History has shown that the full scale of humanity’s most impressive technical achievements are not always recognized from the start. Look at the invention of the first transistor, the earliest computer program, or even the smartphone. What propelled these technologies to become mainstays of our everyday lives were the companies and individuals who recognized the long- term value and were willing to commit to seeing them through. Quantum computing is following a similar path.
Today, there are dozens of quantum computing companies around the world developing systems that rely on different underlying technologies and modalities – trapped ions, silicon, photons, and more. Each pursuit requires a long-term commitment as they work to achieve the end goal of quantum advantage. In the last few years, we’ve seen innovation from the private sector mix with investments from the public sector to create a flywheel that propels early quantum adopters forward and leaves those comfortable with today’s systems at a disadvantage.
International governments have taken a serious interest in quantum computing, with countries like the United States, South Korea, and Japan entering mutual agreements to train their quantum workforce and establish quantum computing hubs in their respective countries. These agreements are intended to provide practical support, such as education, training, and leadership expansion so that quantum science and technology professionals can contribute to the broader buildout of industry infrastructure.
At the same time, private institutions like QuantumBasel in Switzerland are purchasing their own quantum systems to have on-premises. Physical, onsite access provides local enterprises, research institutes, startups, and universities with direct access to the most powerful commercially available systems for application development. It is expected that industries across logistics, finance, pharma, chemistry, and AI will benefit the most from quantum
Global companies like Hyundai Motors and GE Research are already developing quantum applications for tasks like object recognition in autonomous vehicles and financial risk mitigation, respectively. Early research has demonstrated quantum’s ability to model basic human cognition models on top of quantum hardware, a precursor to developing AI that more closely imitates human thought. Additionally, government agencies like the U.S. Air Force Research Lab have taken an interest in quantum computing for quantum networking research and application development to protect national security interests.
For many countries and companies, the penalty for staying on the sidelines of such revolutionary technology is far too great to be ignored. As was the case when the first silicon processor was introduced, early adopters and builders are ultimately the ones who will shape the future of the multi-billion dollar quantum industry. Therefore, it’s important that all governments and enterprises have a quantum strategy prepared as the quantum economy evolves.