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Quantum Supremacy - Will 2018 be the start of a new era in computing?

quantum computing supremacy IBM Google qubit Microsoft AI cryptography optimisation

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#1
Zaphod

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Quantum supremacy - The potential ability of quantum computing devices to solve problems that classical computers practically cannot.

 

With the latest quantum computer from Google having 72 qubits, we are on the verge of quantum supremacy. IBM has also had considerable recent advances and before the year is out we are likely to reach quantum supremacy. The issue with these early models is the high error rate, however Microsoft and the Niels Bohr Institute have recently announced a potential breakthrough that may allow for the creation of stable and scaled-up quantum computers (BBC, Nature). Microsoft says "We will have a commercially relevant quantum computer - one that's solving real problems - within five years,". IBM has said exactly the same thing.

 

I think the early to mid-2020's will be when quantum computing begins to move out of the lab and into real use. But where will quantum computers be used first and what kinds of problems will they first be used to solve?

 

Here are some potential applications of quantum computers:

  • Cryptography - quantum computers can be used both to easily hack current encryption, but also with methods such as lattice-based cryptography which would make data almost impossible to hack.
  • Molecular and chemical industry - The understanding of complex molecular interactions will allow the discovery of new medicines and nanotechnology.
  • Optimisation - Finding the most efficient solutions for logistical problems such as delivery services and supply chains.
  • AI - Faster  and more accurate search functions in large datasets will allow machine learning to become much more powerful and increase their utility. Also to create unbiased AI.

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#2
starspawn0

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I, unfortunately, think that QCs will have a pretty limited impact, overall; and it will be several decades before we see Shor's algorithm applied to cryptographically-interesting numbers, for example.

 

It is believed that they can't solve NP-hard problems in polynomial time, but could lead to a "quadratic speedup" -- whereby the number of steps needed to solve a problem is cut to its square-root.  There are candidate cryptosystems to replace the existing ones, that QCs shouldn't be able to break.  

 

It seems to me that the best near-term applications might be towards simulating quantum systems.  That could help materials science quite a lot.  Maybe it will speed up the find for room-temperature superconductors, or super-strong nano-materials.


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#3
Yuli Ban

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What is your opinion on quantum machine learning? It's well known that machine learning is one of the few areas where quantum computers offers a quantifiable speed up.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#4
starspawn0

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The impact on Machine Learning will be negligible.  See what Google Brain overlord Jeff Dean has to say:
 
https://www.reddit.c...ove_to/d6dg48w/
 

My personal opinion is that quantum computing will have almost no significant impact on deep learning in particular in the short and medium term (say, in the next 10 years). For other kinds of machine learning, it's possible that it could have an impact, if machine learning methods that can take advantage of quantum computing's advantages can be done at an interesting enough size to actually make a significant impact on real problems. I think new kinds of hardware platforms built with deep learning in mind (e.g. things like the Tensor Processing Unit), will have a much greater impact on deep learning. I am far from an expert on quantum computing, however.



#5
Yuli Ban

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Well that's just it: he says in the short to medium term, the same time-frame when quantum computers are likely not to be any more relevant in daily research than UNIVAC was for futurists of the 1950s. 

I'm thinking more along the lines of 25-30 years down the line.


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#6
Zaphod

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: quantum, computing, supremacy, IBM, Google, qubit, Microsoft, AI, cryptography, optimisation

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