Some of the world's biggest tech players have been dabbling in quantum computing computing for years, but it remains to be seen what opportunities it will offer the broader IT market - partners included.
By now, the idea behind quantum computing is fairly well established. IBM outlines the basic principles on its research website:
"Classical computers encode information in bits. Each bit can take the value of 1 or 0. These 1s and 0s act as on/off switches that ultimately drive computer functions.
"Quantum computers, on the other hand, are based on qubits, which operate according to two key principles of quantum physics: superposition and entanglement.
"Superposition means that each qubit can represent both a 1 and a 0 at the same time.
"Qubits can act as more sophisticated switches, enabling quantum computers to function in ways that allow them to solve difficult problems that are intractable using today’s computers."
In theory, a quantum computer could harness these properties to execute multiple computations simultaneously.
While the technology largely remains largely in the sphere of research, IBM, Microsoft and Google are among those that have pumped resources into pushing quantum computing closer to a state that will see it used more broadly in various industry sectors, such as security, health and financial services.
In May, for example, IBM put a 16-qubit quantum computer online for IBM Cloud platform customers to experiment with, just three months after announcing its quantum cloud service.
In April, Microsoft moved to double the size of its Station Q quantum computing lab in Sydney.
Canadian quantum computing company D-Wave Systems, meanwhile, has announced it has its own 2000 qubit quantum computer ready for use.
Technology Business Research (TBR) analysts believe that not many companies will be able to invest in quantum straight away.
But big names such as Google have already shown interest in the available options in the market. So far, however, what is being seen is that companies are partnering to acquire those technologies.
Google partnered with NASA in a joint venture for a D-Wave installation. The same happened with USC Information Sciences Institute and Lockheed.
TBR’s analysis suggests the need for joint acquisitions will disappear with cloud and the important point is the joint ventures that could arise to address the need for operating systems, programming languages, programming tools and repeatable frameworks.
“Technologically, companies need to work together to find innovative means of storing qubit data. Unlike bits, which are two dimensional, qubits are three dimensional and increase computation power exponentially. Many experiments are being done on innovative storage structures, such as Microsoft’s partnership with the University of Washington to develop practical DNA storage,” the research read.
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