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article imageNow's the time to invest in quantum computing skills

By Tim Sandle     May 23, 2018 in Business
Futurists looking ahead for the types of skills that will be required by future generations have highlighted quantum computing skills as a core requirement for preparing for the next technological wave.
The focus on quantum computing skills comes from the UK's National Quantum Technologies Hub for Networked Quantum Information Technology, in a report made to the Financial Times. This is in light of one research group predicting that major companies may are between five to 10 years away from turning to quantum computing to solve big business problems.
Doing things differently
Commenting on this forthcoming technological leap to Computer World, David Schatsky, managing director of consultancy company Deloitte LLP, said: “Quantum computing has the potential to not just do things faster but to allow companies to do things entirely differently."
He further advises companies with points to considering, by stating: "If they have certain analytical workloads that could take them weeks to run and they could do it almost instantaneously, how would that change the way they make decisions, or the risks they're willing to take or what products and services they can offer customers?”
Quantum computing
A quantum computer is a device that performs quantum computing. These types of machines will be very different, in terms of computational power, from binary digital electronic computers. Quantum computation uses quantum bits, which can be in superpositions of states. These devices can work on problems in parallel and potentially find solutions to problems too complex for any classical machine to compute.
A race is on to develop the first quantum computer that can be put to practical commercial or academic use. According to Ashish Nadkarni, who is the Program Vice President of Computing Platforms, Worldwide Infrastructure at IDC, there are two distinct strands working on quantum computers. In the first group are entrenched players from the world of classical computing like IBM, Alphabet and Intel. And in the second group are quantum computing start-ups. Promising start-ups include Rigetti Computing, D-Wave Systems, Inc., and Zapata Computing.
Need for new skills and training
For these reasons there has been talk of equipping those already working on information technology, plus the next generation, with the necessary skills and understanding in preparedness for the quantum computing revolution.
The Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub (NQIT) is the largest of the four Hubs in the U.K. National Quantum Technology Programme, a £270 million ($320 million) investment by the U.K. government to establish a quantum technology industry in the U.K. The group, which operates from Oxford University, sees the potential for the U.K. as a £1 billion quantum computing industry. The group is calling for investment in training, through the university system.
An alternate way to learn is through collaboration. Here a new U.S. venture sees NC State become the first university in North America to establish an IBM Q Hub as part of the global IBM Q Network. With this, NC State will have access to IBM Q commercial quantum computing devices. These will be put to use on a range of research questions, such as looking for new materials and with drug discovery.
More about quantum computing, Physics, Education, University
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