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Category Archives: Quantum Computing

How to verify that quantum chips are computing correctly – MIT News

Posted: January 18, 2020 at 9:46 am

In a step toward practical quantum computing, researchers from MIT, Google, and elsewhere have designed a system that can verify when quantum chips have accurately performed complex computations that classical computers cant.

Quantum chips perform computations using quantum bits, called qubits, that can represent the two states corresponding to classic binary bits a 0 or 1 or a quantum superposition of both states simultaneously. The unique superposition state can enable quantum computers to solve problems that are practically impossible for classical computers, potentially spurring breakthroughs in material design, drug discovery, and machine learning, among other applications.

Full-scale quantum computers will require millions of qubits, which isnt yet feasible. In the past few years, researchers have started developing Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) chips, which contain around 50 to 100 qubits. Thats just enough to demonstrate quantum advantage, meaning the NISQ chip can solve certain algorithms that are intractable for classical computers. Verifying that the chips performed operations as expected, however, can be very inefficient. The chips outputs can look entirely random, so it takes a long time to simulate steps to determine if everything went according to plan.

In a paper published today in Nature Physics, the researchers describe a novel protocol to efficiently verify that an NISQ chip has performed all the right quantum operations. They validated their protocol on a notoriously difficult quantum problem running on custom quantum photonic chip.

As rapid advances in industry and academia bring us to the cusp of quantum machines that can outperform classical machines, the task of quantum verification becomes time critical, says first author Jacques Carolan, a postdoc in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE). Our technique provides an important tool for verifying a broad class of quantum systems. Because if I invest billions of dollars to build a quantum chip, it sure better do something interesting.

Joining Carolan on the paper are researchers from EECS and RLE at MIT, as well from the Google Quantum AI Laboratory, Elenion Technologies, Lightmatter, and Zapata Computing.

Divide and conquer

The researchers work essentially traces an output quantum state generated by the quantum circuit back to a known input state. Doing so reveals which circuit operations were performed on the input to produce the output. Those operations should always match what researchers programmed. If not, the researchers can use the information to pinpoint where things went wrong on the chip.

At the core of the new protocol, called Variational Quantum Unsampling, lies a divide and conquer approach, Carolan says, that breaks the output quantum state into chunks. Instead of doing the whole thing in one shot, which takes a very long time, we do this unscrambling layer by layer. This allows us to break the problem up to tackle it in a more efficient way, Carolan says.

For this, the researchers took inspiration from neural networks which solve problems through many layers of computation to build a novel quantum neural network (QNN), where each layer represents a set of quantum operations.

To run the QNN, they used traditional silicon fabrication techniques to build a 2-by-5-millimeter NISQ chip with more than 170 control parameters tunable circuit components that make manipulating the photon path easier. Pairs of photons are generated at specific wavelengths from an external component and injected into the chip. The photons travel through the chips phase shifters which change the path of the photons interfering with each other. This produces a random quantum output state which represents what would happen during computation. The output is measured by an array of external photodetector sensors.

That output is sent to the QNN. The first layer uses complex optimization techniques to dig through the noisy output to pinpoint the signature of a single photon among all those scrambled together. Then, it unscrambles that single photon from the group to identify what circuit operations return it to its known input state. Those operations should match exactly the circuits specific design for the task. All subsequent layers do the same computation removing from the equation any previously unscrambled photons until all photons are unscrambled.

As an example, say the input state of qubits fed into the processor was all zeroes. The NISQ chip executes a bunch of operations on the qubits to generate a massive, seemingly randomly changing number as output. (An output number will constantly be changing as its in a quantum superposition.) The QNN selects chunks of that massive number. Then, layer by layer, it determines which operations revert each qubit back down to its input state of zero. If any operations are different from the original planned operations, then something has gone awry. Researchers can inspect any mismatches between the expected output to input states, and use that information to tweak the circuit design.

Boson unsampling

In experiments, the team successfully ran a popular computational task used to demonstrate quantum advantage, called boson sampling, which is usually performed on photonic chips. In this exercise, phase shifters and other optical components will manipulate and convert a set of input photons into a different quantum superposition of output photons. Ultimately, the task is to calculate the probability that a certain input state will match a certain output state. That will essentially be a sample from some probability distribution.

But its nearly impossible for classical computers to compute those samples, due to the unpredictable behavior of photons. Its been theorized that NISQ chips can compute them fairly quickly. Until now, however, theres been no way to verify that quickly and easily, because of the complexity involved with the NISQ operations and the task itself.

The very same properties which give these chips quantum computational power makes them nearly impossible to verify, Carolan says.

In experiments, the researchers were able to unsample two photons that had run through the boson sampling problem on their custom NISQ chip and in a fraction of time it would take traditional verification approaches.

This is an excellent paper that employs a nonlinear quantum neural network to learn the unknown unitary operation performed by a black box, says Stefano Pirandola, a professor of computer science who specializes in quantum technologies at the University of York. It is clear that this scheme could be very useful to verify the actual gates that are performed by a quantum circuit [for example] by a NISQ processor. From this point of view, the scheme serves as an important benchmarking tool for future quantum engineers. The idea was remarkably implemented on a photonic quantum chip.

While the method was designed for quantum verification purposes, it could also help capture useful physical properties, Carolan says. For instance, certain molecules when excited will vibrate, then emit photons based on these vibrations. By injecting these photons into a photonic chip, Carolan says, the unscrambling technique could be used to discover information about the quantum dynamics of those molecules to aid in bioengineering molecular design. It could also be used to unscramble photons carrying quantum information that have accumulated noise by passing through turbulent spaces or materials.

The dream is to apply this to interesting problems in the physical world, Carolan says.


How to verify that quantum chips are computing correctly - MIT News

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AlphaZero beat humans at Chess and StarCraft, now it’s working with quantum computers – The Next Web

Posted: at 9:46 am

A team of researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark let DeepMinds AlphaZero algorithm loose on a few quantum computing optimization problems and, much to everyones surprise, the AI was able to solve the problems without any outside expert knowledge. Not bad for a machine learning paradigm designed to win at games like Chess and StarCraft.

Youve probably heard of DeepMind and its AI systems. The UK-based Google sister-company is responsible for both AlphaZero and AlphaGo, the systems that beat the worlds most skilled humans at the games of Chess and Go. In essence, what both systems do is try to figure out what the optimal next set of moves is. Where humans can only think so many moves ahead, the AI can look a bit further using optimized search and planning methods.

Related:DeepMinds AlphaZero AI is the new champion in chess, shogi, and Go

When the Aarhus team applied AlphaZeros optimization abilities to a trio of problems associated with optimizing quantum functions an open problem for the quantum computing world they learned that its ability to learn new parameters unsupervised transferred over from games to applications quite well.

Per the study:

AlphaZero employs a deep neural network in conjunction with deep lookahead in a guided tree search, which allows for predictive hidden-variable approximation of the quantum parameter landscape. To emphasize transferability, we apply and benchmark the algorithm on three classes of control problems using only a single common set of algorithmic hyperparameters.

The implications for AlphaZeros mastery over the quantum universe could be huge. Controlling a quantum computer requires an AI solution because operations at the quantum level quickly become incalculable by humans. The AI can find optimum paths between data clusters in order to emerge better solutions in tandem with computer processors. It works a lot like human heuristics, just scaled to the nth degree.

An example of this would be an algorithm that helps a quantum computer sort through near-infinite combinations of molecules to come up with chemical compounds that would be useful in the treatment of certain illnesses. The current paradigm would involve developing an algorithm that relies on human expertise and databases with previous findings to point it in the right direction.

But the kind of problems were looking at quantum computers to solve dont always have a good starting point. Some of these, optimization problems like the Traveling Salesman Problem, need an algorithm thats capable of figuring things out without the need for constant adjustment by developers.

DeepMinds algorithm and AI system may be the solution quantum computings been waiting for. The researchers effectively employ AlphaZero as a Tabula Rasa for quantum optimization: It doesnt necessarily need human expertise to find the optimum solution to a problem at the quantum computing level.

Before we start getting too concerned about unsupervised AI accessing quantum computers, its worth mentioning that so far AlphaZeros just solved a few problems in order to prove a concept. We know the algorithms can handle quantum optimization, now its time to figure out what we can do with it.

The researchers have already received interest from big tech and other academic institutions with queries related to collaborating on future research. Not for nothing, but DeepMinds sister-company Google has a little quantum computing program of its own. Were betting this isnt the last weve heard of AlphaZeros adventures in the quantum computing world.

Read next: Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed to September (thank goodness)

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The dark side of IoT, AI and quantum computing: Hacking, data breaches and existential threat – ZDNet

Posted: at 9:46 am

Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and quantum computing have the potential to transform human lives, but could also bring unintended consequences in the form of making society more vulnerable to cyberattacks, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has warned.

Now in it's 15th year, the WEFGlobal Risks Report 2020 produced in collaboration with insurance broking and risk management firm Marsh details the biggest threats facing the world over the course of the next year and beyond.

Data breaches and cyberattacks featured in the top five most likely global risks in both 2018 and 2019, but while both still pose significant risks, they're now ranked at sixth and seventh respectively.

"I wouldn't underestimate the importance of technology risk, even though this year's report has a centre piece on climate," said John Drzik, chairman of Marsh & McLennan Insights.

SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity(ZDNet special report) |Download the report as a PDF(TechRepublic)

The 2020 edition of the Global Risks Report puts the technological risks behind five different environmental challenges: extreme weather, climate change action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, and human-made environmental disasters.

But that isn't to say cybersecurity threats don't pose risks; cyberattacks and data breaches are still in the top ten and have the potential to cause big problems for individuals, businesses and society as a whole, with threats ranging from data breaches and ransomwareto hackers tampering with industrial and cyber-physical systems.

"The digital nature of 4IR [fourth industrial revolution] technologies makes them intrinsically vulnerable to cyberattacks that can take a multitude of formsfrom data theft and ransomware to the overtaking of systems with potentially large-scale harmful consequences," warns the report.

"Operational technologies are at increased risk because cyberattacks could cause more traditional, kinetic impacts as technology is being extended into the physical world, creating a cyber-physical system."

The report warns that, for many technology vendors, "security-by-design" is still a secondary concern compared with getting products out to the market.

Large numbers of Internet of Things product manufacturers have long had a reputation for putting selling the products ahead of ensuring they're secure and the WEF warns that the IoT is "amplifying the potential cyberattack surface", as demonstrated by the rise in IoT-based attacks.

In many cases, IoT devices collect and share private data that's highly sensitive, like medical records, information about the insides of homes and workplaces, or data on day-to-day journeys.

Not only could this data be dangerous if it falls into the hands of cyber criminals if it isn't collected and stored appropriately, the WEF also warns about the potential of IoT data being abused by data brokers. In both cases, the report warns the misuse of this data could be to create physical and psychological harm.

Artificial intelligence is also detailed as a technology that could have benefits as well as causing problems, with the report describing AI as "the most impactful invention" and our "biggest existential threat". The WEF even goes so far as to claim we're still not able to comprehend AI's full potential or full risk.

The report notes that risks around issues such as generating disinformation and deepfakes are well known, but suggests that more investigation is needed into the risks AI poses in areas including brain-computer interfaces.

A warning is also issued about the unintended consequences of quantum computing, should it arrive at some point over the course of the next decade, as some suggest. While, like other innovations, it will bring benefits to society, it also creates a problem for encryption in its current state.

SEE:Cybersecurity in an IoT and Mobile World (ZDNet sepcial report)

By dramatically reducing the time required to solve the mathematical problems that today's encryption relies on to potentially just seconds, it will render cybersecurity as we know it obsolete. That could have grave consequences for re-securing almost every aspect of 21st century life, the report warns especially if cyber criminals or other malicious hackers gain access to quantum technology that they could use to commit attacks against personal data, critical infrastructure and power grids,

"These technologies are really reshaping industry, technology and society at large, but we don't have the protocols around these to make sure of a positive impact on society," said Mirek Dusek, deputy head of the centre for geopolitical and regional affairs at member of the executive committee at the World Economic Forum.

However, it isn't all doom and gloom; because despite the challenges offered when it comes to cyberattacks, the World Economic Forum notes that efforts to address the security challenges posed by new technologies is "maturing" even if they're still sometimes fragmented.

"Numerous initiatives bring together businesses and governments to build trust, promote security in cyberspace, assess the impact of cyberattacks and assist victims," the report says.

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The dark side of IoT, AI and quantum computing: Hacking, data breaches and existential threat - ZDNet

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Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment from SDTC to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology – PRNewswire

Posted: at 9:46 am

Xanadu's unique photonic approach to quantum computing will be much more energy efficient than traditional computing methods, thereby saving energy and emissions from power generation.

TORONTO, Jan. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ - Xanadu, a Canadian quantum hardware and technology company has received a $4.4M investment from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). The investment will expedite the development of Xanadu's photonic quantum computers and make them available over the cloud. This project will also further the company's overall progress towards the construction of energy-efficient universal quantum computers.

"Canadian cleantech entrepreneurs are tackling problems across Canada and in every sector. I have never been more positive about the future. The quantum hardware technology that Xanadu is building will develop quantum computers with the ability to solve extremely challenging computational problems, completing chemical calculations in minutes which would otherwise require a million CPUs in a data center," said Leah Lawrence, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

Despite efforts to improve the power efficiency of traditional computing methods, the rapid growth of data centres and cloud computing presents a major source of new electricity consumption. In comparison to classical computing, quantum computing systems have the benefit of performing certain tasks and algorithms at an unprecedented rate. This will ultimately reduce the requirements for electrical power and the accompanying air and water emissions associated with electricity production.

Xanadu is developing a unique type of quantum computer, based on photonic technology, which is inherently more power-efficient than electronics. Xanadu's photonic approach uses laser light to carry information through optical chips, rather than the electrons or ions used by their competitors. By using photonic technology, Xanadu's quantum computers will one day have the ability to perform calculations at room temperature, and eliminate the bulky and power-hungry cooling systems required by most other types of quantum computers.

The project will be undertaken by Xanadu's team of in-house scientists, with collaboration from the University of Toronto and Swiftride. The project will be carried out over three years and will encompass the development of Xanadu's architecture, hardware, software and client interfaces with the overall goal of expediting the development of the company's technology, and demonstrating the practical benefits of quantum computing for users and customers by the end of 2022.

"We are thrilled by the recognition and support that we are receiving from SDTC for the development of our technology. We firmly believe that our unique, photonic-based approach to quantum computing will deliver both valuable insights and tangible environmental benefits for our customers and partners," said Christian Weedbrook, CEO of Xanadu.

About XanaduXanadu is a photonic quantum hardware company. We build integrated photonic chips that can be used in quantum computing, communication and sensing systems. The company's mission is to build quantum computers that are useful and available to people everywhere, or follow us on Twitter @XanaduAI.

About SDTCSustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is a foundation created by the Government of Canada to advance clean technology innovation in Canada by funding and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises developing and demonstrating clean technology solutions. Follow Sustainable Development Technology Canada on Twitter:@SDTC



Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment from SDTC to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology - PRNewswire

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Why India is falling behind in the Y2Q race – Livemint

Posted: at 9:46 am

Now, the world faces a new scare that some scientists are calling the Y2Q (years to quantum") moment. Y2Q, say experts, could be the next major cyber disruption. When this moment will come is not certain; most predictive estimates range from 10 to 20 years. But one thing is certain: as things stand, India has not woken up to the implications (both positive and negative) of quantum computing.

What is quantum computing? Simply put, it is a future technology that will exponentially speed up the processing power of classical computers, and solve problems in a few seconds that todays fastest supercomputers cant.

Most importantly, a quantum computer would be able to factor the product of two big prime numbers. And that means the underlying assumptions powering modern encryption wont hold when a practical quantum computer becomes a reality. Encryption forms the backbone of a secure cyberspace. It helps to protect the data we send, receive or store.

So, a quantum computer could translate into a complete breakdown of current encryption infrastructure. Cybersecurity experts have been warning about this nightmarish scenario since the late 1990s.

In October, Google announced a major breakthrough, claiming its quantum computer can solve a problem in 200 seconds, which would take even the fastest classical computer 10,000 years. That means their computer had achieved quantum supremacy", claimed the companys scientists. IBM, its chief rival in the field, responded that the claims should be taken with a large dose of skepticism". Clearly, Googles news suggests a quantum future is not a question of if, but when.

India lags behind

As the US and China lead the global race in quantum technology, and other developed nations follow by investing significant intellectual and fiscal resources (see Future Danger), India lags far behind. Indian government is late, but efforts have begun in the last two years," said Debajyoti Bera, a professor at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Delhi, who researches quantum computing.

Mints interviews with academic researchers, private sector executives and government officials paint a bleak picture of Indias ability to be a competent participant. For one, the ecosystem is ill-equipped: just a few hundred researchers living in the country work in this domain, that too in discrete silos.

There are legacy reasons: Indias weakness in building hardware and manufacturing technology impedes efforts to implement theoretical ideas into real products. Whatever little is moving is primarily through the government: private sector participationand investmentremains lacklustre. And, of course, theres a funding crunch.

All this has left Indias top security officials concerned. Lieutenant General (retd) Rajesh Pant, national cybersecurity coordinator, who reports to the Prime Ministers Office, identified many gaps in the Indian quantum ecosystem. There is an absence of a quantum road map. There is no visibility in the quantum efforts and successes, and there is a lack of required skill power," Pant said at an event in December, while highlighting the advances China has made in the field. As the national cybersecurity coordinator, this is a cause of concern for me."

The task at hand

In a traditional computerfor instance, your phone and laptopevery piece of information, be it text or video, is ultimately a larger string of bits": each bit can be either zero or one. No other value is possible. In a quantum computer, bits" are replaced by qubits" where each unit can exist in both states, zero and one, at the same time. That makes the processing superfast: qubits can encode and process more information than bits.

Whats most vulnerable is information generated today that has long-term value: diplomatic and military secrets or sensitive financial and healthcare data. The information circulating on the internet that is protected with classical encryption can be harvested by an adversary. Whenever the decryption technology becomes available with the advent of quantum computers, todays secrets will break apart," explains Vadim Makarov, the chief scientist running Russias quantum hacking lab.

From a national security perspective, there are two threads in global efforts. One is to build a quantum computer: whoever gets there first will have the capability to decrypt secrets of the rest. Two, every country is trying to make ones own communications hack-proof and secure.

The Indian game plan

There are individual programmes operating across government departments in India. The ministry of electronics and information technology is interested in computing aspects; DRDO in encryption products and Isro in satellite communication," said a senior official at the department of science and technology (DST) who is directly involved in formulating Indias quantum policy initiatives, on condition of anonymity. DRDO is Defence Research and Development organisation, and Isro is Indian Space Research Organisation. DST, which works under the aegis of the central ministry of science and technology, mandate revolves around making advances in scientific research.

To that end, in 2019, DST launched Quantum Information Science and Technology (QuEST), a programme wherein the government will invest 80 crore in the next three years to fund research directed to build quantum computers, channels for quantum communication and cryptography, among other things. Some 51 projects were selected for funding under QuEST. A quarter of the money has been released, said the DST official.

K. VijayRaghavan, principal scientific adviser, declined to be interviewed for this story. However, in a recent interview to The Print, he said: It[QuEST] will ensure that the nation reaches, within a span of 10 years, the goal of achieving the technical capacity to build quantum computers and communications systems comparable with the best in the world, and hence earn a leadership role."

Not everyone agrees. While QuEST is a good initiative and has helped build some momentum in academia, it is too small to make any meaningful difference to the country," said Sunil Gupta, co-founder and chief executive of QNu Labs, a Bengaluru-based startup building quantum-safe encryption products. India needs to show their confidence and trust in startups." He added that the country needs to up the ante by committing at least $1 billion in this field for the next three years if India wants to make any impact on the global level".

More recently, DRDO announced a new initiative: of the five DRDO Young Scientists Laboratories that were launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January with the aim to research and develop futuristic defence technologies. One lab set up at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay is dedicated to quantum technology.

The DST official said that the government is planning to launch a national mission on quantum technology. It will be a multi-departmental initiative to enable different agencies to work together and focus on the adoption of research into technology," the official said, adding that the mission will have clearly defined deliverables for the next 5 to 10 years." While the details are still in the works, the official said equipping India for building quantum-secure systems is on the cards.

The flaws in the plan

Why is India lagging behind? First, India doesnt have enough people working on quantum technology: the estimates differ, but they fall in the range of 100-200 researchers. That is not enough to compete with IBM," said Anirban Pathak, a professor at Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, and a recipient of DSTs QuEST funding.

Contrast that with China. One of my former students is now a faculty member in a Chinese university. She joined a group that started just two years ago and they are already 50 faculty members in the staff," added Pathak. In India, at no place, you will find more than three faculty members working in quantum."

IIIT Delhis Bera noted: A lot of Indians in quantum are working abroad. Many are working in IBM to build a quantum computer. India needs to figure out a way to get those people back here."

Secondly, theres the lack of a coordinated effort. There are many isolated communities in India working on various aspects: quantum hardware, quantum key distribution, information theory and other fields," said Bera. But there is not much communication across various groups. We cross each other mostly at conferences."

Jaypees Pathak added: In Delhi, there are eight researchers working in six different institutes. Quantum requires many kinds of expertise, and that is needed under one roof. We need an equivalent of Isro (for space) and Barc (for atomic research) for quantum."

Third is Indias legacy problem: strong on theory, but weak in hardware. That has a direct impact on the countrys ability to advance in building quantum technology. The lack of research is not the impediment to prepare for a quantum future, say experts. Implementation is the challenge, the real bottleneck. The DST official quoted earlier acknowledged that some Indian researchers he works with are frustrated.

They need infrastructure to implement their research. For that, we need to procure equipment, instal it and then set it up. That requires money and time," said the official. Indian government has recognized the gap and is working towards it."

Bera said that India should start building a quantum computer. But the problem is that the country doesnt even have good fabrication labs. If we want to design chips, Indians have to outsource," he said. Hardware has never been Indias strong point." QNu Labs is trying to fill that gap. The technology it is developing is based on research done over a decade ago: the effort is to build hardware and make it usable.

Finally, Indias private sector and investors have not stepped up in the game. If India wants something bigger, Indian tech giants like Wipro and Infosys need to step in. They have many engineers on the bench who can be involved. Academia alone or DST-funded projects cant compete with IBM," said Pathak.

The DST official agreed. R&D is good for building prototypes. But industry partnership is crucial for implementing it in the real world," he said. One aim of the national quantum mission that is under the works would be to spin-off startup companies and feed innovation into the ecosystem. We plan to bring venture capitalists (VCs) under one umbrella."

In conclusion

Pant, the national cybersecurity chief, minced no words at the event in December 2019 on quantum technology.

In 1993, there was an earthquake in Latur and we created the National Disaster Management Authority which now has a presence across the country." He added: Are we waiting for a cybersecurity earthquake to strike before we get our act together?"

Samarth Bansal is a freelance journalist based in Delhi. He writes about technology, politics and policy

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Why India is falling behind in the Y2Q race - Livemint

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‘How can we compete with Google?’: the battle to train quantum coders – The Guardian

Posted: at 9:46 am

There is a laboratory deep within University College London (UCL) that looks like a cross between a rebel base in Star Wars and a scene imagined by Jules Verne. Hidden within the miles of cables, blinking electronic equipment and screens is a gold-coloured contraption known as a dilution refrigerator. Its job is to chill the highly sensitive equipment needed to build a quantum computer to close to absolute zero, the coldest temperature in the known universe.

Standing around the refrigerator are students from Germany, Spain and China, who are studying to become members of an elite profession that has never existed before: quantum engineering. These scientists take the developments in quantum mechanics over the past century and turn them into revolutionary real-world applications in, for example, artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, cryptography and medicine.

The problem is that there is now what analysts call a quantum bottleneck. Owing to the fast growth of the industry, not enough quantum engineers are being trained in the UK or globally to meet expected demand. This skills shortage has been identified as a crucial challenge and will, if unaddressed, threaten Britains position as one of the worlds top centres for quantum technologies.

The lack of access to a pipeline of talent will pose an existential threat to our company, and others like it, says James Palles-Dimmock, commercial director of London- and Oxford-based startup Quantum Motion. You are not going to make a quantum computer with 1,000 average people you need 10 to 100 incredibly good people, and thatll be the case for everybody worldwide, so access to the best talent is going to define which companies succeed and which fail.

This doesnt just matter to niche companies; it affects everyone. If the UK is to remain at the leading edge of the world economy then it has to compete with the leading technological and scientific developments, warns Professor Paul Warburton, director of the CDT in Delivering Quantum Technologies. This is the only way we can maintain our standard of living.

This quantum bottleneck is only going to grow more acute. Data is scarce, but according to research by the Quantum Computing Report and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on one day in June 2016 there were just 35 vacancies worldwide for commercial quantum companies advertised. By December, that figure had leapt to 283.

In the UK, Quantum Motion estimates that the industry will need another 150200 quantum engineers over the next 18 months. In contrast, Bristol Universitys centre for doctoral training produces about 10 qualified engineers each year.

In the recent past, quantum engineers would have studied for their PhDs in small groups inside much larger physics departments. Now there are interdisciplinary centres for doctoral training at UCL and Bristol University, where graduates in such subjects as maths, engineering and computer science, as well as physics, work together. As many of the students come with limited experience of quantum technologies, the first year of their four-year course is a compulsory introduction to the subject.

Rather than work with three or four people inside a large physics department its really great to be working with lots of people all on quantum, whether they are computer scientists or engineers. They have a high level of knowledge of the same problems, but a different way of thinking about them because of their different backgrounds, says Bristol student Naomi Solomons.

While Solomons is fortunate to study on an interdisciplinary course, these are few and far between in the UK. We are still overwhelmingly recruiting physicists, says Paul Warburton. We really need to massively increase the number of PhD students from outside the physics domain to really transform this sector.

The second problem, according to Warburton, is competition with the US. Anyone who graduates with a PhD in quantum technologies in this country is well sought after in the USA. The risk of lucrative US companies poaching UK talent is considerable. How can we compete with Google or D-Wave if it does get into an arms race? says Palles-Dimmock. They can chuck $300,000-$400,000 at people to make sure they have the engineers they want.

There are parallels with the fast growth of AI. In 2015, Ubers move to gut Carnegie Mellon Universitys world-leading robotics lab of nearly all its staff (about 50 in total) to help it build autonomous cars showed what can happen when a shortage of engineers causes a bottleneck.

Worryingly, Doug Finke, managing editor at Quantum Computing Report, has spotted a similar pattern emerging in the quantum industry today. The large expansion of quantum computing in the commercial space has encouraged a number of academics to leave academia and join a company, and this may create some shortages of professors to teach the next generation of students, he says.

More needs to be done to significantly increase the flow of engineers. One way is through diversity: Bristol has just held its first women in quantum event with a view to increasing its number of female students above the current 20%.

Another option is to create different levels of quantum engineers. A masters degree or a four-year dedicated undergraduate degree could be the way to mass-produce engineers because industry players often dont need a PhD-trained individual, says Turner. But I think you would be training more a kind of foot soldier than an industry leader.

One potential roadblock could be growing threats to the free movement of ideas and people. Nations seem to be starting to get a bit protective about what theyre doing, says Prof John Morton, founding director of Quantum Motion. [They] are often using concocted reasons of national security to justify retaining a commercial advantage for their own companies.

Warburton says he has especially seen this in the US. This reinforces the need for the UK to train its own quantum engineers. We cant rely on getting our technology from other nations. We need to have our own quantum technology capability.

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Quantum Computing and Israel’s Growing Tech Role | Sam Bocetta – The Times of Israel

Posted: at 9:46 am

Its time to adjust to a world that is changing from the digital landscape that we have grown accustomed to. Traditional computing is evolving as quantum computing takes center stage.

Traditional computing uses the binary system, a digital language made up of strings of 1s and 0s. Quantum computing is a nonbinary system that uses the qubit which has the ability to exist as both 1 and 0 simultaneously, giving it a near-infinite number of positions and combinations. This computational ability far exceeds any other similar technology on the market today.

This new technology threatens to outpace our efforts in cyber defense and poses an interesting challenge to VPN companies, web hosts, and other similar industries that rely on traditional methods of standard encryption.

While leading tech giants all over the globe continue to implement funding that pours hundreds of billions of dollars into their R&D programs for quantum computing, Israel is quick to recognize the importance of the emerging industry. The Startup Nations engineers can be found toiling away in the fight to be at the frontier of the worlds next big technological innovations.

Quantum computing provides unmatched efficiency at analyzing data. To understand the scope of it, consider the aforementioned classical computing style that encodes information in binary. Picture a string of 1s and 0s about 30 digits long. This string alone has almost one billion different combinations. A classical computer can only analyze each possibility one at a time. However, a quantum computer, thanks to a phenomenon known as superposition, can exist in each one of those billion states simultaneously. To match this unparalleled computing power, our classical computer would need 1 billion processors.

Consider how much time we spend using applications on the internet. Our data is constantly being stored, usually in large data centers far from us thanks to the ability of cloud computing, which allows information to be stored at data centers and analyzed at a great distance from the user.

Tech ventures, such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS, compete for the newest developments in this technology knowing the positive effects it has on the web users experience, such as access to the fastest response times, speedy data transfer, and the most powerful processing capabilities for AI.

Quantum computing has future applications in almost every facet of civilian life imaginable, including pharmaceuticals, energy, space, and more. Quantum computers could offer scientists the ability to work up close with virtual models unlike any theyve had before, with the ability to analyze anything from complex chemical reactions to quantum systems. AI, the technology claiming to rival electricity in importance and implementation, is the ideal candidate for quantum computing due to it often requiring complex software too challenging for current systems.

Really, the world is quantum computings oyster.

The next Silicon Valley happens to be on the other side of the world from California. Israel has gained the attention of major players in the tech sector, including giants such as Intel, Amazon, Google, and Nvidia. The Startup Nation got its nickname due to a large number of startups compared to the population, with approximately 1 startup for every 1,400 residents. In a list of the top 50 global cities for the growing tech industry, Tel Aviv, Israel comes in at #15. Israel is wrapping up the year of 2019 with an astonishing 102% jump in the number of tech mergers and acquisitions as compared to the previous year, with no signs of slowing down.

Habana Labs and Annapurna Labs, both created by entrepreneur Avigdor Willenz, were recently acquired by Intel and Amazon respectively to further their development in the realm of quantum computing and more powerful processors. Google, Nvidia, Marvell, Huawei, Broadcom, and Cisco have also invested billions of capital into Israeli prospects.

One of Googles R&D centers located in Tel Aviv is actively heading the research on quantum computing. Just this year Google announced a major breakthrough that made other tech giants pick up the pace. They hinted at a computer chip that, with the power of quantum computing, was able to manage and analyze in one second the amount of data that would take a full day for any supercomputer.

While Israel is reaping the benefits of its current exposure thanks to big tech firms, an anonymous source is skeptical about the long-term success of Israels foray into the tech world without the increased education and government support to keep up with the demand. Similar to other parts of the world, Israel has a shortage of the necessary engineers to drive development.

Recognizing the need to act fast, in 2017 Professor Uri Sivan of the Technicon Israel Institute of Technology led a committee dedicated to documenting the strengths and weaknesses of the current state of Israels investment in quantum technology research and development. What the committee found was a lag in educational efforts and a need for more funding to keep pace with the fast growth of the industry.

In response to this need for funding, in 2018 Israels Defense Ministry and the Israel Science Foundation announced a multi-year fund that would dedicate in total $100 million to the research of quantum technologies in hopes that this secures Israels global position as a top contributor to new technologies.

Classic cryptography relies on the symbiotic relationship between a public-key, a private key, and a classical computers inability to reverse-engineer the private key to decrypt sensitive data. While the algorithms used thus far have proved too complex for classical computing, they are no match for the quantum computer.

Organizations are recognizing this potential crisis and jumping to find a solution. The National Institute for the Standards of Technology requested potential postquantum algorithms in 2016. IBM recently announced its own system for handling quantum encryption methods, known as CRYSTALS.

Current encryption methods are the walls in place that guard our personal information, from bank records and personal documents stored online to any data sent via the web, such as emails.

Just about any user with access to the web on a regular basis can benefit from the security that a VPN offers. A VPN not only protects the identity of your IP address but also secures sensitive data that we are wont to throw into the world wide web. To understand how this works, consider the concept of a tunnel. Your data is shifted through this VPN virtual tunnel that acts as a barrier to unwanted attacks and hackers. Now, this tunnel exists using standard encryption to hide your data. Quantum computing abilities, as they become more accessible and widespread, is going to essentially destroy any effectiveness provided by industries that rely on standard encryption.

Outside of the usual surfing and data-exposing that we do on the web, lots of us are also taking advantage of opportunities to create our own websites. However, even the best web hosts leave us high and dry with the new age of quantum computing abilities and the influx of spyware and malware. WordPress, one of the more popular web hosts, can easily fall vulnerable to SQL injections, cross-site scripting attacks, and cookie hijacking. The encryptions that can be used to prevent such attacks are, you guessed it, hopeless in the face of quantum technologies.

The current state of modern technology is unsurprisingly complex and requires cybersecurity professionals with strong problem-solving skills and creativity to abate the potential threats well be facing within the next decade. In order to stay ahead of the game and guarantee an effective solution for web-users, top VPN companies and web-hosts need to invest in the research necessary to find alternatives for standard encryption. ExpressVPN has taken it a step further with a kill switch if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly and also offers VPN tunneling.

The ability for constant advancements in any field related to science and technology is what makes our world interesting. Decades ago, the abilities afforded by quantum computing would have sounded like an idea only contingent within an Isaac Asimov novel.

The reality of it is that quantum computing has arrived and science waits for no one. Professionals across digital industries need to shift their paradigms in order to account for this young technology that promises to remap the world as we know it.

Israel is full to the brim with potential and now is the time to invest resources and encourage education to bridge the gap and continue to be a major player in the global economy of quantum computing.

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Quantum Computing and Israel's Growing Tech Role | Sam Bocetta - The Times of Israel

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Quantum Computing Market – Growing Demand Analysis and Trends 2019 to 2030 – Media Releases – CSO Australia

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The quantum computing market is estimated to hold a share of US$ 3.98 billion in 2019. The market is anticipated to further grow at a CAGR of 25.30% from 2019 to 2030.

Market Industry Report has published a deep-dive assessment studies of new markets in the Quantum Computing Market - Global Analysis & Forecast 2019-2030 Intensive market research showcase promising growth trajectory of the market. The quantum computing market is estimated to hold a share of US$ 3.98 billion in 2019. The market is anticipated to further grow at a CAGR of 25.30% from 2019 to 2030.

Quantum Computing Market Prominent Players:

The prominent players in the global quantum computing market include IBM, Intel Corporation, Google, Microsoft Corporation, D-Wave Systems Inc., IonQ, Inc., 1QB Information Technologies Inc., Xanadu, ID Quantique, and Rigetti & Co, Inc., among others.

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The global quantum computing market is segmented by component, deployment mode, application, and end-use industry.

Quantum Computing Market By Component

Based on component, the market can be segmented into hardware, software, and services. The software segment is estimated to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period, 2019-2030 owing to simplification of the overall computing processes and ease of upgrading and maintenance tasks.

Quantum Computing Market By Deployment Mode

Based on deployment mode, the market can be segmented into on-premise and cloud. The cloud segment is estimated to grow at the highest CAGR, owing to factors such as ease of accessing data, computation of data irrespective of the location, and cost-effectiveness when compared with on-premise deployments.

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Quantum Computing Market By Application

Based on application, the market can be segmented into optimization, simulation, and sampling. The simulation segment is expected to dominate the application segment, as computing is being used extensively for research & discovery of materials owing to advanced features available with fast computing.

Quantum Computing Market By End-Use Industry

Based on end-use industry, the market can be segmented into Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI), healthcare & pharmaceuticals, defense, automotive, chemical, utilities, and others. The automotive segment is dominating in 2019 owing to factors such as need for optimization in the automotive industry, machine learning, and simulation applications in problem-solving such as developments in batteries used for electric vehicles.

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Quantum Computing Market - Growing Demand Analysis and Trends 2019 to 2030 - Media Releases - CSO Australia

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U of T’s Peter Wittek, who will be remembered at Feb. 3 event, on why the future is quantum – News@UofT

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In September of 2019, Peter Wittek, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, went missing during a mountaineering expedition in the Himalayas after reportedly being caught in an avalanche. A search and rescue mission was launched but the conditions were very difficult and Wittek was not found.

Peters loss is keenly felt, said Professor Ken Corts, acting dean of the Rotman School of Management. He was the Founding Academic Director of the CDL Quantum Stream, a valued instructor in the MMA program, data scientist in residence with the TD Management Data and Analytics Lab, an exceptional contributor to Rotman and U of T and a wonderful colleague.

A ceremony to remember Wittek will take place on Feb. 3 from 3 to 4:30 pm in Desautels Hall at the Rotman School of Management.

Quantum computing and quantum machine learning an emerging field that counted Wittek as one of its few experts was the topic of his final interview inRotman Management Magazine. It is reprinted below:

You oversee the Creative Destruction Labs Quantum stream, which seeks entrepreneurs pursuing commercial opportunities at the intersection of quantum computing and machine learning. What do those opportunities look like?

Weve been running this stream for three years now, and we were definitely the first to do this in an organized way. However, the focus has shifted slightly. We are now interested in looking at any application of quantum computing.

These are still very early days for quantum computing. To give you a sense of where we are at, some people say its like the state of digital computing in the 1950s, but Id say its more like the 1930s. We dont even agree yet on what the architecture should look likeand, as a result, we are very limited with respect to the kind of applications we can build.

As a result, focusing on quantum is still quite risky. Nevertheless, so far we have had 45 companies complete our program. Not all of them survived, but a good dozen of them have raised funding. If you look at the general survival rate for AI start-ups, our record is roughly the same and given how new this technology is, that is pretty amazing.

What are the successful start-ups doing? Can you give an example of the type of problems theyre looking to solve?

At the moment I would say the main application areas are logistics and supply chain. Another promising area is life sciences, where all sorts of things can be optimized with this technology. For instance, one of our companies,Protein-Qure, is folding proteins with quantum computers.

Finance is another attractive area for these applications. In the last cohort we had a company that figured out a small niche problem where they had both the data and the expertise to provide something new and innovative; they are in the process of raising money right now. The other area where quantum makes a lot of sense is in material discovery. The reason we ever even thought of building these computers was to understand quantum materials, back in the 1980s. Today, one of our companies is figuring out how to discover new materials using quantum processing units instead of traditional supercomputers.

We have a company calledAgnostic, which is doing encryption and obfuscation for quantum computers. Right nowIBM,Rigetti ComputingandD-Wave Systemsare building quantum computers for individual users. They have access to everything that you do on the computer and can see all the data that youre sending. But if youre building a commercial application, obviously you will want tohide that. Agnostic addresses this problem by obfuscating the code you are running. One application weve seen in the life sciences is a company calledEigenMed, which addresses primary care. They provide novel machine learning algorithms for primary care by using quantum-enhanced sampling algorithms.

We also seed companies that dont end up using quantum computing. They might try out a bunch of things and discover that it doesnt work for the application they have in mind, and they end up being 100 per cent classical.StratumAIis an example of this. It uses machine learning to map out the distribution of ore bodies under the ground. The mining industry is completely underserved by technology, and this company figured out thatto beat the state-of-the-art by a significant margin, it didnt even need quantum. They just used classical machine learning and they already have million dollar contracts.

Which industries will be most affected by this technology?

Life sciences will be huge because, as indicated, it often has complex networks and probability distributions, and these are very difficult to analyze with classical computers. The way quantum computers work, this seems to be a very good fit, so that is where I expect the first killer app to come from. One company,Entropica Labs, is looking at various interactions of several genomes to identify how the combined effects cause certain types of disease. This is exactly the sort of problem that is a great fit for a quantum computer.

You touched on quantum applications in primary care. If I walked into a doctors office, how would that affect me?

Its trickybecause, like mining, primary care is vastly underserved by technology. So, if you were to use any machine learning, you would only do better. But EigenMed was actually founded by an MD. He realized that there are certain machine learning methods that we dont use simply because their computational requirements are too high but that they happen to be a very good fit for primary care, because the questions you can ask the computer are similar to what a GP would ask.

For instance, if a patient walks in with a bunch of symptoms, you can ask, What is the most likely disease? and What are the most likely other symptoms that I should verify to make sure it is what I suspect? These are the kinds of probabilistic questions that are hard to ask on current neural network architectures, but they are exactly the kind of questions that probabilistic graphical models handle well.

Are physicians and other health-care providers open to embracing this technology, or do they feel threatened by it?

First of all, health care is a heavily regulated market, so you need approval for everything. Thats not always easy to getand, as a result, it can be very difficult to obtain data. This is the same problem that any machine learning company faces. Fine, they have this excellent piece of technology and theyve mastered it,but if you dont have any good data, you dont have a company. I see that as the biggest obstacle to machine learning-based progress in health care and life sciences.

You have said that QML has the potential to bring about the next wave of technology shock. Any predictions as to what that might look like?

I think its going to be similar to what happened with deep learning. The academic breakthrough happened about nine years ago, but it took a long time to get into the public discussion. This is currently happening with AI which, at its core, is actually just very simple pattern recognition. Its almost embarrassing how simplistic AI is and yet it is already changing entire industries.

Quantum is next not just quantum machine learning but quantum computing in general. Breakthroughs are happening every day, both on the hardware side and in the kind of algorithms you can build with quantum computers. But its going to take another 10 years until it gets into public discussions and starts to disrupt industries. The companies we are seeding today are going to be the ones that eventually disrupt industries.

Alibaba is one of the companies at the forefront of embracing quantum, having already committed $15 billion to it. What is Alibaba after?

First of all, I want to say a huge thank you toAlibaba becausethe moment it made that commitment, everyone woke up and said, Hey, look: the Chinese are getting into quantum computing! Almost immediately, the U.S. government allocated $1.3 billion to invest in and develop quantum computers, and a new initiative is also coming together in Canada.

The worlds oldest commercial quantum computing company is actually from Canada:D-Wave Systemsstarted in 1999 in British Columbia. Over its 20-year history, it managed to raise over $200 million. Then Alibaba came along and announced it was committing $15 billion to quantumand this completely changed the mindset. People suddenly recognized that theres a lot of potential in this area.

What does Alibaba want from quantum? You could ask the same question ofGoogle, which is also building a quantum computer. For them, its because they want to make their search and advertisement placement even better than it already is. Eventually, this will be integrated into their core business. I think Alibaba is looking to do something similar. As indicated, one of the main application areas for quantum is logistics and supply chain. Alibaba has a lot more traffic thanAmazon. Its orders are smaller, but the volume of goods going through its warehouses is actually much larger. Any kind of improved optimization it can achieve will translate into millions of dollars in savings. My bet is that Alibabas use of quantum will be applied to something that is critical to its core operation.

The mission of CDLs Quantum stream is that, by 2022, it will have produced more revenue-generating quantum software companies than the rest of the world combined. What is the biggest challenge you face in making that a reality?

People are really waking up to all of this. There is already a venture capital firm that focuses exclusively on quantum technologies. So, the competition is steep, but we are definitely leading in terms of the number of companies created. In Canada, the investment community is a bit slow to put money into these ventures. But every year we are recruiting better and better people and the cohorts are more and more focused and, as a result, I think we are going to see more and more success stories.

It seems like everyone is interested in quantum andthey are thinking about investing in it, but they are all waiting for somebody else to make the first move. Im waiting for that barrier to break and, in the meantime, we are making progress.Xanadujust raised $32 million in Series A financing, which indicates that it has shown progress in building its business model and demonstrated the potential to grow and generate revenue. ProteinQure raised a seed of around $4 million dollars. And another company,BlackBrane, raised $2 million. So, already, there are some very decent financing rounds happening around quantum. It will take lots of hard work, but I believe we will reach our goal.

Peter Wittekwas an Assistant Professor at the Rotman School of Management and Founding Academic Director of the Creative Destruction Labs Quantum stream. The author ofQuantum Machine Learning: What Quantum Computing Means to Data Mining(Academic Press, 2016),he was also a Faculty Affiliate at the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

This article appeared in theWinter 2020 issueof Rotman ManagementMagazine.Published by the University of Torontos Rotman School of Management,Rotman Managementexplores themes of interest to leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.


U of T's Peter Wittek, who will be remembered at Feb. 3 event, on why the future is quantum - News@UofT

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2020s — the Decade of AI and Quantum – Inside Higher Ed

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Too often, we look ahead assuming that the technologies and structures of today will be in place for years to come. Yet a look back confirms that change has moved at a dramatic pace in higher education.

Reviewing the incredible progress each decade brings makes me wonder, if I knew at the beginning of the decade what was coming, how might I have better prepared?

Make no mistake, we have crossed the threshold into the fourth industrial revolution that will most markedly advance this decade through maturing artificial intelligence, ultimately driven by quantum computing. The changes will come at an ever-increasing rate as the technologies and societal demands accelerate. Digital computers advanced over the past half century at approximately the rate described by Moores Law, with processing power doubling every two years. Now we are entering the era of Nevens Law, which predicts the speed of progress of quantum computing at a doubly exponential rate. This means change at a dizzyingly rapid rate that will leave many of us unable to comprehend the why and barely able to digest the daily advances that will describe reality. New platforms, products and processes will proliferate in this new decade.

That includes higher education. The centuries-old model of the faculty member at a podium addressing a class of students who are inconsistently and inaccurately taking notes on paper or laptop will seem so quaint, inefficient and impractical that it will be laughable. Observers in 2030 will wonder how any significant learning even took place in that environment.

Semesters and seat time will not survive the coming decade. Based in 19th- and 20th-century societal needs, these are long overdue to pass away. The logical and efficient structure of outcomes-based adaptive learning will quickly overtake the older methods, doing away with redundancy for the advanced students and providing developmental learning for those in need. Each student will be at the center of their learning experience, with AI algorithms fed by rich data about each student mapping progress and adjusting the pathway for each learner. This will lead to personalized learning where the courses and curriculum will be custom-made to meet the needs of the individual learner. Yet, it also will also serve to enhance the social experience for learners meeting face-to-face. In a report from Brookings on the topic, researchers stated that technology can help education leapfrog in a number of ways. It can provide individualized learning by tracking progress and personalizing activities to serve heterogeneous classrooms.

Early implementations of adaptive learning in the college setting have shown that this AI-driven process can result in greater equity success for the students. In addition, the faculty members see that their role has become even more important as they directly interact with the individual students to enable and facilitate their learning.

Increasingly we are gathering data about our students as they enter and progress through learning at our institutions. That big data is the "food" upon which artificial intelligence thrives. Sorting through volumes and varieties of data that in prior decades we could not efficiently process, AI can now uncover cause and effect pairs and webs. It can lead us to enhancements and solutions that previously were beyond our reach. As the pool of data grows and becomes more and more diverse -- not just numbers, but also videos and anecdotes -- the role of quantum computing comes into play.

While it is unlikely we will see quantum computers physically on the desks of university faculty and staff in the coming decade, we certainly will see cloud use of quantum computers to solve increasingly complex problems and opportunities. Quantum computers will interact with digital computers to apply deep learning at an as yet unseen scale. We will be able to pose challenges such as "what learning will researchers need to best prepare for the next generation of genetic advancement?" Faster than a blink of an eye, the quantum computers will respond.

It turns out that major developments are occurring every day in the advancement of quantum computing. Johns Hopkins University researchers recently discovered a superconducting material that may more effectively host qubits in the future. And Oxford University researchers just uncovered ways in which strontium ions can be much more efficiently entangled for scaling quantum computers. Advancements such as these will pave the path to ever more powerful computers that will enable ever more effective adaptive, individualized and personalized learning.

We know that change is coming. We know the direction of that change. We know some of the actual tools that will be instrumental in that change. Armed with that knowledge, what can we do today to prepare for the decade of the 2020s? Rather than merely reacting to changes after the fact, can we take steps to anticipate and prepare for that change? Can our institutions be better configured to adapt to the changes that are on the horizon? And who will lead that preparation at your institution?

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2020s -- the Decade of AI and Quantum - Inside Higher Ed

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