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Business readiness: Get ready for the quantum computing leap forwards

There is a widespread misunderstanding that threats from quantum computing won’t happen any time soon.

At the bottom of the layercake computer, it's just 10 Milikelvins, pretty much the coldest it can possibly be anywhere in the universe. — © AFP
At the bottom of the layercake computer, it's just 10 Milikelvins, pretty much the coldest it can possibly be anywhere in the universe. — © AFP

Through the course of 2022 a higher proportion of enterprises have expressed an interest in future-state quantum computing. There is an expectation that once true quantum computers become function, these will be able to address many business problems together with complex computing needs.

To gain some understanding as to how quantum computing is set to shape business activities and why there is a high level of interest, Digital Journal heard from Christopher Savoie, CEO and co-founder of Zapata Computing & Gregg Carman, Chief Commercial Officer at Zapata Computing.

Savoie’s key message is ‘get ready’, as he notes: “Enterprises in every industry – from pharma and banking to energy and supply chain — need to prepare now for quantum computing if they are going to have a chance to create first-mover advantage.”

In terms of preparatory steps, Savoie advises: “The starting point is having the right infrastructure in place. Based on the conversations we’re having with enterprises globally, it’s clear that most are now including quantum computing in their budgets, demonstrating that this message is resonating.”

Also, of importance for the planning process, Savoie finds: “Further, it’s important for enterprises to understand that the near-term advantages will come from quantum-inspired techniques running on an existing infrastructure; from machine learning to tensor networks to generative AI models that can analyse data – and even generate synthetic data where needed — to compute the most optimized results that then translate into measurable business improvements.”

Given that post-quantum cybersecurity threats could occur, Savoie warns: “We’re seeing a trend where companies are not fully aware of the threats at hand and are only concerned about them after a breach happens. We believe there is a widespread misunderstanding that threats from quantum computing won’t happen any time soon – i.e., it will be a decade or longer and they will only come from the more powerful quantum computers of the future. That’s not the case.”

The reason why firms need to worry now is: “As our research has shown, heuristic algorithms – such as variational quantum factoring (VQF) – running on soon available NISQ devices with just a few thousand qubits can break some encryption protocols that are in wide use today. Being prepared for these threats now is important for all industries, especially governments and other large organizations that have access to sensitive information.”

In terms of how businesses are repositioning themselves in readiness for new technological changes, Savoie foresees: “We expect there to be more consolidation in the market in 2023 as part of the natural flow and rhythm of enterprise software. We’re seeing more startups enter the market, which is a good sign – that means there’s a growing market opportunity. Consolidation will likely happen in software, post-quantum cybersecurity and even vertical applications like pharma and banking. With all of these new, expected players in the ecosystem, the bar is higher for bringing something unique and innovative to the table. But that also means there are opportunities for collaboration and integration to exceed the bar.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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