In terms of quantum computing, Elias Khan believes that the UK led the way at the start of the first industrial revolution. Its CEO quantiniumFormed from merger of organizations Honeywell Quantum Solutions and Cambridge Quantum ComputingThe company Khan, which was founded in 2014, says the UK is one of the world’s leading countries in quantum computing.
“You’ll find people who are either British themselves or who have gone through the system here, particularly the tertiary education system in computer science and quantum information theory, who lead global efforts,” he says.
And quantum computing is a global endeavor. Nation state after nation state has a national program, Khan added. “Japan, China, France, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy — you name it, country after country got it. National Program, going back decades in some cases. This is serious. This is not science fiction.”
Most nation-state quantum programs, particularly those in the US, UK and China, were born out of concerns that certain countries would be vulnerable to other countries whose quantum systems would break strong encryption.
But the quantum debate has progressed beyond defense. Khan sees quantum computing as an industrial revolution much like when machines were used to do things that humans couldn’t do. “It fundamentally changes the nature of how we live our lives,” he says.
It promises to shift the boundaries of what can and cannot be done computationally. “Even if the only use of quantum computers is solving the nitrogen fixation problem or carbon sequestration, or curing cancer and other such problems we have with disease control and management, that in itself has profound implications.”
“It’s not just moving the needle a little bit on trading options or something. It’s not the same. Angela Merkel, when she was Chancellor of Germany, said that the existential future of the German people, the kind of lifestyle they want to enjoy, depends on Germany’s leadership in quantum computing. I mean, you can’t really get people talking about that with some blooming fintech app.”
Think small for big ideas
The problem that technologists face when trying to understand quantum computing is that people are generally very good at grasping macro concepts, but find it very difficult to understand things on much smaller scales, as Khan explains: “Einsteinian and Newtonian physics are governed by laws that Does not translate or map across.”
This is important, he says, because of the way computer scientists use Boolean logic such as “and” gates and “not” gates. “When [Alan] As Turing and others began to think about how to manipulate information, they resorted to the manipulation of what we describe as first-order logic—the “and” gate and the “not” gate and the “or” gate. All of these are based on logic and are something that we as humans understand and rely on. This is also one reason why, of all the magic that computers present, they do very little. Very little of that is accomplished [computationally]”
Even artificial intelligence (AI) represents very little progress In terms of value, Khan said: “We’ve gone much further than hitting two stones together to get a spark. Yes, we may be affected by these events, but they are not responsible They are regressive. There’s nothing you can rely on with all these expensive machines.”
A typical example is the large amount of processing power used by Amazon’s Alexa service to answer a question that people already know the answer to, such as, “Alexa, what’s the time?”.
For Khan, quantum computing is very different from how IT people think about classical computing. “All [logic] The rules that govern how we act are imaginary. First order logic is fantastic. It is a human artifact. The transistor, therefore, is what allows the binary system to turn on and off [bits]The state of zero and one is the result of that thought.”
In a quantum computer, the qubit performs a function that is equivalent to what a transistor does in a classical computer. However, Khan says: “It is embedded in a physical object. It is not imagined, which could be a photon or an electron.”
What this means, according to Khan, is that the rules that govern binary logic do not apply to mathematics, reflecting the rules of quantum mechanics. “These are different rules and we haven’t even begun to talk about quantum mechanical properties like superposition and entanglement.”
While the field of quantum computing can be fraught with jargon unfamiliar to business IT, Khan believes it’s something people willing to learn can grasp.
looking at Development of quantum computing technologyKhan said it resembles the early days of mobile phones.
“Two or three years before mobile phones – the big bricks that mostly lived in cars because of the constant need for electrical charges – someone, somewhere designed a handset. Someone, somewhere had to put up the tower. Someone, somewhere actually connected the dots. And while all this was going on, people didn’t know it was going to happen. It just happened. This does not mean that science and engineering have not advanced. This means that it was not yet in the public domain. And with quantum computing, I think we’re at that tipping point.”
Because quantum computers are now in the public domain. “These machines actually exist,” Khan added. “We can program them and we can do stuff with them.”
It raises questions about what they are being used for and how they will affect society. “If anyone tells you they know how this will affect humanity, give them a cup of tea. We just don’t know,” Khan added, answering the question of what impact quantum computing will have on society.
“Just like we didn’t know [the impact of] When the first Ford Model T, or the first airplane flew, or the first computer came along, or the telephone…we didn’t know. We understand the direction of travel and what we do know is that this is an industrial revolution, the likes of which we have never seen.”
However, for Khan, quantum computing would be revolutionary. He argues that whether the advent of computers represents an industrial revolution is debatable. “It was just a continuation of the major first industrial revolution. We must be careful not to fall into the trap of equating quantum computing with other technologies. This is not. It affects what we do and how we do it now.”
Regardless of how long it takes to fully realize the potential of quantum computing, Khan said: “I strongly believe that we, and certainly our children, are living through the first phase of an industrial revolution, not just the rise of an industrial revolution. New technology.”
Khan says that by the end of 2021, technology development moves to where people start working on the concept of a software stack. “If you think about it in classical terms, you’ve got hardware and you want to be able to manipulate the hardware efficiently. So you’ve got the beginning of the control system and the middleware, and then you’ve got everything that talks to the compiler and the systems around it. And suddenly, you get an operating system emerging.”
Khan points out TKET project, originally developed by Cambridge Quantum Computing, as one of the projects that laid the foundation for software development on quantum computers. More than a million people around the world have downloaded it from GitHub, he said.
“TKET abstracts everything. You access an instruction set that is equivalent to an API [application programming interface] Although it’s not that sophisticated because we don’t have a plethora of quantum computing machines yet, TKET is the foundation that allows everything to be built, and I’d encourage anyone interested in it to look into it.”