Quantum computing, Qubit, Computing, Quantum mechanics Demystified | SFF 2020
He will hopefully demystify quantum computing for us by focusing on the real applications of quantum computing in his own life. Great well, i’m, going to first of all. Thank the organizers for inviting me to this session. I have to say a year ago, if somebody would have said let’s be doing this on a global basis with online only presentations i’m, not sure. I would have thought that it was possible, but it’s been an amazing um effort by all um concerned, so over the course of the next 15 to 20 minutes i’m, going to try and take a step back here and think a little bit about quantum computing. Without the jargon, the issue here is that there is such a mystery about the whole word, quantum, never mind quantum computing and over the course of the last few years, we’ve been seeing an increasing number of articles and headlines, such as the ones that are on the Screen today, the fact of the matter is that i’m, not sure they mean very much. We all have an intuition that quantum computing is somehow special. It somehow changes things. What does it change and why does it change them in the last five or six months? In particular, the headlines have moved away from the specialist press. The specialist trade journals, the specialist scientific areas into the mainstream, and here on, the slide are just some of the regular newspapers and websites that have started talking about quantum computing, and why is that? Well, first of all, it’s because nation states, the united states, for example, the united kingdom, china, germany, france, taiwan.
Many many nation states have decided that the well being of their future economies, their well being of um their people, is dependent economically on progress in this technological area. In fact, the us government had a a congressional bill which was passed a year ago and it is exclusively focused on pump priming for quantum computing here in the united kingdom, where i’m speaking from i’m i’m speaking from my home just outside of london, the united kingdom Adopted a national quantum technologies program in 2013. in 2019. Last year we did a quantum readiness program. We spoke to the top 50 corporations and many of the leading governmental organizations and departments and ask them a simple question: how will quantum technologies affect your current business plan and not surprisingly, many of the people who were contacted didn’t know how to respond to that and The readiness program was a means to equip them to answer that question now. All of this is because we today have quantum computers i’m, going to avoid jargon today, i’m really going to avoid jargon, but every now and again they’re going to be some words and some phrases that i’d, like you to get used to 25 years ago, if i’d Have said, let’s, google, something or 20 years ago, if i’d have said, let’s wiki something nobody would have known what i’m talking about. Similarly, as we get into the era of quantum computing, various jargons will become more commonplace we’re. Currently, in a situation where quantum computers are largely experimental, there’s very little real world usage today, but the rate at which they’re improving is accelerating, and so today we have this jargon: nisk nisq, which describes where we are with quantum computers.
Today, they’re noisy and they’re intermediate scale, which means that they actually exist but they’re not yet perfect. However, even though they’re not yet perfect, even though we’re at this stage, there are literally dozens and dozens of organizations, large corporations and governmental organizations around the world who have anticipated that quantum computing will affect their businesses. In fact, if you’re involved in the investment business or if you’re involved in any business, for example, you yourself should be saying how will this affect my business? Are the investments i’m making really going to be affected, adversely or positively by quantum computing? When and how many of the organizations, the logos of which you’re seeing on this slide, are organizations that have asked that question and have decided that they have to invest in quantum computing, because they think that there will be a beneficial impact. Now, as with all computers, a quantum computer remembers a physical thing. It exists in physicality. Advances will depend upon improvements in the hardware and as we’ve learned over the last 50 to 60 years of classical computing advances in the software and the algorithm side, and is that confluence of influence that confluence of advance? That is the reason why there’s so much excitement at the moment. In fact, i would have to say that in the last four months, there’s not a week that passes when there isn’t another advantage, that’s been found or discovered. Another algorithm, that’s been discovered or another use case, that is being highlighted, which is on a track to becoming adopted for the real world.
Now, what i’m going to do is spend a few minutes we’re not going to get too technical on just going a little bit under the um, the hood. What is a quantum computer well it’s, a fundamentally different approach to computing. Quite often, people will try to describe quantum computers as being faster in one respect in many areas of use. They are faster, but it’s, not that they’re faster, a quantum computer has been described as computing in the way that nature computes and i think, i’d encourage you to think of it. Therefore, as a fundamentally different way of computing as different from classical computing as classical computing was from mechanical abacuses, and that is not an exaggeration in certain areas, a quantum computer will not be universally adaptable for all the tasks we do. I can’t imagine, for example, doing this call or this video on a quantum computer, but there are certain things that a classical computer simply cannot do. Now. The advent of this terminology – quantum computing, can be traced back to the end of the 1970s and the early 1980s and at about roughly the same time, richard feynman, the famous american nobel laureate, yuri manning, a russian mathematician and physicist and david deutsch who’s. A physicist here. In the united kingdom came up with ideas that coalesced and became the basis or the foundation for a revolution that has really taken the computing industry by storm in the last few years, but has been on a slow boil for the 35 to 40 years.
Before that we ever conceived of a quantum computer, we knew theoretically how to build one and why it would be useful to build, but it’s taken this long since 1918, 1979 till now to actually accomplish something that works, there’s, a whole rich history, um and a lot Of collateral that is available, if you’re very interested in knowing about quantum computing, of course, to be technically proficient like any area, one needs to be a specialist and there is a shortage of people who are specialists. But at an intuitive level we are operating in a quantum computer at an infinitesimal level. The universe, the nature of reality at that level is different from the nature of reality in the world that we inhabit the macro world, for example. Here, if i were to throw a ball up in the air, it would fall back down according to the laws of gravity. These are laws, mechanical rules that we understand about 100 years ago. When we started to discover and learn more about quantum mechanics, we suddenly discovered that the rules are different and here on this slide, i’ve just isolated three terminologies that you’ll get used to as you get more into learning about quantum computing. There’S no reason for us to get worried about the fact that we might not today understand these things. As i said before, there are fantastic resources online to learn more about them, but superposition, entanglement and interference are three qualities. Three rules that, when combined, allow us to manipulate these computers in a way that has never been possible before and why is that different? Well, one manifestation of the difference is that the rules of logic are different, something we take advantage in normal, classical computing i’m.
Sure there are many people who are listening in today, who are familiar with programming, might even be professional programmers. We all of us use these devices all the time. The laptop they’re bound, the the smartphone that i’ve got here, and the reason that they’re, ubiquitous and general and useful is that they follow rules. One of the rules, of course, that we follow in regular mathematics, not just in uh in programming, is the distributive law and one example of a quantum rule which is different. Is that the distributive law and, in fact the commutative law doesn’t exist there? This has quite profound and fundamental impacts on the programming and on what we can and cannot do. Similarly, if i were to talk a little bit about superposition or entanglement, we could spend a whole hour being freaked out by the nature of reality. This is, of course, something which has occupied our minds: humankind, the minds of humankind for many many many decades now so we know what quantum mechanics is about and now we can use it to our advantage. So what so? What what can we do? That’S going to be different, so i’m, going to walk you through a few use cases that are very real cryptography. A quantum computer allows us to generate perfectly unhackable random seeds for keys. This has never been done before. All of our keys are deterministic they’re generated by algorithms, so cryptography and security will undergo a sea change.
In fact, it’s happening right now. This is something this is an area where we don’t have to wait, and this is uh um on the screen at the moment. You’Re looking at a headline from three months ago, these are areas in which real world applications are being delivered right now, what else a quantum computer to allow us to look at material discovery in ways which was simply not possible here? We’Re talking about finding material for carbon sequestration, what about personalized medicine? What about manipulation of rna and dna? These suddenly become tractable solutions, it’s not going to happen next month or next year, but we are now on a track. There are some very optimistic people who think this will happen very shortly, and what else beyond that? Well, have you ever wondered about natural language processing? It does not exist. There’S, no such thing as meaning aware natural language, processing machines, don’t understand us. They stochastically have dictionaries that allow them to recognize the odd word, never mind sentences or phrases or conversations. This will be a reality now there are many issues and challenges that arise from this. We, in my opinion, were asleep at the wheel 25 or 30 years ago, when the internet arrived, and when the advent of new ai technologies came about and we’re paying the price. Many of us are worried about the way in which there’s an intrusion, perhaps on our independence or our liberties, i’m, not going to get involved in an ethical conversation here, but a quantum computer has an even bigger impact on humanity.
This is as big a revolution in our lives, as the industrial revolution was at the end of the 18th and the early 19th century. Are we ready for this remember what i said earlier. A quantum computer is a physical device. There are over a hundred organizations around the world that are building or have built a quantum computer nation states are involved in a strategic battle to be the leader. There are many implications of what is happening. I am a positive. I think that these are positive implications, but we do have to hit pause and ask ourselves what are the rules going to be um i’m going to stop there because i think i’m coming up to the end of my 18 minutes. But i want to leave you with a couple of points. There is no question that some of the largest incumbent organizations from alibaba to microsoft, from google to aws and ibm and honeywell, who are involved in building a quantum computer. There is no obvious leader, there’s no nation that’s, an obvious leader, there’s no company, that’s, an obvious leader, it’s, a kind of hitting of reset there’s a likelihood that some youngster who’s, maybe 15 or 16 today in sao paulo or perhaps even in manchester, is going to Come up with some algorithm that is going to change everything. This is an industrial revolution, the likes of which we have not experienced, and we all of us are living through. It now i’d encourage you to learn more about this, because the impact of quantum computing is in the cycles that we are now making decisions about.