Quantum Computing - The Upcoming Technological Revolution
Quantum computing is a relatively new and upcoming technology that uses the principles of quantum physics to solve complex problems. Whilst it is stil in the early stages of development, the possibilities and results so far indicate that quantum computing has a promising future in real-world applications. Major companies such as IBM, JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft and Volkswagen, and countries such as Japan, China, and the United States have started researching this sought-after technology in depth.
In 2021, the global quantum computing market size was valued at approximately US$ 470 million, and it is expected to grow about US$ 1.765 billion by 2026. Quantum computing start-ups have also seen an increase in funding, which has more than doubled last year from 2020, to be valued at US$ 1.4 billion. These significant figures indicate that quantum computing technology will potentially reshape the futures of many sectors.
What is Quantum Computing?
Today's computers encode information in bits (0 and 1), whereas quantum computers are made up of quantum bits (qubits). As such, quantum computers can exist as 1s and 0s simultaneously. This means that quantum computers can perform several tasks at the same time, which allows for significantly faster results - especially in the areas of research and development. These advancements will benefit many industries, including machine learning, artifical intelligence (AI), medicine, and cybersecurity.
Quantum computers are about 158 million times faster than today's supercomputers. This means a problem taking a supercomputer of today 10,000 years to solve is solved by the quantum computer of the future in about four minutes. A system of this magnitude will change how many things are done and can revolutionise the future.
Quantum Computing & Its Industry Applications
Over the last decade, there have been significant enhancements in machine learning, a subset of AI. One example is the speed, accuracy and efficiency of Internet searches on search engines, such as Google. The concept of machine learning involves training computers to perform human tasks, allowing the machines to ask questions, gather data, and develop conclusions for algorithm formulation. Today, machine learning development is used in applications such as self-driving cars, web search results, and credit scoring, among many others.
Another industry that can benefit from quantum computing technology is the healthcare industry, especially the drug development sector. Drug testing is a long and drawn-out process, from research and development, to trials, testing, and approvals. However, this can change with quantum computing as the technology will allow the computer to look at all possible molecules and drug combinations and come up with the right solution.
One such example is an AI-driven pharmaceutical start-up, Auransa, that collaborated with Polaris Quantum Biotech, a company that deploys quantum computing for drug development. The two companies had embarked on a project to tackle triple-negative breast cancer, which is more aggresive and has fewer treatment options. With Polaris's quantum platform and Auransa's SMarTR Engine and human disease data, the two companies have generated promising leads for future drug development for cancer within months.
Other potential benefits of quantum computing in healthcare include early diagnosis of diseases or anomalies, as well as accuracy and efficiency in processing current and new patient data, especially in image-related data procedures, such as CT scans and X-rays. These possible applications will make for a more accurate diagnosis, reducing additional costs of diagnostic testing for patients and improving the effciency of doctors significantly.
Quantum computers are expected to be available in the market by 2030. However, more time will be required for hardware and software refinements before businesses can use them for their applications. Once quantum computers are in operation, the world is poised to witness a technological revolution transforming day-to-day applications.
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