Major tech companies are betting that quantum computers will change the world. The world’s biggest tech companies are investing millions and millions in this technology even though it isn’t clear how—or whether—quantum computers will work. Why all this excitement?
Analysts say that quantum computing could accelerate business intelligence, and increase productivity and efficiency. IonQ is one of the leading innovators in this field. They have built five generations of quantum computers in the past few years.
What do the computers look like? The latest IonQ quantum computers look like big black cubes that take up much of a room at the company’s headquarters. Within the cubes, lasers interact with atoms suspended on a microchip to do quantum calculations.
This all sounds highly experimental now, but once a working system gets into the market, it is expected that they will revolutionize all sectors of the economy. IonQ co-founder and chief scientist Chris Monroe said:
“Once a single app gets out there, it’s going to hit everything. . . . Almost any company that has a hard problem—which is everybody—they’re going to be able to use quantum computers for it.”
So how does it compare to the computers we all know?
“I don’t like thinking of a quantum computer as a computer because it’s nothing like the computer that we are familiar with on a day-to-day basis.” Marissa Justina, senior research scientist and quantum electronics engineer at Google.
Quantum computers can solve some types of problems really well and others not at all. For example, Google’s quantum computer solved a mathematical calculation in minutes that a super computer would need 10,000 years to solve. But a quantum computer cannot even count above four digits.
The investment in quantum research is a bit of a gamble because it’s not clear yet how exactly this technology will pay off, but lasers were once a speculative technology, too, and look at how that turned out!
For more on quantum computers, listen to the full NPR Short Wave episode “Is the Future Quantum?” at this link.
And, as always, we’d love to talk with you about what investments your company is making in sales growth and how we can help. Get in touch!
Managing Partner, StratMg
image credit: Google