Uncertain future for quantum computer

“Another fundamental issue is that it is unclear what commercially-useful problems can even be solved with quantum computers — if any.”

Nikita Gourianov, FT

This statement by Nikita Gourianov was published in the Financial Times (https://www.ft.com/content/6d2e34ab-f9fd-4041-8a96-91802bab7765 or archive https://archive.ph/0VB0K) and caused some reactions by people working in the quantum space. As I have posted on LinkedIn, I don’t see it that black, but to be honest, there are some valid points in the article. At least for now, quantum computing still has to measure up to the expectations. So far, quantum computing seems to be the Holy Grail.

Holy Grail rendered by Dall-E
Holy Grail by Dall-E

Quantum computing is currently supposed to solve everything, to help to break the internet, to save the internet, to improve logistic, to fix climate, to find new drugs, or to simply generate random numbers. For all of this, quantum computers have to grow. We are still in the NISQ era (noisy intermediate scale quantum, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noisy_intermediate-scale_quantum_era) and increases of the power of quantum computers are predicted either by Rose’s Law or Neven’s Law, and even the most optimistic contributors are talking about years if not even decades.

But it isn’t as bad as the article in the FT is predicting the future and there were three reactions to my post, that are worth to be mentioned.

Reaction 1

Paolo Cuomo, co-founder of Quantum London, was the first commenter on my LinkedIn post and pointed me to the new podcast discussing this topic of quantum readiness with UCL quantum. There is only one podcast episode so far, but I am looking for the next ones. Podcasts like this are essential to pull the hype out of the media around quantum.

Here the link to the medium article with further information: https://medium.com/quantum-london/quantum-ready-podcast-e919d2ab25f6

Reaction 2

Sergio Gago shared a link to the blog post of Scott Aronson, which was a discussion related to the article FT article. Scott Aronson discussed the post with the original author and Nikita Gourianov’s response was…

“A convincing strategy for overcoming these errors has not yet been demonstrated, making it unclear as to when — if ever — it will become possible to build a large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computer.”

TL,DR; you have to build it, to proof it. If you proof it, they will come. 🤷‍♂️ Uhm, yes, this is now nothing new.

Reaction 3

Noelle Ibrahim, PhD reacted as well and provided two links to papers discussing quantum advantage. The first one is “A Threshold for Quantum Advantage in Derivative Pricing” (https://arxiv.org/abs/2012.03819) and the second is “Towards Quantum Advantage in Financial Market Risk using Quantum Gradient Algorithms” (https://arxiv.org/abs/2111.12509). If you are into finance and curious about possible advantages by using QC, I guess these two papers are good starting point.

“So I think there is theoretical proof, at least for certain applications in MC (note: MC = Monte Carlo), it’s just a matter of increased scale, quality and speed of the hardware.”

Noelle Ibrahim

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