Friday October 27, 2017

Quantum Computing Brings Promise and Threats

In this opinion piece over at InformationWeek, the author proposes that quantum computing poses both great promise and potential threats. Without a doubt the promises of quantum computing are immense. Things that conventional computers do slowly the quantum computer can do many times faster. Some areas I see for quantum computing are medical research where quantum computers have potential to identify possible cures, in other fields of chemistry to develop new substances, and without a doubt can be used in materials science to develop stronger/lighter metals. However, one key area that quantum computing can impact in a bad way is encryption. There is a debate about whether or not current encryption methods will be made obsolete by quantum computing. Regardless, quantum computing is the future whether we like it or not.

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It's probably safe to say that none of us will have a quantum computer sitting on our desks anytime soon, but just about anyone with a browser can get access to IBM's 5 and 16 quantum bit (qubit) computers via the cloud. Earlier this year, the company announced IBM Q, an initiative intended to result in commercially available quantum computing systems. IBM also announced that it had built and tested two quantum computing processors including the 16 qubit open processor for use by the public and the 17-qubit commercial processor for customers.