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Quantum Computing: Hype or Likely Reality?

By Dick Weisinger

Quantum computing have the potential to blow away the capabilities of today’s computers, but quantum computers are based on the quantum mechanics of particles that are very unstable, and because of that, researchers have been to-date only been able to create very simple test experiments. Quantum computers are a very complex scientific challenge.

If true quantum computers can be realized, they are expected to be useful to help solve very complex tasks like medicine discovery, the design of new materials, complex logistics problems, and the design and optimization of financial portfolios.

Philipp Harbach, a theoretical chemist who is head of Merck, said that “the quantum computer will be another augmentation to a classical compute. It won’t be a replacement, but an augmentation which will tackle some of these problems in a way that we cannot imagine. Hopefully, it will speed them up in a way that the efficacy of the methods we are employing will be boosted.”

Scott Aaronson, computer scientist, said that “millions of dollars are now potentially available to quantum computing researchers, along with equity, stock options, and whatever else causes ‘ka-ching’ sound effects and bulging eyes with dollar signs. And in many cases, to have a shot at such riches, all an expert needs to do is profess optimism that quantum computing will have revolutionary, world-changing applications and have them soon. Or at least, not object too strongly when others say that.”

Heike Riel, head of science and technology at IBM Research Quantum Europe, said that “right now, there is no problem that a quantum computer can solve faster than a classical computer, which is of value to a CIO. But you have to be very careful, because the technology is evolving fast. Suddenly, there might be enough qubits to solve a problem that is of high value to a business with a quantum computer.”

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