Our Q1 CXO Advisory Board call focused on how enterprises should be evaluating the increasing promise of quantum computing.
The event was moderated by Sierra Ventures Managing Partner Ben Yu and speakers included Michael Brett, Worldwide Business Development and GTM Strategy for Quantum Computing at AWS and Michael Biercuk, CEO & Founder of Q-CTRL.
Quantum Computing continues to be one of the top emerging technologies that is of interest to CXOs as evidenced by responses to both our 2020 and 2021 CXO Tech Surveys. It is not the easiest industry to track and there is a lot of hype surrounding Quantum Computing that dates back decades. While we are still years away from mass adoption, the tide is turning as we are starting to see some of the hype become reality.
Measurement and “success” of Quantum Computing has always been centered around qubits, quantum’s counterpart to classical computing’s binary digit or bit. Qubits are subatomic particles such as electrons or photons. The more qubits that can be controlled and isolated within a connected group, the more processing power for the quantum machine.
Quantum Computing research has traditionally been funded by universities and government-backed labs and up until 2008, these institutions held the lead for most qubits in a quantum computing system. D-Wave Systems, a privately held company, took over the top spot in 2008 claiming their quantum computer contained 28-qubits, up from the previous record of 12-qubits. Since 2008, commercial companies have taken over the qubits race, featuring large technology companies like Intel, Google and IBM and privately funded startups like D-Wave, Rigetti, and IonQ.
Global venture funding of Quantum Computing continues to grow and topped $417M in 2020. VCs see the promise of the technology and are jumping into the action by backing startups developing the hardware and software that will power the industry.
So why all the hype and increased investment now?
On our call, Michael Brett (AWS) and Michael Biercuk (Q-CTRL) both mentioned that we are entering the NISQ era – the “Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum”. This era is far from the end goal but holds great promise for early foundational industry applications. We are getting to a level with the qubits where we can finally achieve quantum supremacy – the state in which quantum computers can perform calculations no conventional computers are able to complete.
Rather than the ongoing incremental performance gains of 10x we are experiencing today with classical computers, we are embarking down a path where we may have computing resources that improve our calculations by 10^x and speed up new possibilities in industries like computational chemistry, machine learning, and optimization. Quantum Computing also has transformative potential to reduce energy consumption when it comes to computing resources.
Along with the progress made by startups, the big tech giants are claiming considerable advancements in Quantum such as:
- Quantum Computing made available on AWS through Amazon Bracket, Aug 2020
- Amazon Is Laying the Groundwork for its Own Quantum Computer, Dec 2020
- Google Officially Lays Claim to Quantum Supremacy, Oct 2019
- Google Claims Largest Chemical Simulation on a Quantum Computer to Date, Aug 2020
- Microsoft Opens its Azure Quantum Computing Service to the Public, Feb 2021
- Microsoft’s New Quantum Chip Could Help Control Thousands of Qubits, Jan 2021
- IBM Quantum Computing Development Roadmap Envisions Applications Running 100 Times Faster, Feb 2021
- IBM Promises 1000-Qubit Quantum Computer – A Milestone – By 2023, Sep 2020
How should CXOs plan for Quantum Computing innovation?
Michael Brett and Michael Biercuk shared the following playbook:
- Start by learning the fundamental differences between classical computing and quantum computing and gain an understanding of how the technology will be applied long-term. Here are a few introductory Quantum Computing resources:
- Map out potential use cases for your business over the next 2-5 years, even if some of them seem rudimentary. Explore how Quantum Computing can fit into your overall enterprise compute architecture.
- Keep up to date with the latest developments in Quantum Computing via your network of experts and well-known blogs and publications. The industry is still developing and it’s important to follow advancements and milestones.
We’re looking forward to seeing how Quantum Computing continues to play out over the next few years. If you’d like to discuss any of these trends or new ones you’re seeing please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more industry applications and notable early-adopter companies in our Tech Trend – Quantum Computing blog post.
Check out more CXO Insights on our blog.