Quantum computing isn’t yet far enough along that it could have helped curb the spread of this coronavirus outbreak. But this emerging field of computing will almost certainly help scientists and researchers confront future crises.
“Can we compress the rate at which we discover, for example, a treatment or an approach to this?” asks Dario Gil, the director of IBM Research. “The goal is to do everything that we are doing today in terms of discovery of materials, chemistry, things like that, (in) factors of 10 times better, 100 times better,”
And that, he says, “could be game-changing.”
Quantum computing is the next big thing in computing, and it promises exponential advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning through the next decade and beyond, leading to potential breakthroughs in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, battery power, and financial services.
For a consumer with a retirement fund, “quantum computers over the next 10 to 15 years … may help you make better personal financial decisions through the calculations that your broker is doing,” says Bob Sutor, an IBM Research vice president tasked with driving the quantum computing ecosystem.
IBM, with 15 deployed quantum systems, is at the forefront of quantum computing. USA TODAY recently got to tour a quantum lab in Yorktown Heights, New York.
But Google, Amazon, Intel, Microsoft and Honeywell are among other tech stalwarts working in the field, as are several venture-backed global startups.