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It’s time to establish a quantum computing strategy, study suggests

There’s a critical mass of tech leaders interested in quantum computing, and current challenges to its widespread implementation are surmountable, says Classiq.

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A study of IT leadership suggests that not only are businesses ready for quantum computing,  many have already allocated a budget for future Quantum computing projects. What this means, the report concludes, is that competitive organizations can’t afford to ignore quantum computing any longer.

For those unfamiliar with the term, quantum computing is an emerging field of computer science that ditches binary data bits (able to be either 0 or 1) in favor of qubits, which can be both 0 and 1 at the same time, have values between 0 and 1 and even use superdense coding to encode two separate bits of binary data onto one qubit. 

SEE: The CIO’s guide to quantum computing (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Quantum computers are designed to solve problems that standard computers would be unable to solve in a practical manner. It’s debatable whether or not quantum computers have become practical tools for most modern businesses, but vendors like Honeywell and IBM are making regular progress toward quantum supremacy (the point at which quantum computers are able to solve problems regular computers cannot).

As far as tech leaders responding to the study, commissioned by quantum computing company Classiq, there’s not a question of whether or not quantum computing will ever be practical: It’s coming and many are already preparing for how it will change the shape of business.

Leaders are excited for the quantum future

There’s little disagreement about the value of quantum computing among those responding to Classiq’s survey: 98.6% of respondents “believe that quantum computing is a necessity or is important to advance technology performance,” the report said. 

Application-wise, respondents see quantum computing filling roles in cybersecurity, machine learning, supply chain management, chemical and pharmaceutical development, and weather forecasting. As for how quantum computing would benefit their organizations, respondents were split nearly evenly among three choices: New revenue streams, competitive advantage and cost savings.

In addition, 95.7% believe quantum computing will create performance breakthroughs, and more than 60% said quantum computing will be a leading tech trend in the next five to 10 years, second only to VR and AR. 

Eighty-nine percent said they think IT departments should create a specific quantum computing budget, but here’s where we find a disconnect: Only 61.9% said their companies already have a budget for quantum adoption. That’s a substantial gap between ideals and reality, and Classiq said there are two big roadblocks that may be standing in the way of further adoption of quantum computing (and it’s not the fact that it’s still in its infancy).

There were several concerns cited by respondents: Cost, lack of experts in the field, a lack of good software environments, convenience vs. time, lack of hardware availability and current capability limitations are all mentioned. “Cost, availability and ‘the limited capabilities of quantum computing’ are what one would expect at this nascent stage of the market. The hope is that all of these are resolved concurrently: better hardware that is more accessible and more cost-effective,” the report said. 

SEE: Hiring Kit: Video Game Designer (TechRepublic Premium)

It’s important to note, Classiq said in the study, that the above-mentioned roadblocks were part of a multiple selection answer: Respondents were free to choose as many as they saw fit. When asked to choose a “most important component to the evolution of quantum computing,” respondents said better development platforms are needed. Effective development environments, Classiq said in the study, is a problem that’s easily overcome.

Respondents seem to be nearly universal in their excitement over the future that quantum computing could create. Whether or not quantum computing will emerge into the spotlight in the near future isn’t at issue in this report: The bottom line is that other businesses are preparing, planning and posturing so they can welcome quantum computing into their organizations as soon as it’s a widespread reality. Organizations that don’t take the time to prepare now might be caught flat-footed as the world moves on around them.

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