Innovation and Transformation
The first thought that comes to mind when someone mentions quantum computers is simply a huge computer in a lab, top security, which can only be operated by scientists in masks and equipment. Is it really something that is too complicated for everyone to understand? Rest assured, absolutely not.
Classical computers run based on 0s and 1s (if the transistor is off, it means 0, and if it is on, it means 1). By combining these numbers, computers can calculate, process, and store data. Quantum computing uses qubits, which allow for 0s, 1s, and anywhere in between known as superposition (probabilities such as 70% 1 and 30% 0). This allows for specific types of computation (such as integer factorization, encryption, mass simulation, and more) to be done much more efficiently. The largest companies, including IBM, Microsoft, and Google have developed quantum computers to be accessible to everyone through the cloud. Here’s why quantum computers are the future:
- Quantum computers can process certain problems 100 million times faster than any classical computer
- They will reduce energy consumption by 100-1000x
- They can solve a specific problem, which takes 10,000 years for a classical computer to complete, in 200 seconds
- They are fundamentally based on quantum physics (the reality of our world) instead of binary.
- Quantum Computing is included in the Industries of the Future Act 2020 by the US
- The market is expected to reach $60 billion by 2030, only $500 million as of 2019
Almost every industry interacts and incorporates computers in one way or another to optimize processes and maximize profits. In 2019, IBM announced its endeavours to commercialize its quantum machines to businesses. Although quantum computers are unlikely to completely take over classical computers, some businesses can largely benefit from using quantum computers for specific tasks.
Get ready for it! Quantum computing will dominate the list of the newest and most in-demand industries.
This gives rise to a new job – Quantum Software Developers. This new position will match classical software developers in the following ways:
- High salary due to higher level capabilities
- High demand for quantum computing qualifications
- Increased network connections and opportunities
The best part of quantum computing is that it is accessible to anyone and everyone as long as they have access to a computer and internet.
Anyone can learn to program a computer as long as they have a computer, internet, and the drive (no pun intended) to do so. Through the cloud computing frameworks from IBM, Microsoft, and other companies, it is possible to learn how to program a quantum computer just as you would learn to program a classical computer. There are several resources, both paid and free, such as IBM’s Qiskit, YouTube, Udemy, and more that allow anyone to learn quantum physics fundamentals and quantum computing languages.
Quantum software developers will also be extremely adaptable due to their minimalist work environments. Because quantum software development can be done virtually, through cloud computing and simulation, quantum software developers only require their classical computers (laptops, desktops, etc) to operate. This allows for freelance work, outlasting economic downturns like COVID-19 and more.
According to IBM, here are the skills and education required to become a quantum software developer:
- 3-5 years of software development experience in python or other languages
- Knowledge of quantum physics and mathematics
- Problem solving and critical thinking skills
- Cooperative and team-building skills
- Oral and Written Communication Skills
What About Classical Computers?
Although quantum computers allow us to expand our problem solving capabilities to some of the most complex problems, they will not take over classical computers. Classical computers we use on a daily basis can handle a majority of tasks much better than quantum computers. For example, a futuristic computer may include specialized hardware to allow for quantum computing capabilities, but the operating software, applications, and basis of the computer will be classical.
According to Sarah Kaiser and Christopher Granade: “Programming a quantum computer comes along with some restrictions, so classical computers will be preferable in cases where there’s no particular quantum advantage to be found” (Page 10). Some limitations or differences in quantum computers and quantum software include:
- Smaller amounts of input/output, but generally allow for more processing
- Almost completely different structure of programs and tasks
- Exotic hardware requires cloud computing and WiFi, but classical computers don’t need WiFi to perform computations
THE FUTURE IS HERE
Quantum physics is the basis of our reality and quantum computers will be a huge step up in our technology. Quantum computers are undoubtedly going to change our future and we must invest our time into this industry.
Quantum is where the opportunity, the accessibility, and the demand is. We can start right now to learn the skills of tomorrow today!