Quantum computing is a futuristic technology that is set to revolutionize computing by massively increasing the computing power of supercomputers. Applied to Big Data, this technology will speed up and simplify data analysis.
For some years now, technology giants such as Google and IBM (as well as several dedicated startups) have been looking to create quantum computers. These high-powered machines could help humanity solve a large number of problems…but the path to their creation is fraught with pitfalls. Here’s everything you need to know about quantum computing and the possibilities offered by its association with Big Data.
What is quantum computing?
Quantum computing is based on the amazing ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state simultaneously. When exploited in the field of information technology, this capability could indeed allow operations to be resolved much faster while consuming less energy than traditional computers.
Indeed, in classical computing, a “bit” can only exist in two states: 1 or 0. In quantum computing, Quantum bits” (qubits) have two states, but can store more information than 1 or 0.because they can exist in any superposition of these values.
A qubit can be viewed as an imaginary sphere. Whereas classical bits can only be at two poles of the sphere, a qubit can exist at any point on the sphere. Thus, a computer can use these bits to store a large amount of information using less power than a regular computer.
What can a quantum computer do more than a conventional computer?
Quantum computers are particularly suitable for solving certain mathematical problems. For example, they can be used to find very large prime numbers. It would therefore be possible to apply this technology to the field of cryptography to create stronger cybersecurity systems.
On the contrary, hackers could use quantum computing to bypass the encryption systems currently in use. That’s why researchers are already trying to develop technologies resistant to “quantum hacking”. .
Quantum computing could also allow researchers to model complex chemical reactions. At present, even the most powerful supercomputers cannot do this task. In July 2016, Google engineers managed to simulate a hydrogen molecule for the first time using a quantum device. Similarly, IBM then managed to model the behaviour of even more complex molecules. Researchers hope to be able to create new molecules for medicine through quantum simulations.
Quantum Computing and Big Data: A Revolutionary Potential
Quantum computers will be able to perform extremely complex calculations in just a few secondswhen it would take a conventional computer several thousand years to do the same.
In the field of Big Data, quantum computing allows companies to collect and analyze huge amounts of data very quickly thanks to quantum algorithms. The detection, analysis, integration and diagnosis of separate data sets can be carried out much more easily. All the elements of a massive database can be analyzed simultaneously to discover patterns.
In addition, by applying quantum computing to existing Machine Learning systems, it will be possible to accelerate Big Data classification and topological analysis complex data sets.
In concrete terms, let’s imagine a 300-point data set. The conventional approach is to analyze all the topological characteristics of this set. With a conventional computer, it would be necessary to use 2300 processing units, almost as many as the number of particles in the universe. With a quantum computer, it would only take 300 qubits.
When will quantum computers be available?
In March 2017, Google announced its intention to commercialize a “quantum technology” within five years. In November 2017, IBM has announced that it has succeeded in creating a 50 qubit quantum computer. However, this unstable system could only hold its quantum microstate for 90 microseconds.
However, since 2016, IBM has allowed researchers to conduct experiments on a five-qubit quantum computer via the Cloud. Since 2017, a 20-qubit system is also available on the American firm’s cloud.
Parallel to these two tech giants, several startups are dedicated to quantum computing. The Canadian startup D-Wave, based in Vancouver, claims to have created a 2000 qubit system. Many researchers, however, do not believe it is a true quantum system. For their part, Californian startup Rigetti focuses on stability rather than the number of qubits. Thus, it may well be the first company to create a truly usable quantum computer.
In general, it is believed that it will take about 4 to 5 years to make quantum computers accessible to businesses. There is no doubt that a real revolution is brewing in the computer industry.