2021 will be the first test for hardware players’ newly minted roadmaps. Expectations on when new algorithms and software will be able to exploit these devices to offer genuine quantum advantage differ widely. The long term importance of the Quantum Internet as the end-destination for the sector will continue to grow. The short term importance of early revenue opportunities across the quantum value chain will become increasingly clear.
China’s quantum supremacy demonstration may grab headlines, but not yet leadership in the quantum computing race. Leading hardware groups have firmed-up their development roadmaps for the marathon ahead and error correction has become a key part of the story. The challenge of scaling-up remains pre-eminent.
Despite strong progress, demonstrating actual quantum advantage with early devices is still an elusive challenge. Expert opinion differs markedly on where and when initial value will come. Future large scale machines look great, but the overheads look daunting. With current error correction methods even a one million physical qubit machine may only be a modest size for a quantum computer.
IBM continues to dominate the quantum cloud. However access to new more powerful processors will increase competition in the early adopter market. Ideas for user-engagement and education continue to explode with innovation. In the long term, supporting developers is a challenge the conventional software industry understands, but don’t forget that underneath the hood the quantum stack is different. There is room for a radical shake-up by whoever gets this right.
Business must act now to secure itself against the security threat posed by future quantum computers. Fortunately new quantum-resistant maths-based crypto is on track to protect businesses that act promptly. To understand the growing momentum behind additional physics-based quantum security, it’s necessary to appreciate its unique enduring security promise and the long term direction in which this sector is heading. It’s increasingly clear that one day the world will have an entanglement based Quantum Internet.
In the wider quantum technology sector common underlying technologies are being developed for an increasingly wide variety of applications. New products are already at market and more are set to follow. Innovative leaders are setting an example of how involvement here is a force multiplier for their wider ambitions. The long term potential is huge
Nations and regions around the world are continuing the rapid build-out of publicly funded quantum technology initiatives. Everyone wants to build a future quantum ecosystem in their own back yard. In the commercial space, the bounds of international collaboration are beginning to emerge. Investors need to dress for all seasons.
As part of its ongoing coverage of the sector the Quantum Computing Report has published a summary of its thoughts and observations on the outlook for 2021. Those looking for a succinct and complementary perspective can find it here.
Fact Based Insight wishes all of those working in the Quantum Technology sector a successful 2021.
Events to watch in 2021
Events early in the year are already confirmed as online only. Later in the year organisers are typically looking at hybrid online/in-person events subject to confirmation.
CES, 11-14 Jan, online, US – In 2018, Intel announced Tangle Lake; in 2019, IBM announced the IBM Q System One; this year Microsoft are giving a keynote address.
QIP, 1-5 Feb, online, Germany – The premier academic event for Quantum Information Processing. This year Google, IBM and Baidu are prominent sponsors.
APS March Meeting, 15-19 Mar, online, US. The American Physical Society events hosts cutting edge scientific presentations on a full spectrum of quantum topics. The growing US quantum programme is set to further elevate interest.
Quantum.Tech 12-14 Apr, London, UK – Commercial applications of quantum computing, communications and sensing. Set to build on last year’s great business-accessible event.
IOP 19-21 Apr, UK – Translating Emerging Sensing and Imaging Quantum Technologies for us in Healthcare. An interesting example of an application focussed event for quantum sensing opportunities.
BQIT, 26-28 Apr, online, Bristol, UK – Future looking updates from across quantum technologies set in an emerging quantum tech cluster.
IQT New York, 17-20 May, New York, US – A quantum technology business series noted for strong panels on all things quantum. Includes perspectives across global national programmes.
Quantum.Tech 21-23 Jun, Boston, US – Commercial applications of quantum computing, communications and sensing. The US leg of the Quantum.Tech series.
ICQT, 12-16 Jul, Moscow, Russian – Organised by the Russian Quantum Center. Set to carry that flag for continued international academic dialogue following last year’s successful Quantum 2020 event organised by the IOP and the Chinese Physical Society.
PQCrypt, 20-22 Jul, Daejeon, South Korea – The premier academic event for Post Quantum Cryptography. Will new PQC DS candidates emerge beyond structured lattice based protocols?
QCrypt, 23-27 Aug, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – The premier academic event for Quantum Cryptography. What more will we learn about what the Quantum Internet can offer?
CQTIP, Aug/Sep, Bristol, UK – Quantum computing theory in practice. An event that combines academic rigor with a strong practical focus on quantum algorithms and software.
QEC, tbc, Sydney, Australia – The leading biennial event on quantum error correction. The importance of this topic is set to grow and grow.
IQT Europe, Oct, – The European leg of IQT’s programme; still a global perspective, but from a European point of view.
UK NQT Showcase, 5 Nov, UK – Exhibits on display from across the UK quantum sector. A window onto how quantum ecosystems develop.
EQTC, 21 Nov – 3 Dec, Dublin, Ireland – Following-up last year’s excellent European Quantum Week. What will we learn about the next phase of the European QT Flagship?
Q2B, 7-9 Dec, San Jose, California, US – This conference organised by QC Ware has become an end-of-year fixture in the quantum computing industry calendar. But never mind the tech… will AWS be able to defend its Quantum Chess crown?