Quantum Computing Use Cases

Have you been dreaming of all the great things you would do if you just had ready access to a stable and sufficiently powerful quantum computer? Through the IBM Q Network you can access any of IBM’s quantum computers they are making available over the Internet. IBM laid out its roadmap for quantum computers just a couple of weeks ago, which DancingDinosaur covered here

The company reports that substantive quantum work is being attempted using machines available through its Q Network. DancingDinosaur has looked at Qiskit, IBM’s quantum programming language, and looked at the learning materials that accompany it, but even then, I haven’t experienced that Eureka moment–an idea that could only be effectively handled if only I had a sufficiently powerful quantum machine. My best programming ideas, I’m embarrassed to admit, can be handled perfectly well on an x86 box running Visual Basic. Sorry, but I’m just not yearning for the 1000+ qubit machine IBM is promising in 2023 or the million-plus qubit machine after that.

D-Wave Quantum machine

D-Wave Systems Inc., a Canadian quantum computing company, hired 451 Research to investigate enterprise attitude and appetite with regard to quantum computing. The survey found that quantum computing is emerging as a powerful tool for large-scale businesses, the majority of which generate over $1 billion in revenue.

Among the priorities the researchers found were increasing efficiency and productivity at an organizational level, boosting profitability, and solving large and complex business problems that may not be solvable with current methods, tools, and technology. And the researchers concluded, of course, that  now is the time for executives to take the quantum computing investment seriously because the competition is already exploring how to solve complex problems and gain the coveted first-to-market advantages. 

If that sounds familiar, we have been hearing versions of it for decades. This is the classic way to drive decision makers to invest in the next greatest thing–the fear of being left behind. DancingDinosaur has been writing exactly those kinds of reports arriving at similar conclusions and driving similar results for years.

D-Wave’s Volkswagon quantum story begins with the company launching in Lisbon the world’s first pilot project for traffic optimization using a D-Wave quantum computer. For this purpose, the Group is equipping buses of the city of Lisbon with a traffic management system developed in-house. This system uses a D-Wave quantum computer and calculates the fastest route for each of the nine participating buses individually and almost in real-time. The result: passengers’ travel times will be significantly reduced, even during peak traffic periods, and traffic flow will be improved.

Global industry leaders across fields – from transportation to pharmaceuticals to financial services – are now looking to quantum computing to rethink business solutions and maintain competitive advantage over their peers.

The survey found that while 39% of surveyed enterprises are already experimenting with quantum computing today, a staggering 81% have a use-case in mind for the next three years. High on the agenda for critical business benefits via quantum are increased efficiency and improved profitability, followed closely by improved processes, productivity, revenue, and a faster time to market for new products. Increased efficiency? Hey, I could have said that about what I did with Visual Basic on x86.

Efficiency is particularly critical to business leaders because enterprises often suffer productivity losses when tackling complex problems. In fact, over a third of enterprises have abandoned complex problems in the last three years due to time constraints, complexity, or a lack of capacity. Yet, 97% of enterprises rate solving complex problems as high importance or business-critical. Clearly today’s computing technology is not adequately meeting large-scale business’ needs, and VB on x86 just can’t cut it.

Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer, is DancingDinosaur. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog, and see more of his work at http://technologywriter.com/.

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