What is the question I get asked more than any, is Quantum Computing real and should we be paying attention…
A Quantum Future is inevitable.
When should Company Directors, Investors, CEO, Governments and the people take notice. The answer, for those already in the know confirm they have made early moves because they see and understand the vast disruptive potential of this technology, as much remains in stealth mode. Governments are already in there.
This industry is already exploding with record levels of early investments and it will dwarf everything else. We are in at ground level, this is your opportunity to take note.
With a 2019 current market value of $50billion, the estimates are that in just over a decade by 2030 the market potential of Quantum Computing will reach $500bn market for Quantum hardware, software and services. But it is the shere destruction potential of Quantum to expose vulnerabilities that will also erode trillions of value, eliminated large enterprises and place governments at odds with each other, and their people.
A scary thought for some, an opportunity for others, and why the entire computer hardware and software industry dominated by Big Tech players is trying to dominate again. This is because classical silicon based computing “Classical Computers” has run out of runway, as wafer micron-scale meets particle physics, and enters the realm of Quantum Mechanics, a tech already dogged by heat and external disturbances exposing physcal limits, we can confirm the age of classical computing is almost over.
Why is Quantum Computing important?
The fuss is real. A Quantum Computer can massively parallel compute large numbers that classical computers just cannot. Not unless you have a few million or billions of years processing time to wait around. At a simple level Quantum Computers uses brute force to factorize incredibly large numbers which will help humankind solve some of the worlds biggest challenges, and may ultimately save humans from humans, or indeed will accelerated AI to SuperIntelligence levels, signalling the end of humankind rule on this planet. Which is where Elon Musks head resides along with the Rationalists that see AI as an existential risk to humankind.
Its not until you understand Quantum Theories do you understand how little we know about the world around us and how it works. The very nature of physics and science is being challenged by Quantum, as it determines (considers) many outcomes at the same time, because it is probabilistic in terms of Galton Board it effectively considers all outcomes and possibilities, looking at the statistical distribution effects used to understand how small particles, (electrons, photons etc) behave. Versus tradition laws of physics that are non probabilistic, precise and tend to restrict how we see think ahead. The state of classical computers science is locked into single state Boolean logic, of a single state transistor (circuits), while Quantum can exist in multplei states and consider unlimited outcomes that defines what is, massively parallel computer processing, and an entirely different concept of programming Quantum circuits.
Until now science has not been able to accurately solve the bigger issues. To create new materials from chemicals, to combine drugs to cure deceases much faster, let alone prevent them, to predict climate, find new ways to feed people in a carbon neutral way…
Simply put, classical computing is limited to processing relatively small numbers, which of course is the basis of encryption used as a defence against the dark arts. So your security is based on how bad or slow classical computers are are factorizing numbers. Bet you didn’t know that. And why so many people are watching with interest as Quantum Computing essentially renders all security systems, cyber defences and cryptography completely useless.
How does a Quantum Computer work?
Quantum computers use Qubits instead of Bits used in classical computers, and I have to say Quantum Theory can mess with your head somewhat. A bit like parenting, everyone is suddenly an expert, even those without children. But to fully understand Quantum you need to understand computing and physics. Quantum remains possibly as the most significant discovery ever. Qubits replace conventional transistors and will unlock the truth about how the worlds around us really works, and not as we see it. But it also signals the third Wealth Creation Revolution that follows transistors.
The pace of acceleration of this technology may be difficult to define as many projects remain in stealth mode and there are several approaches to actually making and building a Quantum Computer. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top. Although you can forget standards. Forget trying to protect IP at this stage. The primary challenge right now is stability of the core approach, and technically all different approaches (superconductor, photon, trapped ION, carbon and…) work, but in typical Quantum form, qubits is where the magic happens, and they are inherently unstable and their behaviours are influenced by literally everything.
With the likes of IBM offering Quantum Services on their 5 Qubit machine, others are are working on 20, 50, 100, and 1000++ qubit versions, each trying to solve the inherent issue of keeping coherance. In simple terms coherence, a time and place where the magic qubits can perform their tasks of being a 0 and 1 at the same time (superposition) and working alongside other qubits (entanglement), long enough to deliver on the significant processing promise. And of course based on Quantum Mechanics laws any observation of what is going on creates decoherance and all bets are off.
Is the cat dead or alive or both?
As they say in Alien, “in space nobody can hear you scream”…however space is very good at transmitting waves and vibrations the very basis of Quantum mechanics, and Quantum theory. So if you did scream the vibrations would carry on and on… This is because in Quantum terms everything is redefined in waves and vibrations, and I mean everything.
Why cryogenic? The magic happens at extremely cold temperatures, an environment as cold as deep space, because heat, vibrations and magnetic fields are obstacles to achieving coherence and stability. The interesting point here is that atoms stop moving at absolute zero or -273.15 Celsius or -459.67 Fahrenheit and 0 on the Kelvin scale.
Therefore, machine costs to build these devices are many millions and the size and weight and power needs are significant. A Quantum Computer is huge, comprising layers of casing and shielding. But to me they are magnificent. The use of liquid nitrogen (reached at approx 80 kelvin) used by some Quantum companies have enabled them to get started, but to crack it fully and get better cohenrance and performance much lower temperatures will be needed.
I am reminded of what Ken Olsen Founder of Digital Equipment Company (DEC) once said “I see no reason for people to have a computer in their homes”…
But in this case I do believe I am on safer ground. It is unlikely Quantum Computers will move into the home or onto a mobile platform. It will exist for many as Quantum Cloud services with huge expensive machines, using brute force qubit processing to factorise the big numbers and completely opening everything up, where Quantum Safety will become the number one agenda items for every organisation and government, and for the people…
Every business will require a Quantum Safe strategy, yes every. But when? Leave it too late and someone or somebody will take your business, your assets and value from you.
As with any new advancements in science and particularly computing, the tech comes from the ‘R’ as in Research driven by deep pockets and the need to protect income streams (IBM, Google, Intel, Microsoft), and for businesses like IBM it is a chance to regenerate itself; and the ‘D’ for Development that comes from small firms building new types of infrastructure that will become the basis for wider adoption.
Small Quantum machines exploring so called Physical Qubits — trapped ION, Superconductors, forced Carbon and Photons, Atomic nuclei, Quantum DOTS, moving towards Logic Qubits that circle unstable physical qubits in an attempt to bring more stability, fault tolerance and error correction options. And it is this that is the key to how quickly this technology will mature. But its getting closer, I can feel it.
You always get the people who say its decades off, and that those that claims to have a 50qubits machine working is fake news. Having spent many months talking to Quantum Company CEOs and Founders, research Physicists and Quantum experts the picture that is clear to me is nobody really knows. Why? Because being first matters. It is worth remembering the race between the US and China, and other nations is the new ‘cold war’ and the real reason why the trade wars between US and China seems to be escalating, and its not because of the price of noodles, cars or tvs. China has enjoyed decades of academic brain drain and can now directly compete with the US.
New projects are spawning everywhere, starts-ups involving 20+ Phds, carve-outs from academia led by once professors of Physics are creating new businesses, some that measure qubit processing performance, others offering Quantum simulators (Riverlane), others issuing their SDK (Software Development Kits), new Quantum languages: QSharpe, Quil and Cirq, and of course the new Quantum Algorithms, Quantum Operating Systems on which the new Quantum enabled applications will sit.
It is like watching the beginning of computing all over again as I witnessed mainframes coming out of academia in the 1970’s, to the arrival of distributed mini computing and in the early 1980’s desk top computing (personal computing), and late 1990s computing moved into the hand.
It is therefore fundamental you pay attention.
Tipping Point — Quantum Supremacy
At what point will classical computer become redundant? When will Quantum Computers outperform the worlds most powerful classical computers? Legitimate questions. It is interesting to see classical computers simulating Quantum Computers…where I am told the 108 qubit mark would require a classical machine to harness all the atoms in the universe. So we are getting close people.
And then we have the Quantum impact on AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) that will accelerate the believers concerns, (Rationlists) who insist AI delivers an immediate existential threat to humankind, as for some, confirmation Singularity has already been passed (spawned children AI from AI parents). It IS likely AI will create a new SuperIntelligence that will allow man to conquer the stars or signal a path to oblivion. And interesting backdrop to the TV mini series I have written and have filmed the trailer episode, due for cinema release in November 2019.
What should you do…
Given the shortening runway, the impact of AI will very likely accelerate Quantum outcomes and hard code the advancement towards a Quantum Future for us all. At the same time rendering all security based on the assumptions of classic transistor based computing, encryption, remebering it is based on the simplistic inability to factorise large numbers, useless. How do you feel now?
On average it takes organisations and governments 100+ days to identify a security breach or hack. In most cases longer. They see the way in and by the time they find out what is missing, (most of the time do not know), the perpetrators are long gone. Many organisations systems have no clue they have been hacked at all and continue to spew data and secrets every single day, a combination of human arrogance and ignorance. Where the correlation for effective defence, seems to be the amount one spends on cyber security, while move to super performing complex software systems, over reliance of AWS and/or surround your business with encryption everywhere (toggles), as the first and only line of defence. Nothing will protect you, it is a waste of time and money.
If you think your Bitcoin is secure because no classical computer can factorise the 36 or 48 character public key to find the private key in million years, a Quantum Computer will find it in seconds. The question you need to ask is when? How long have I got? A year or three, a decade…nobody knows, but I have a hunch it will be faster than people think as an ‘all at once’ multi pervasive technology landscape has arrived alongside Quantum. AI, VR, NanoTech etc will encourage a new complex DNA that will spawn SuperIntelligence, by itself, without humans, they may solve the stability issues of Quantum and fulfil a destiny with or without humankind anywy, simply because we are in the way, not that we are seen as a threat.
Human flaws leave the door ajar…
All organisations and governments need a plan. Governments are buying Quantum companies, Big Tech as well as much for self preservation as anything else. The cold war is the race for AI supremacy, to be first. The US Commerce Department, DARPA and the Intelligence Community understand and see the THREAT of Quantum Computing, as they are already looking to switch to Quantum resistant methods to secure the nation state. Swapping out basic encryption and human engineered algorithms for new Quantum, and therefore Quantum resistant versions.
The problem of course with human engineered algorithms is AI will always find the patterns and the pathway back, to unlock what you have. But the solution is known, the processing power to get there wasn’t, but now it is. Companies that have invested in the latest technology architectures are already vulnerable to Quantum Annealing machines (a restricted version of Quantum) that focuses on specific computational challenges, will redner cyber security systems wide open.
Where is your Quantum plan…
I am frequently approached by companies and Investors wanting to understand and know more about a Quantum Future, and the sheer impact of this technology, on organisations, markets, industries and performance. With most board members apparently oblivious and unprepared for what is to come…one could argue they are already a breach of fiduciary and directors duties. To not to know is bad, to know and not to do, is really not to know.
It is possible to defend against Quantum using Quantum?
Deeeeerrrrrrrr! In the same way limiting the threat of AI, uses AI on AI.
It would appear sensible by creating a strategy for Quantum Competitive Advantage will be essential. Given Quantum Computing will be able to redefine the rules of commerce, finding new ways to align a produc or service proposition to in-depth new knowledge of human (customer) behaviours, and the big one, Predictive Analytics that support Living Operating models that automatically adjust to market conditions. Do I have your attention yet?
In a similar way ignoring the threat of Blockchain and other technologies, ignoring Quantum Computing can be considered corporate suicide. Ignoring Quantum Computing will be considered an abuse of directors responsibility, seen as acting against the best interests of Investors and shareholders. You have been warned.
As an Investor, Shareholder or employee in a business, or a customer of a business that holds your data, how satisfied are you the management are prepared for what is on the Quantum horizon…?
Do not just sit there. Be proactive.
About Quantum Jump — giving your business an‘unhackable’ future…
Quantum Jump is a Cryogenic Computing company based in London, that focuses on identifying, assessing and deploying the best available Quantum Computing technologies that will deliver the next generation solutions to industry and commerce. The company has been in stealth mode for the past 18 months and its activities have remained private. It is featured in our TV mini series as a back drop for the story.
Quantum Jump designs and engineers Blockchain resistant infrastructure, and other Security deployments utilising ‘Qubit Keys’ that offer single key session solutions that provide a fundamentally different approach to cyber security and predictive threat management.
An unhackable environment using Quantum Cryptography and specially designed Quantum Algorithms that underpins organisations technology infrastructure. Opening the opportunity to build new layers to support IoT, Edge Computing, Secure Messaging, a so called Quantum Safe environment, to future proof your business. It is time to become Quantum Proof.
Copyright 2019 www.NickAyton.com