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The Next Decade in Quantum Computing—and How to Play

Updated: Nov 24, 2019

The experts are convinced that in time they can build a high-performance quantum computer. Given the technical hurdles that quantum computing faces—manipulations at nanoscale, for instance, or operating either in a vacuum environment or at cryogenic temperatures—the progress in recent years is hard to overstate. In the long term, such machines will very likely shape new computing and business paradigms by solving computational problems that are currently out of reach. They could change the game in such fields as cryptography and chemistry (and thus material science, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals) not to mention artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). We can expect additional applications in logistics, manufacturing, finance, and energy. Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize information processing the way quantum science revolutionized physics a century ago.

The full impact of quantum computing is probably more than a decade away. But there is a much closer upheaval gathering force, one that has significance now for people in business and that promises big changes in the next five to ten years. Research underway at multiple major technology companies and startups, among them IBM, Google, Rigetti Computing, Alibaba, Microsoft, Intel, and Honeywell, has led to a series of technological breakthroughs in building quantum computer systems. These efforts, complemented by government-funded R&D, make it all but certain that the near to medium term will see the development of medium-sized, if still error-prone, quantum computers that can be used in business and have the power and capability to produce the first experimental discoveries. Already quite a few companies are moving to secure intellectual property (IP) rights and position themselves to be first to market with their particular parts of the quantum computing puzzle. Every company needs to understand how coming discoveries will affect business. Leaders will start to stake out their positions in this emerging technology in the next few years.

This report explores essential questions for executives and people with a thirst to be up-to-speed on quantum computing. We will look at where the technology itself currently stands, who is who in the emerging ecosystem, and the potentially interesting applications. We will analyze the leading indicators of investments, patents, and publications; which countries and entities are most active; and the status and prospects for the principal quantum hardware technologies. We will also provide a simple framework for understanding algorithms and assessing their applicability and potential. Finally, our short tour will paint a picture of what can be expected in the next five to ten years, and what companies should be doing—or getting ready for—in response.(...) Read More

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