology seeking to harness these phenomena for revolutionary applications. Classical computers commonly use transistors, something which super-computers have trillions of to be as powerful as they are. However, if quantum computers had millions of quantum bits (qubits), they could solve problems it would take even a supercomputer eons to solve, in a few hours to a few weeks, demonstrating just how advanced this technology is. The move to such a large number of qubits is brand new and could prove difficult for developers, but if achieved, could be one of the largest accomplishments of modern technology.
 
Quantum bits can be used in large groups of thousands, and entangled to produce logical qubits, which have fewer errors, something which standalone qubits struggle to achieve, being notoriously noisy with lots of errors. A high number of logical qubits is a key benchmark which companies hope to achieve for their computers.
 
Applications
 
Complex simulations, optimizations, and complex chemistries are all able to be run through quantum computing and solved in record times. Dr Skyrme states that there is a strong interest in material discovery within the sector for battery chemistry simulations, whilst also helping to speed up drug discovery timelines. Deciding what specifically should be run through quantum computers rather than super computers, is something which takes a high level of expertise in itself and can provide challenges in established industries.
 
Gate-based and quantum annealing are two approaches to quantum computing best suited to different problems. Gate-based computing is considered more versatile, and might have characteristics similar to classical computers, whilst annealing has strengths in optimization, solving problems which particularly relate to logistics and auto-scheduling.
 
AI and quantum
 
AI is a huge topic in the media, but could AI and quantum work alongside each other? AI requires a lot of computer power, and it could even use quantum computing technology to acquire valuable capabilities. Dr Skyrme claims while quantum is trying to do more with less, AI is heavily focused on leveraging large data sets. It might not even be farfetched to estimate that they could powerfully co-exist and complement one another with their differing end user goals.
 
Competitive factors
 
The length of time that a qubit survives, or coherence time, is a factor companies developing quantum computers must consider, alongside things like quantum volume and determining just how complex problems can be to be solved effectively. The speed at which these computers can solve problems is also a major factor at play. There are approximately 40-50 active hardware developers in the market, all competing to gain maximum logical qubits and testing materials like superconductors, semiconductors, diamond, and even graphene, for optimum performance.
 
IDTechEx's report 'Quantum Computing Market 2024-2044: Technology, Trends, Players, Forecasts' forecasts the value that could be created by sales of hardware systems and evaluates the opportunity in different materials and the supply chain side.
 
Challenges and future forecasts
 
Scalability can prove to be a challenge in the quantum computing sector, alongside determining specific applications that quantum computing can be useful for. IDTechEx predicts that this technology will be commercialised more within the next couple of years, but cooling and wiring quantum computers can be an issue for multiple technology types.
 
Dr Skyrme states that the potential to miniaturize technology should not be underestimated, and that it wouldn't be wildly unimaginable that in the far future, consumer devices could utilise quantum computing. However, looking into how to make this technology work in different environments and conditions will take a long time, meaning there are lots of opportunities for R&D, and companies specializing in photonics and thermal management. Customers with large businesses in the research sector might soon want their own on-premises hardware, which could begin to commercialise quantum computing in a way it hasn't been before.
 
For more information on this topic, visit IDTechEx's latest report, 'Quantum Computing Market 2024-2044: Technology, Trends, Players, Forecasts', and view the full portfolio of quantum related research at www.IDTechEx.com/Research/Quantum.
 
New episodes of 'Tomorrow's Tech by IDTechEx' are released monthly, with host Dr Tess Skyrme interviewing an array of industry experts from IDTechEx, offering listeners accessible insights into a range of technology innovations. See more at www.IDTechEx.com/Podcast.
 
About IDTechEx
 
IDTechEx provides trusted independent research on emerging technologies and their markets. Since 1999, we have been helping our clients to understand new technologies, their supply chains, market requirements, opportunities and forecasts. For more information, contact research@IDTechEx.com or visit www.IDTechEx.com.