Quantum Computing Advantage: Today and Tomorrow
To date, the power of computing has enabled a remote economy, remote healthcare, remote collaboration, remote education, secure and contactless transactions, and intelligence that surpasses the human mind. New quantum computing power will usher in a brand new era — providing massive rewards to the companies and countries leading in the space, leaving laggards in the dustbin of history.
Paving a New Road Ahead
We didn’t need MIT to name quantum computing a breakout technology back in 2017 and again in 2020 to know quantum computing is paving a new road ahead. Recently, Google solved a problem in just over three minutes with a quantum computer that would have taken a supercomputer longer than 10,000 years to solve. While excellent news, not many understand what a quantum computer does, and many investors don’t know what quantum computing means for their portfolio. Still, the quantum computing opportunity has never been more relevant than it is today.
In the last few years, quantum computing has been making traction, with many companies building systems that aren’t powerful enough for most real-world use cases yet, but still, show promise. Tomer Diari, an investor from Bessemer Venture Partners, told TechCrunch, “Quantum computing will drive a paradigm shift in high-performance computers as we continue pushing the boundaries of science deeper into the realms of science fiction.”
The Leader in New Tech
In last year alone, several breakthroughs from research, venture-backed companies, and the tech industry have unlocked the challenges in scientific discovery. This has moved quantum computing from science fiction to reality and armed it to solve significant world problems.
Companies like Atom Computing leveraging neutral atoms for wireless qubit control, Honeywell’s trapped ions approach, and Google’s superconducting metals, have all seen first-time results, setting the stage for the first commercial generation of quantum computers.
At just 40-80 error-corrected qubit range, these systems could deliver capabilities that surpass classical computers, which will, in turn, speed up the ability to perform better in areas like thermodynamic predictions, chemical reactions, resource optimizations, and financial predictions. Companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Intel, and Google are further ahead than anyone else has been to unlock the quantum computing scope. As many technologies and ecosystem breakthroughs begin to converge, the next year will be a decisive moment.
Investors Are Spending
Recently, Quantum computing startup Rigetti Computing raised US$79 million in a Series C funding round, which was led by Bessemer Venture Partners and intended to advance its efforts in making quantum computing commercially viable, according to Business Times. EDBI, Singapore’s Economic Development Board, Franklin Templeton, Alumni Ventures Group, DCVC, Morpheus Ventures, and Northgate Capital, also participated in the round.
“This round of financing brings us one step closer to delivering quantum advantage to the market,” said Chad Rigetti, founder and CEO of Rigetti, a company that builds and delivers integrated quantum systems over the cloud and develops software solutions optimized for hybrid quantum-classical computing. Hybrid models like this one leverage quantum and classical computations – a more practical quantum computing approach.
In a piece published in Science, researchers in China used quantum mechanics to perform computations in minutes. This would have taken billions of years using conventional machines. The research, which used photonic quantum computers, shows what claims to be the very first definitive demonstration using a “quantum advantage” to solving a problem that would have been impossible with classical computers.
However, as mentioned above, last year, Google built a quantum computer that they said achieved “quantum supremacy” and performed computations in minutes that would have taken the most powerful supercomputers tens of thousands of years. Google’s quantum computer was programmable. Google’s claim has been contested throughout the quantum computing field and many argued that a classical supercomputer could have performed the computations faster with a better algorithm. This back-and-forth and the fact that the area can’t agree on whether to call these achievements “quantum advantage” or “quantum supremacy” shows quantum computing is still a developing technology.
A quantum computer comprises qubits that can store an infinite number of values while still providing a single measure. Still, a regular computer can only store one value in one register, according to Forbes. Like A.I., the quantum world is entirely built on probabilities, which has led us to be engulfed in fascination with the possibilities and chances on the horizon. Both the hardware and algorithms have a long way to go until they grace our level of environments. It’s not an unattainable innovation, though – it’s reachable enough to learn and research for now.
Recent signs show that the lab’s progress is starting to transfer into commercial products, specifically in cloud computing. Xanadu announced a partnership with AWS to bring its open-source quantum software library PennyLane to the cloud computing giant. Additionally, IBM reached one of the most accepted general quantum computing performance measures on one of its systems.
Louis Lehot is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP, based in the firm’s Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, where he is a member of the Private Equity & Venture Capital, M&A and Transactions Practices and the Technology, Health Care, and Energy Industry Teams. Louis focuses his practice on advising entrepreneurs and their management teams, investors and financial advisors at all stages of growth, from the garage to global. Louis especially enjoys being able to help his clients achieve hyper-growth, go public and to successfully obtain optimal liquidity events. Prior to joining Foley, Louis was the founder of a Silicon Valley boutique law firm called L2 Counsel.