Should you care about quantum computing?

You can google any number of confusing definitions of quantum computing. Simply put, quantum computers are machines that leverage the attributes of quantum physics to store data and perform computations. Clear as mud.

The best way to understand the value of quantum computing—or lack thereof—is to understand the use case. Quantum computing can be advantageous for certain tasks where it can vastly outperform even supercomputers. It is typically associated with the following use cases: cybersecurity, pharmaceutical development, financial modeling, improving batteries, cleaner fertilizer, traffic optimization, weather forecasting, climate change, artificial intelligence, solar capture, and electronic materials discovery.

Traditional computing can also solve these problems, certainly high-performance computing/supercomputers. So where does quantum computing enter the picture?

Most of the vendors in the public cloud market have a quantum offering. In 2016, IBM stood up a quantum computer on its cloud. Since then, IBM has expanded its cloud-based quantum computing offering.

Never to be outdone, Amazon has developed and launched its own quantum computing services, and Microsoft announced Azure Quantum, which provides quantum algorithms, hardware, and software. Of course, Google is a quantum player as well.

Should you try it? That decision is really about matching use cases with quantum computing effectively. I suspect that quantum computing is not a good fit for accounting or inventory systems where the processing is more fine-grained and transactional. However, it’s sometimes a good option if you’re looking to take that accounting or inventory data and build complex financial models that are capable of predicting the future.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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