Quantum Computing

Finishing the first year of my MBA at Anderson and starting an internship at one of the giants in Silicon Valley have so far served to make me more cynical than ever when it comes to innovation. It’s not like I was particularly optimistic to begin with, but now I visibly cringe when I hear the words ‘ride-sharing’ or ‘on demand’. The app market is saturated, Google and Facebook have monopolised the ad space, and e-commerce is Amazon. This leaves a bunch of oft-used acronyms like AI, AR, and VR. While I’m skeptical about the more wide-spread applications of VR in the near future, I’m completely on-board with AR, especially with Apple’s new ARKit that is going to bring AR to the mainstream. While we mostly know AI as personal assistants or chatbots, I am hoping to see more of true AI (not mere lip-service) in a wider range of industry verticals.

Quantum Computing
Insert futuristic Matrix style image here

My main motivation behind this post was to talk about what could possibly usher in a new way of computing—quantum computing. There are two reasons why I am incredibly excited about this.

  1. This is true engineering; not an app, not a vague idea, but an entirely new school of thought. At a very basic level, scientists and researchers are redefining the study of molecules (or quasi-particles).
  2. This technology is no longer theoretical, it is poised to become a reality within the next five years. Google, Microsoft, Turing, and Rigetti are all working towards achieving quantum supremacy (the point where quantum computing outperforms classical computing). Google has even gone on record to say that by the end of 2017, it will have a 49-qubit system.

The ramifications will be enormous; the capabilities of quantum computing systems far exceed anything we have in existence today. In attempt to learn more about the underlying mechanics, I picked up The Theoretical Minimum thanks to a recommendation from Susan’s Book Club (highly recommend). I’m not going to lie, it’s a pretty daunting topic to learn about, but every time the lightbulb goes off when I understand something, I smile.

I’d love to be ahead of the curve when the quantum wave hits; I want to continue to read and learn (next on the agenda is Quantum Chance). I also recently discovered the most amazing thing – you don’t need access to a lab to get your hands on this technology. Rigetti just released Forest 1.0., an API for quantum computing in the cloud. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty — sometimes I really wish I’d stuck to the engineering route but that’s a post for another day.

Image credit: http://www.wired.co.uk/

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