Get ready for smarter smartphones and super-fast computers, among other things!
Quantum computing—using quantum mechanics to solve super complex problems—is a relatively new technology that has the potential to revolutionize many aspects of the modern world. It has already been used in areas such as cryptography and is increasingly gaining attention for its potential everyday applications. These applications range from drug discovery to quantum-based sensors in cars, with many more yet to be explored. Its future is so promising that governments across many countries are investing billions in quantum computing. For instance, China plans on spending US$15 billion on quantum computing applications, while the European Union has budgeted US$7.2 billion for the same.
Here is a look at some of the everyday applications of quantum computing that we can expect to see in the coming years.
Smarter phones and computers
Yes, your mobile phones and computers are smart. But can they be made even smarter and safer? Quantum computing says yes. With the integration of quantum computing chips, companies can create smartphones that offer better security. Currently, quantum computers are still too chunky to be carried around, a far departure from being shoved into a phone just yet. However, researchers at MIT have been exploring their limits and might have found a solution.
They are using super thin materials, such as hexagonal boron nitride (a ceramic material) films, to build superconducting qubits (the basic unit of quantum information). By squeezing quantum computing powers into a small film, researchers are making it possible to be included in a smartphone.
Conducted by Australian-German startup Quantum Brilliance, another quantum computing project is developing quantum computers for everyday use using qubits crafted from synthetic diamonds. These computers will function at room temperature (typically they require ice-cold temperatures) and will be much faster. The company has already raised US$10 million in a seed funding round, thus infusing a sense of confidence in its technology.
Andrew Horsley, the CEO of Quantum Brilliance, expounded, “Most quantum computers are giant mainframes; these will eventually be small enough to be embedded in mobile devices. The miniaturisation potential is huge.”
Today, many cars have built-in sensors that assist with parking and enhance driving experience. The sensors make a beeping noise when you come too close to the pavement or when a person is dangerously close to your car. No doubt, these sensors are essential in an increasingly populated world brimming with vehicles. Quantum computing could be a game changer in the area.
The technology is currently being studied by car manufacturer Hyundai and quantum computing developer IonQ to perform object detection tasks on data from said sensors. It can speed up data processing, grant vehicles more autonomy and improve safety. The tech will be able to detect people, buildings, cars and signs with ease. As per the company, the new tech will also be able to accurately identify things from noisy data.
More effective business strategies
Besides giving us super intelligent and effective devices, quantum computing can also help your business rake in profits. It helps startup and small business owners better analyze consumers’ behavioral data and deduce what they want in real-time. Better product recommendations, allocation of resources and future planning are all possible with quantum computing.
Plus, quantum computing is also being explored for its potential applications in finance. By using quantum-based algorithms, financial institutions could more accurately assess the risk of their investments and gain a better understanding of the markets. In fact, in just five years, Goldman Sachs plans on using quantum computing to price its financial instruments. Additionally, quantum computing could also be leveraged to optimize trading strategies, manage assets and create better financial products.
Drug discovery is a field in which quantum computing could have a major impact. By recreating the behavior of molecules in a simulated environment, drug developers can better understand their properties and how they interact with other molecules. This could result in the rapid and efficient development of new drugs or improved versions of existing ones. As per a McKinsey report, developing new drugs can take up to ten years and billions of dollars. Of course, Covid was an exception, with vaccines having to be developed quickly. With quantum computing, things can happen even faster with greater accuracy and fewer side effects.
Quantum computing could also aid medical research by enabling scientists to process vast amounts of complex data in a shorter time. This can bring about more accurate diagnoses, more personalized treatments and better healthcare overall.
Climate action solutions
The environment also stands to benefit from quantum computing. One study found that the technology could help develop reliable and scalable solutions for renewable energy. Besides that, it could also assist with discovering new energy sources.
Another use of quantum computing is in weather forecasting and climate prediction. By accurately predicting the weather, quantum computing could help reduce the risk or even the odds of flooding, wildfires and other natural disasters. At the very least, it could help agencies be better prepared for such occurrences.
These are just a few of how quantum computing is set to transform our lives. Many more applications are on the horizon, and we can’t wait to see them!
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