How Businesses Can Prepare the Quantum for Long-Term Success

How Businesses Can Prepare the Quantum for Long-Term Success

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The proof-of-concept quantum computers are here. Many companies are preparing for “quantum”, that is, exploring how this technology could give them a competitive advantage.

Working for a quantum computing company, of course, I’m going to say that getting ready for quantum is a smart move. But just as we’ve seen with companies like AI and cloud computing, forward-thinking companies are often the ones reaping the first fruits of these technical innovations.

But quantum computing is different. It’s not just another technical innovation, it’s a whole new way to perform calculations in the future.

Quantum computers work in a fundamentally different way from today’s computers. While traditional machines use “bits” that are either a 0 or a 1, a quantum computer’s quantum bits (qubits) can exist in a superposition and, effectively, be a 0 and a 1 at the same time.

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This quantum quirk frees up a vast amount of computing power, allowing us to tackle a whole new range of problems that would take billions of years to solve on today’s supercomputers.

As quantum computers mature, a large number of applications will be unlocked across multiple industries in everything from drug discovery to financial services and climate change. And most of those use cases we can’t imagine yet.

It’s also why it’s important for businesses to start interacting with quantum computing now. Because by getting “quantum ready”, the world can understand the real impact of these machines on society. And you can begin to understand and prepare for the potentially significant impact this disruptive technology will have on your business.

What is quantum preparation?

Quantum-ready effectively understands the opportunities and threats of quantum computing and learns how to use this technology to your advantage.

Being quantum ready does not means you have to understand everything about quantum computers or have your own machine.

Quantum readiness will look different in different organizations, depending on your processes, requirements, and industry.

A high-level quantum-ready framework may include the following steps:

  • Learn and contact: Get an overview of the quantum situation and its destination. Start establishing your two internal champions and engage with quantum businesses to find thought partners that are right for you.
  • Map your IT impact environment: For many, the journey is about gaining an understanding of your current IT challenges. What does your problematic landscape look like? Plot your IT challenges against “organizational impact” and “IT difficulty”. Are there high-value, but intractable IT challenges facing your business? These problems could be suitable for quantum computers. Collaborate with quantum experts to map this to quantum computing capabilities. Consider contacting quantum computing companies to learn more about what is possible, but also to help with this mapping exercise.
  • Develop skills: Build an internal capacity in quantum adapted to the opportunities of the company in this field. Or rent some time on today’s small machines to start solving toy problems and getting familiar with how these machines work.
  • Be patient: Commit to the longevity of quantum computer development and reap the rewards as quantum computers become more powerful.

Once this initial exploration phase is complete, the really interesting conversations around quantum computing can begin.

A lot of work needs to be done between industry end users and quantum companies to prepare for the world of quantum computers. Above all, this should be done in tandem with the actual development of these machines.

Prepare for the future

There’s one issue that’s particularly important to understand to future-proof your quantum strategy: scalability. Over the past few years, quantum computing companies have been making headlines, developing their machines one qubit at a time.

Every step forward is important. But to unlock the commercial potential of quantum computing, we need to build a machine with millions of qubits. Today’s largest machine has 127 qubits.

So when you start contacting quantum computing companies, there’s one question to always ask: “Can you really take me to a million qubits? Because a long-term, “million-qubit” mindset is needed to ensure that you protect all investments in this technology.

It is important for companies to understand this and work with a company aligned with this ambition. Because when quantum computers are ready, you should be too.

Ilan Elson is Vice President of Operations at Universal Quantum.

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