An article written by Pradeep Chakraborty for Pradeep’s TechPoint and based on an interview with Eric Mounier, PhD. Fellow at Yole Développement – Quantum technology covers a wide range of applications addressing key industrial simulation and optimization challenges in chemicals/materials research, logistics, financial services, healthcare, life science, manufacturing and defense.
Besides, it is used in drug discovery, protein structure prediction, investment risk analysis, feedstock management, vehicle routing, network optimization, etc. However, quantum technologies are said to be at the crossroads of numerous fields and applications as well.
Quantum at crossroads?
How are quantum technologies at crossroads of numerous applications and fields? Eric Mounier, fellow analyst, Photonics, Sensing & Display, Yole Développement (Yole), said that the quantum technologies, and more specifically, quantum computers, are at the crossroads of numerous technologies, e.g., semiconductors, photonics, cryogenic, engineering, software and applications.)
But, there is no yet defined technology for a quantum computer! It means that several approaches are currently investigating, and it is hard to say which one will be the winning technology.
For the qubits, superconductivity is currently investigated by most of the players. However, this technology will be limited in terms of number of qubits. Other types, such as Si or photons qubits are being developed. Because quantum effects are very sensitive to external environment, quantum computer engineers also have to be experts in cryogenic technology.
Algorithms require special competencies
But, a computer is useless without software! Since the quantum calculations are based on a probabilistic, and not a deterministic result, it requires specific knowledge in algorithms. Quantum algorithms require special competencies and some companies are specialized in this field (e.g. Zapata) and are collaborating with the big hardware manufacturers, such as Google, Rigetti, etc.
This need into mastering a wide range of knowledge/competencies is also true in other quantum technologies. For example, quantum communication requires very high-level competencies in photonics and quantum sensors (such as trapped atoms based gravimeters) development requires multiple competencies in optics, laser, packaging, assembly.
Quantum technology is indeed a multi-disciplinary engineering field… Full article
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March 19th, 2020 at 5PM CET – 8AM PST