Quantum Computing – expectations in Digital Era !!

By – SAIRAM BOLLAPRAGADA & SHRADDHA BLS

The advent of digital in all facets of life is increasing the demand for better, faster, stronger, reliable and safer infrastructure needs of a common man, who is using the social media, the networks, the mobility and shared cloud services implicitly like never before.

If any, these demands will only go northwards, some of the areas which were theoretically in picture thus far have started assuming practical shape, like quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

The IT Headaches are increased multi-fold due to delays. 55% of IT Professionals experience downtime, causing unproductive hours; 24 petabytes of data processed by google daily; 2 hours of video uploaded every minute at YouTube; 2.9 million mails sent every second; 375 MB of data consumed by households each day; 72.9 items ordered on Amazon per second…. and still the demand for more speed and more capacity never ceases!!!

Human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10,000 other neurons, this is the most complex and complicated computer known to the universe connected to the super conscious. Today going beyond the binary world of Zeros and Ones we learnt in our early days of computer education a new dimension of multiple zeros and multiple ones co-existing together and intelligently making decisions assisting the GenZ live in a gadget friendly world.

Computers are doubling in power every 18 months, states Michio Kaku (an American theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science, Kaku is a professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center), but this will not go on forever. He predicts the silicon revolution to be over within the next 15 years. That is why quantum computing is the future of technological advancements.

Quantum Computing that was conceptualized as early as 1980’s is still in its infancy in 2016. However, while practical and theoretical research continues, the fact that it has been made into a reality in some of the labs and commercially affordable limitedly at a high cost is breathing hope for the expectations. In the realm of Quantum Physics particles can act as waves or particle or particle and wave (Super position).

In Superposition a Qubit can be 0 or 1 or 0&1 which means it can perform 2 equations simultaneously, hence 2 can perform 4 equations ,3 can perform 8 equations, hence 2n exponential expansion of simultaneous equations continues…leading to unimaginable large numbers of working concepts.

These concepts are converting to reality fast with companies like D-Wave building the world’s first real quantum computers (with closed environments with limiting dimensions of light, temperature and cost). The Digital space reflecting the need for near-real time scenarios, can leverage and become an excellent life changer. While we are bringing in game changers with the advances in Digital areas, Quantum computing can lend a huge impetus to the entire phenomenon if it were included in the strategic planning of the digital solutions.

The expectations from Quantum Computing can be set to bring in huge transformations in areas as below (though the areas mentioned are just a few of so many):

  1. Artificial Intelligence: A Chinese team of physicists in 2014 trained a quantum computer to recognize handwritten characters, the first demonstration of “quantum artificial intelligence”. The software that Google has developed on ordinary computers to drive cars or answer questions could become vastly more intelligent with usage of QC. It is proven that quantum effects have the potential to provide quadratic improvements in learning efficiency, as well as exponential improvements in performance for short periods of time when compared to classical techniques for a wide class of learning problems. All solutions based on cognitive techniques would also get hugely benefited from the QC. The primary aim of the cognitive sciences is to provide explanations of important mental functions, including perception, memory, language, inference, and learning.
  2. Cryptography: This field is gaining increasing significance by the day in the background of Digital solutions. Since a quantum state changes when it is observed, it is possible to design ways of ascertaining whether a person has eavesdropped on a message which can lead to real time detection of breaches. Using that method people can send each other encryption keys— strings of symbols that are used to encrypt and de-crypt messages — and be sure they’ll be alerted straight away if someone has intercepted the key.

The technological potential for quantum computing was first realized in the formulation by Shor (1994) of a polynomial-time quantum algorithm for the problem of factoring a number into its constituent primes, for which the best classical algorithms require exponential time.

The apparent intractability of prime factorization under classical computation is central to the security of the cryptographic schemes prevalent today. If implemented on a suitable quantum machine, Shor’s algorithm could potentially break the encryptions depended on by governments, banks, and millions of individuals.

  1. Cyber security: wireless networks, shopping or paying bills online, logging into password-protected Web accounts, and toting always-connected mobile devices presents a constant security threat. The overwhelming computational abilities accessible upon the arrival quantum computers would quickly unravel the most advanced public key encryption available today, leading to the current cryptographic standards getting obsolete. If quantum computers appeared as a viable technology tomorrow, there would be precious little alternative and acceptable means for securing our online and wireless transactions as protecting information and computation processes is the backbone of the security which converts your message into a secure format that can reach its destination without being read by an eavesdropping party.
  1. Economics: Supercomputers were very talked about in the real time economics scenarios in the 1970s and it did get its due outcomes. However, with Quantum computing the game theory will become more intriguing and interesting. Computational thinking is transforming economics, spawning a new field of computational microeconomics
  1. Medicines: Qubit is expected to transform the Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that can be looked upon for study of smaller body cells with high precision. Another area where there is large expectation in bio-medical is the vast DNA sequencing improvements where quantum computing can help large scale processing of data to bring it to clinical use.
  1. BI and Data Analytics: high performance computing has always been an expectation in this field and the better the machines, the better the data processing capabilities improving our decision making abilities. Quantum computing has put the imagination of speeds of faster data processing to new heights using HDFS and MapReduce. Complex and complicated Data – structured or unstructured, can be expected to be treated with ease as Qubits superposition characteristics are leveraged.
  1. Agriculture: owing to the genomics-based data explosion and concurrent computational advances in technologies, the ICAR in India claims a paradigm shift in Agricultural sciences. The better and bigger data processing capabilities that can bring in faster research advances in bioinformatics, be it modelling of cellular functions, metabolic pathways, validation of drug trials and targets to better genetic engineering of crops for better yields of better crops, genetic networks, etc., throws in a hope to stop the calamities due to crop failures in rural areas of developing nations. Here again the QC can play a very critical part as well as in the precision agriculture – a concept leveraging digital solutions fast expected to reach a market of 4.55$ Billion in 2020.
  2. Logistics: A new optimization algorithm was devised for logistics companies by Manchester Metropolitan University to calculate the best routes and times to send vehicles on the road in the most efficient way. The code, a Quantum Annealing Optimization algorithm, is one of the first in a new generation of optimization techniques, which could revolutionize logistics for businesses and a range of other applications.

While Quantum computing is more about converging to solve optimization problems, the application domains can vary in spectrum – be it finding the most optimized solution to power consumption, In artificial intelligence, economics, genomics or medicine, etc. The application of Quantum Computing can also be looked at solving some of the complex machine learning where building models to make accurate predictions.

(At an estimated 15 million $ price tag a handful of organizations like Google, NASA, Amazon, Lockheed Martin have emerged as forward thinking organizations, who are ready to bet on future technologies.)

Towards a better hope, bigger future!!