Removing the biggest barrier to quantum adoption: accessibility

Quantum Chip
(Image credit: Shutterstock) (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Quantum computing promises to solve some of humanity’s most pressing challenges, such as accelerated drug discovery and tackling climate change. Its potential to revolutionize various industries and business operations is undeniable: leveraging the principles of quantum mechanics offers computational power far beyond that of today's most advanced supercomputers.

However, the real-world adoption of quantum computing is still in the early stages. Quantum computers are primarily found in the research labs, and their application in the business world remains limited because of just how inaccessible quantum computing still is. The accessibility barrier arises from the high costs, technical complexity, and a steep learning curve, making it challenging for businesses to embrace quantum computing.

For quantum computing to reach its full potential, this must change. Moving beyond the lab ensures that businesses can get the most out of this technology even while it matures. It also enables them to focus on upskilling their teams and building in-house capabilities, and knowledge transfer. How can we transition quantum computing from labs to commercial environments and what are considerations for businesses looking to adopt this ground-breaking technology?

Why and how quantum computers can benefit businesses?

The essence of quantum computing lies in its ability to process information differently from classical computers. Classical computers–the ones we have today–process data using information units known as bits. Bits can only exist in one state at a time, which we represent as either 0 or 1.

In contrast, quantum computers use qubits, which can exist in multiple states simultaneously. This capability enables much faster and more complex calculations. From a business standpoint, the potential benefits of quantum computing include faster and more efficient problem-solving, advanced data analysis, sophisticated predictive analytics, and stronger encryption to protect sensitive business data. It also offers industry-specific competitive advantages.

For example, quantum computing can enable more accurate and detailed climate models, helping us better understand and address climate change and its impact on our planet.

In the pharmaceutical sector, quantum computing can minimize the time spent on complex research for new drugs, as it can identify and construct molecules within minutes, potentially leading to life-changing results.

In banking and financial services, quantum computing has the potential to dramatically accelerate complex financial calculations, enabling real-time risk assessment and portfolio optimization. It can also vastly improve security, making financial transactions and data encryption much more secure against cyber threats.

Simon Phillips

Chief Technology Officer at Oxford Quantum Circuits (OQC)

Sensitivity of quantum computers: from labs to reality

While it is evident that quantum computing will have a huge impact on the future of businesses, its inaccessibility created a big gap between great expectations and its limited real-world applications so far.

The incredible sensitivity of quantum computers is one of the biggest challenges with quantum adoption. They are susceptible to vibrations, electrical noise, magnetic interference, and demand advanced cooling systems with temperatures down to -273 celsius–colder than outer space. These precise conditions are crucial to maintaining the fragile quantum states of qubits. As a result, today quantum computers predominantly exist within the labs where these conditions are easier to meet.

Transitioning from labs to commercial environments requires an enterprise-centric system design approach. To democratize quantum computing and unlock its full potential, it must be seamlessly integrated into businesses’ existing computing, data management, and IT infrastructure. As organizations globally adopt hybrid and multi-cloud strategies, introducing quantum computers into data centers–the backbone of cloud computing infrastructure–can completely transform their real-world application.

Colocation data centers: key to unlocking quantum computing accessibility

Not just any data center will suffice, though. You need a colocation one–a specific type of data center that leases space to a client company to store their infrastructure. It also offers the option to manage and monitor the services on their behalf.

This setup allows for different computing modalities and services to be collocated, fostering the ability to form secure ecosystems. This is particularly valuable to companies with large geographical footprints while providing a multitude of other benefits, such as the need for fewer technical in-house staff, predictable expenses, lower costs, easy scalability and exceptional reliability.

Colocation data centers, with their established networks, secure connections, and robust, scalable infrastructure are optimum environments to utilize the power of quantum computing, allowing easy, user-friendly access that can enable life-changing discoveries. Scaling quantum computing goes beyond increasing the number of qubits on a chip; it involves meeting the practical demands of businesses. Deploying quantum computers into collocated data centers provides businesses and organizations worldwide with the opportunity to build their capabilities and actively engage with quantum technology.

Of course, transitioning quantum computing from an R&D lab to a commercial environment means overcoming unique challenges, inherent to quantum devices. For example, because of distinct infrastructure requirements of quantum computers, a special power setup, advanced cooling systems and a vibration insulating structure are needed to mitigate the risks of quantum errors.

It’s for data center and quantum companies like mine to make it a reality–and we are on it. Quantum computing, once seen as inaccessible, is transcending the confines of laboratories and entering the realm of commercial data centers.

As talented scientists and engineers across the globe are shattering the barriers preventing the democratization of quantum, businesses that haven’t yet should start considering how to integrate quantum computing into their data strategies, infrastructures, and business plans. Now is a crucial moment to become part of something truly revolutionary and prepare for the quantum future ahead.

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Chief Technology Officer at Oxford Quantum Circuits (OQC).