What are some potential implications for businesses?
Quantum computing is an infant form of classic information processing than what we use in today’s technologies.
By leveraging non-classical heavy computations and algorithms beyond the capabilities of today’s supercomputers, quantum computing solves extremely complex, statistical problems.
The reason Quantum computing is far more powerful than classic computing is due to a “quantum phenomena” known as superposition. Both describe operations on data units, where a conventional computer is based on either 0 or 1 bits. While a quantum computer can be both 0 and 1 simultaneously. What does this mean? When a quantum computer uses multiple bits, or “qubits”, they process multiple calculations at the same time, leading them to be exponentially quicker than a classic computer.
The global quantum market is projected to be worth $950 million by 2025, growing annually at a rate of 30%. As quantum computers change how we process computations they are poised to become a key player across industries.
Quantum computing algorithms can be used for corporate finance. These algorithms can value and analyse portfolios and investments by calculating the numerous factors that might affect their value and thus perform an accurate risk assessment for a corporation.
Quantum algorithms outperform classical algorithms in many ways, especially with probabilistic analysis or any cases with several possible outcomes. Quantum algorithms in practice can be used to generate forward-thinking strategies for “analyzing, developing and implementing quantum techniques”.
Modern data generation is an overflowing phenomenon, one that produces more data that we can use. When it comes to solving massive problems, quantum computing presents a new, optimal avenue for data analysis. In a cross-disciplinary research effort, researchers at MIT and the University of Southern California discovered a way to use quantum computers to streamline what is known as “topological analysis.”
Put simply, topological analysis is a subset of data analytics and applied mathematics – using qualitative geometric features to analyse datasets. The aim of this field is to gain deeper insights into data through understanding its geometric structure. However, classic computers cannot handle such advanced and demanding computations.
When asked about the potential of quantum-based topological analysis, lead researcher Seth Lloyd said, “You could apply it to the world’s economy, or to social networks, or almost any system that involves long-range transport of goods or information.” Quantum computing speeds up these calculations and presents a new route for corporate data analytics.
Regardless of industry, many business problems involve several variables and potential outcomes. How can a business use computation to improve logistics, network infrastructure, supply chain optimisation, and cutting down on delivery time to name a few. Using classical computations are painstaking and often result in varied usability. When we attempt to isolate inputs that correlate with performance or profit loss, there is an infinite number of variables to be considered. As a result, companies must continuously make complicated, expensive and risky calculations for non-guaranteed output.
This is where quantum computing can transform. Since these computers can handle a multiplicity of variables at the same time, they can both reduce the range of possible outputs much quicker than with a classical computer. Business can then implement a “hybrid approach”, as recommended by IBM, with classical computers as the quantum computer has narrowed down the scope. With a solution like this, a quantum enterprise could swiftly “become a market leader in every industry where logistics are critical to success.”
According to the 2020 McKinsey Quantum Report, Quantum computing poses a serious threat to the internal cybersecurity systems across industries. Today’s computers make it nearly impossible to decode encryption, so much so that majority of cybersecurity attacks are due to improper cybersecurity resources rather than any prolific malware.
Yet, quantum computers could render modern decryption useless. The incredible speed at which they function allows them to breach every encryption system we have today. The quantum algorithm called “Shor’s algorithm” does exactly this. Such technology has broad implication on data protection, regulation, and the corporation’s assets. As enterprises prepare for a quantum future, they must also be equipped to fight against it.
The Quantum Future
Potential and reality are two different things. The limited number of quantum computers we have are not capable of handling such processes just yet. A number of tech companies, from startups to IBM and Google, have invested billions into ushering the “quantum future.” However, there is still a while to go. Tech giants like Google and IBM have expressed optimism about the future of quantum problem solving and their ability to increase the capabilities of quantum computing.
Although quantum computing is an emerging field; research has illustrated its far-reaching potential. The problem-solving capabilities of quantum computing for enterprises could lead to transformed operations, redefined data analytics, and reduced risks.
Mayowa Oluwasanmi is a 4th year Honours Political Science student with a certificate in Computer Science. She is currently the Education Rep for Dalhousie WiTs (Women in Technology) society, a Business development intern and a Digital Business Cohort for the Youth4Digital Sustainability Group of the UN Internet Governance Forum. She is interested in digital innovation, artificial intelligence, data protection law and technology policy.