quantum computer
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Quantum computing is defined by NASA as a phenomenon “where a particle can be in many different states at once” due to quantum entanglement. If you are looking for more terms related to quantum computing, the experts at TechRepublic Premium have put together a glossary with all the definitions you’ll need.

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Why does quantum computing matter in IT and in areas like analytics and AI?

In the classical computers that everyone uses, the bits that are processed can be either 1 or 0. In quantum computing, where bits are replaced by qubits, the individual qubits values still come out as a 1 or a 0; however, the difference is that any qubit can represent a different outcome that is based on a unique combination of events only encountered by that qubit.

For example, the world has both a southern and a northern pole. In this sense, the world is a binary model that a classical computer bit process will represent as either a 0 (north) or a 1 (south). Between these two polar points, there are many events and points along the trajectory that a bit can also theoretically represent.

Qubits are able to capture these individual points between poles depending upon the events and conditions each qubit encounters during processing. Because of this, quantum computing can deliver many different possibilities for solving a problem. These diverse possibilities lead to unique business insights.

An example I often use has to do with shopping habits. A British retailer wanted to know why e-commerce sales spiked on Sunday afternoons. The normal marketing analysis approach was to analyze where activity was coming from, what the demographics of purchasers were, what types of articles were being purchased and so on.

Somewhere along the way, a correlation between stay-at-home wives shopping while their husbands were attending soccer games was discovered. This was an unlikely correlation that someone with sharp analytics skills happened to identify, but it would have been a likely correlation if a quantum computer had been used.

Why? Because the quantum computer’s qubit processing would have automatically identified many possibilities for wives shopping on Sundays and for the activity of their husbands. Soccer attendance likely would have been one of these.

Where quantum computing is being used today

Quantum computing is a nascent field. Few companies are planning to purchase quantum computers, but there are companies that are starting to use them for competitive advantage. For this reason alone, quantum computing should have a place on IT strategic roadmaps.

Financial services institutions like banks and brokerage houses are beginning to experiment with quantum computing as a way to process large volumes of financial transactions quicker. Quantum computing can also be used for financial risk analysis, as financial services companies are using quantum computing for fraud detection.

Quantum computing can be used to determine worldwide supply chain risks such as weather, strikes and political unrest, with an eye toward eliminating supply chain bottlenecks before they happen.

Pharmaceutical companies are experimenting with quantum computing as a way to assess the viability of new drug combinations and their beneficial and adverse effects on humans. The goal is to reduce R&D costs and speed new products to market. They are also to customize drugs to each individual patient’s situation.

Further, in the automotive industry, quantum computing is being used for self-driving vehicle design. Utilities are also beginning to use quantum computing for the design and distribution of efficient energy systems.

If you’re picking up your smartphone in the morning and checking the weather, chances are that you’re already using quantum computing, which is widely used in weather forecasting.

Quantum computing and your company’s strategic IT plan

Even if you’re a very small company with no plans to implement quantum computing in your own operations, you are likely to be a beneficiary of it in the form of cloud services that process big data and assess financial and cybersecurity risks.

It makes sense to have quantum computing listed on your IT strategic roadmap, because it is going to change how you do business, even if you use it only as an outsourced service. You will also be expected to explain quantum computing to your board and stakeholders, who will want to know how quantum computing is being deployed in your business.

For companies in industry verticals like hospitality, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, retail, finance, product engineering and manufacturing, and the public sector, quantum computing is likely to occupy a central role as it takes over from classical computing systems to run core applications.

As quantum computing assumes a more central role in IT, the IT strategic roadmap should be tracking its progress and the benefits that derive from it.

The experts at TechRepublic Premium have put together some research on quantum computing to help your company get started on adding it to your IT strategy.

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