July 7, 2016 | Written by: Doug Kinnaird
Share this post:
In my previous article, I explained how quantum computers find answers to complex sets of problems that today’s classical (non-quantum) computers are really bad at solving.
Quantum computers enable algorithms to complete their analyses in fewer steps than classical computers do. I encourage anyone to learn quantum computing basics by trying quantum computing on IBM Cloud.
Just what can quantum computing achieve? Here are a few areas that will be revolutionized by quantum computing applications.
Medicine and materials
Physicians administer doses of radiation to treat cancer, and often patients feel sick after treatment. Physicians can harness the power of quantum computers to more accurately determine the dosage and pinpoint where the radiation should be applied. Chemists use computer-aided drug design to model compounds and their interactions. Quantum computers enable chemists to model extremely complex drug interactions, a task that would be impossible with classical computers.
Computer scientists are training computers to sense and respond like humans. Take, for example, when Watson won on “Jeopardy” in 2011. Using today’s classical computers to correctly identify an image of a cat requires the development of complex software and extensive, human-led training of the computer. Contrast that with how much easier it is to train a two-year-old child to recognize a cat. Quantum computers show great promise in bridging the gap between human and machine thinking.
Searching big data
Data is a new natural resource. More and more data is generated, stored and analyzed every day. Many data sets are becoming so large and complex that it is difficult to recognize patterns. Just think about how much weather data has been collected and how accurate today’s weather forecasts are. Forecasters need a different approach. The power of quantum computers can be used to find connections that today’s classical computers cannot.
Public-key cryptography is widely used to protect information residing on and in transit between classical computers. Keys are generated by multiplying two large prime numbers. Keeping the information secret relies on the difficulty of finding the prime numbers when only the multiplicative result in known. Quantum computers could threaten that type of encrypted information because they can identify those two prime numbers in a fraction of the time that classical computers require. Yet imagine if quantum computers could be used to strengthen post-quantum cryptography. That’s exactly what lattice-based cryptography will do.
Are you interested in using quantum computing to develop a breakthrough innovation that will provide you with competitive advantage for years to come? Then why not collaborate with the IBM Research Frontiers Institute? The Institute provides its members with early access to explore business implications and adopt leading-edge computer technology. Now it’s your turn. Join the IBM Research Frontiers Institute here.
For more about how quantum computers are revolutionizing industries, check out this graphic.