By David Tomas, on 14 January 2022
Data science has already changed our ability to understand marketing, but the best is yet to come.
In recent years, technology giants including Google, Microsoft, Intel, and IBM have been working on what will be part of the new technology revolution: quantum computing. In this article, we'll discuss what this is and the implications it will have on the business world.
What Is Quantum Computing?
Quantum computing is based on quantum mechanics (the part of physics that studies atoms and particles). It is the study of how to create computers that overcome the limitations of classical computing and perform complex calculations.
In particular, quantum computing applies two principles of quantum physics: superposition of states and entanglement. Superposition allows the storage of many more possible states than with classical bits, giving rise to so-called "quantum bits" or qubits. Entanglement means that operations on a given qubit affect the rest, thus eliminating the need to conduct bit-by-bit changes.
Quantum computing uses advanced algorithms like quantum quenching and Shor's algorithm. The former has many applications in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning, while the latter makes it possible to create innovative encryption systems.
For now, quantum computing is not suitable for personal computers. Rather, it is limited to the corporate and scientific world due to its great complexity. That said, significant advances are already being made; in a few decades, we may have desktop computers or even quantum mobile devices!
7 Applications of Quantum Computing for Business
1. Data Analysis
Quantum computing can help solve problems on a massive scale. For example, "Topological Analysis" is a field of study that requires complex calculations that are impossible to do with personal computers. With quantum computing, however, these calculations become relatively simple.
NASA is already beginning to consider applying quantum computing to improve space travel and analyze the enormous amount of data it collects about the universe.
Predicting different scenarios requires the use of large and complex data sets. For example, weather simulations using traditional computing methods have limits to the amount of data they can handle. If too much data is fed into the system, the weather changes at a faster pace than the simulation can run.
Properly predicting the weather can have a huge economic impact on businesses, as an estimated 30% of U.S. GDP is reliant on it. Quantum computing can be applied to all kinds of predictions–not just weather forecasting–opening up a huge field of opportunities for businesses.
3. Cryptography and Encryption
Advanced cryptography is one of the main areas of quantum computing. Today's computers are not capable of decrypting systems that use large prime number factorizations. In contrast, with quantum computing, these computations become simple, allowing both the protection of digital assets and the decryption of traditional cryptography.
4. Pattern Recognition
Pattern recognition in data is extremely important.
Predicting traffic in advance is the perfect example of this. Traffic is a very complex system, beyond the reach of modern computers. Companies like Volkswagen are already studying how they can use quantum computing to inform drivers of traffic conditions up to 45 minutes in advance.
5. Self-Driving Cars
Another promising application of quantum computing is autonomous cars, which have the ability to improve people's quality of life, reduce pollution and traffic jams, and more.
Several companies including Tesla, Google, and Volkswagen have their own models of self-driving cars. In fact, Volkswagen has already launched the world's first pilot project for traffic optimization in Lisbon.
Aircraft routing and scheduling are also complex systems. Optimizing them with quantum computing would allow much more sophisticated modeling and provide time and cost benefits.
Major aviation companies, including Airbus and Lockheed Martin, are already researching and investing in quantum computing to take advantage of its optimization potential.
7. Medical Research
Last but not least, Medical Research is a sector that has become more important than ever in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The human body is an extremely complex system. There are billions of ways drugs can interact with our bodies, and these calculations can quickly become overwhelming.
It takes years and billions of dollars for pharmaceutical companies to design new drugs and bring them to market. If we can improve this process with quantum computing, we can save an enormous amount of cost and time, discover new applications for existing drugs, and empower experts to develop faster cures for diseases.