Much like the “space race” from the 1950s-1960s we are today in a quantum computer race. Governments, universities and private companies all around the world are pouring billions of dollars into quantum research and development. From satellite-based quantum key distribution for encryption has been demonstrated, laying the groundwork for a potential quantum security-based global communication network to research in new quantum computer based AI/ML systems. IBM, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and other companies are investing heavily in developing large-scale quantum computing hardware and software.
Nobody is quite there yet however there have been major advancements over the last year. While small-scale quantum computers are operational today, a major hurdle to scaling up the technology is the issue of dealing with errors. Compared to bits, qubits are incredibly fragile. Until recent discoveries the slightest disturbance from the outside world is enough to destroy quantum information. It is why current machines need to be carefully shielded in isolated environments operating at temperatures far colder than outer space.
While a theoretical framework for quantum error correction has been developed, implementing it in an energy- and resource-efficient manner poses significant engineering challenges. Yet rapid growth in the quantum tech sector over the past five years has been exciting. Quantum theory tells us that unpredictability is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, two qubits can be locked together in such a way that individually they remain undetermined, but jointly they are perfectly in sync and with this a new universe of possibilities and opportunities open up.
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