(OPINION) ETH – In a May blog post, Google unveiled its new Quantum AI Campus and announced its intent to build a million qubit, error-corrected quantum computer by 2029.
A month later, IBM partnered with the United Kingdom on a $300 million quantum computing research initiative. Corporations all over the globe are investing resources in quantum computing and quantum computing applications. The reason is simple. Quantum computing promises to advance almost every field of human endeavor – from traditional industries such as banking and energy to new emerging industries such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Classical computers encode information in bits, represented as ones and zeroes. Quantum computers encode information in qubits, represented by the directional spin of an electron or the polarization of a photon. Unlike classic computer bits, quantum mechanics allow qubits to exist in both states simultaneously. So instead of representing either a one or a zero, a qubit can represent both simultaneously.
Linking qubits together via quantum entanglement, This means quantum computers have the potential to exponentially exceed the computing power of the world’s most powerful classical supercomputers. A few hundred qubits can represent more states than there are atoms in the universe. So why should you care? Such a computer would be so powerful it could instantly break the most sophisticated encryption methods of the classical computer era.
Imagine the military advantage a nation-state would hold over its competitors if it developed quantum computing ahead of all others. It would have an overwhelming advantage. If corporations are openly discussing the arrival of quantum computing breakthroughs, what do think governments are doing? The United States, China, the EU, Russia, and others have far more resources than Google or IBM. Think they’ll be willing to spend a few hundred billion on a crash program to speed up the development timeline? I think so. And a quantum computing arms race creates uncertainty, distrust, and instability. READ MORE