Where are the market opportunities?
According to IBM, once it can enable 50 qubits, quantum will outperform any classical computing instance that can be developed, enabling humans to begin addressing many of the world’s “intractable problems”.
Technology-led services firms would be better off investing on preparing for demand for quantum application development and data science skills and support for diverse system architectures involving quantum and silicon.
TBR analysts have highlighted some of the main areas where they believe the market opportunities for quantum computing will lie, including security, health and financial services.
The first area of opportunity for the technology, according to TBR, is data science and algorithm processing. Qubits can simultaneously hold the values of one and zero which, in simple terms, allows a quantum computer with a five-qubit processor to perform a calculation for 32 different input values at the same time.
Mining larger and larger data sets will trigger the development of increasingly complex algorithms where quantum speed will be paramount to meeting real-time output expectations of business, the analyst firm predicts.
Security is another area especially in intelligence agencies. The health industry is also likely to be a big area of focus. Big pharmaceutical companies will focus R&D on molecular structures, which will be ripe for quantum computing to build larger simulation models.
The demand from financial services to gain a competitive advantage through algorithmic modeling could spur proof of concept tests once quantum cloud computing stabilises.
The quantum development
Quantum will progress on a business cycle where the human aspects will be nearly identical to what has taken place in the development of the silicon microprocessor chip over the past 60 years, according to TBR.
The cycle will be more compressed considering how cloud has changed consumption models.
Hardware designs are not yet stable, or ready for manufacturing at scale. Few, if any, tangible use cases exist beyond the traditional deep scientific research segments traditionally served.
A flood of venture funding money is expected to flow into the quantum domain once it becomes more stable. There will be space for niche players to exist, according to TBR.
There will be co-option by more general-purpose computing architectures, such as IBM’s quantum architecture that will pressure niche players to keep pushing the envelope.
And finally, TBR’s analysts believe the greater the general purpose price performance appeal, the faster use cases will emerge.
What comes next?
While the technology is yet to hit the mainstream and, as yet, claims no firm de facto programming languages, the current activities in the quantum computing space all seem to point to genuine use cases further down the track.
IBM, for example, is working to build out a community and to simplify the learning curve through the build out of logical connectors bridging classical computing constructs and emerging quantum computing constructs.
At the same time, extensive education and training materials will be required for skills development to address quantum computing.
As TBR stated: "The quantum computing landscape is not necessarily technology in pursuit of a use case, but rather it is technology in pursuit of a well-trained workforce that can translate its power into productive commercial outputs".