Although universal fault-tolerant quantum computers – with millions of physical quantum bits (or qubits) – maybe a decade or two away, quantum computing research continues apace. It has been hypothesized that quantum computers will one day revolutionize information processing across a host of military and civilian applications from pharmaceuticals discovery, to advanced batteries, to machine learning, to cryptography. A key missing element in the race toward fault-tolerant quantum systems, however, is meaningful metrics to quantify how useful or transformative large quantum computers will actually be once they exist.
In the past two years, two different groups have claimed to have achieved “quantum supremacy” – the ability to repeatably perform a computation that is unrealistic for classical systems to replicate. In addition, multiple commercial companies have published roadmaps showing that they will create universal, fault-tolerant quantum computers in the next decade. The extent to which these roadmaps, if realized, will represent significant and important new computational capabilities is not currently understood.
Beyond quantum supremacy, the next major benchmark, called quantum advantage, is on the distant horizon. Quantum advantage will exist when programmable NISQ quantum gate-based or circuit-based computers reach a degree of technical maturity that allows them to solve many, but not necessarily all, significant real-world problems that classical computers can’t solve, or problems that classical machines require an exponential amount of time to solve.
“Quantum Benchmarking is focused on the fundamental question: How will we know whether building a really big fault-tolerant quantum computer will revolutionize an industry?” Altepeter said. “Companies and government researchers are poised to make large quantum computing investments in the coming decades, but we don’t want to sprint ahead to build something and then try to figure out afterward if it will be useful for anything.”
Benchmarks for conventional computers are standardized methods that test and evaluate hardware, software, and systems for computing. The results from these tests are expressed using metrics that measure features and behaviors of the system such as speed and accuracy. With the advent of quantum computers, new benchmarks are needed to address these same metrics while also accounting for differences in the underlying technologies and computational models.
Presently we only evaluate quantum computers based on the number of qubits in a quantum computer while ignoring many other important factors affecting its computational ability. Qubits decohere either due to noise or because of their inherent properties. For those reasons, building quantum computers capable of solving deeper, more complex problems is not just a simple matter of increasing the number of qubits. IBM researchers have proposed a full-system performance measurement called Quantum Volume.
Quantum Volume’s numerical value indicates the relative complexity of a problem that can be solved by the quantum computer. The number of qubits and the number of operations that can be performed are called the width and depth of a quantum circuit. The deeper the circuit, the more complex of an algorithm the computer can run. Circuit depth is influenced by such things as the number of qubits, how qubits are interconnected, gate and measurement errors, device cross-talk, circuit compiler efficiency, and more. It analyzes the collective performance and efficiency of these factors then produces a single, easy-to-understand Quantum Volume number. The larger the number, the more powerful the quantum computer.
However, there are no Application-based metrics and benchmarks that measure performance on real-world applications and workloads. We have almost no idea what near-future quantum processors might be useful for! It’s impossible to define good application-based benchmarks today — but it is a great and urgent topic for speculative research & exploration!
To provide standards against which to measure quantum computing progress and drive current research toward specific goals, DARPA announced its Quantum Benchmarking program. Its aim is to re-invent key quantum computing metrics, make those metrics testable, and estimate the required quantum and classical resources needed to reach critical performance thresholds.
Coming up with effective metrics for large quantum computers is no simple task. Current quantum computing research is heavily siloed in companies and institutions, which often keep their work confidential. Without commonly agreed-on standards to quantify the utility of a quantum “breakthrough,” it’s hard to know the value quantum research dollars are achieving. Quantum Benchmarking aims to predict the utility of quantum computers by attempting to solve three hard problems:
The first is reinventing key metrics. Quantum computer experts are not experts in the systems quantum computers will replace, so new communities will need to be built to calculate the gap between the current state of the art and what quantum is capable of. Hundreds of applications will need to be distilled into 10 or fewer benchmarks, and metrics will need to have multi-dimensional scope.
The second challenge is to make metrics testable by creating “wind tunnels” for quantum computers, which currently don’t exist. Researchers will need to enable robust diagnostics at all scales, in order to benchmark computations that are classically intractable.
A third challenge is to estimate the required quantum and classical resources for a given task. Researchers will need to optimize and quantify high-level resources, which are analogous to the front-end compiler of a classical computer. They will need to map high-level algorithms to low-level hardware, akin to the back-end compiler of a classical computer. Finally, they will need to optimize and quantify low-level resources, which corresponds to transistors, gates, logic, control, and memory of classical computers.
Today’s digital activities have turned mobile phones into a goldmine of financial, health, business and personal information, raising the need for security to the edge. QRNG can strengthen mobile phone cybersecurity by implementing (QRNG) into smartphones, protecting devices in the post-quantum era.
Online gaming and lotteries need to provide outstanding randomness quality to secure customer transactions. In games of chance, it must not be possible for a player to increase their probability to win by discovering a bias towards certain outcomes in the game procedure.
Banks and financial institutions need to ensure real-time availability of data for banking transactions and applications, while at the same time protecting sensitive client and proprietary information. In addition, they are subject to increasingly stringent compliance and regulatory requirements. QKD encryption solutions allow banks to implement a company-wide encryption platform with easily managed security policies that seamlessly support all networks.
Data centers are the back-up and recovery point for the critical data of any organization. They are therefore also the most vulnerable point for any wholesale theft of the organization’s intangible assets. QKD/ QRNG encyption products ensure the protection of high-speed data-in-transit up to 100Gbps to the DRC. Solutions are built to ensure high-level security of data into the quantum era, without reducing the availability or redundancy necessary for datacentre back up.
V2X (vehicle-to-everything) refers to a smart, holistic ecosystem where all vehicles and their surrounding infrastructure are interconnected. IDQ’s range of quantum-safe security solutions are specifically designed to secure data in motion across V2X ecosystems against existing and emerging threats, including those posed by quantum computing.
Telecommunication networks underpin the communication, collaboration and media channels that service millions of organisations and billions of individuals every day. IDQ’s range of quantum-safe security solutions are designed to secure data in motion across telecoms networks against existing and emerging threats. Our solutions enable carriers to guarantee security while offering an additional revenue stream – security as a service.
Overall global quantum technology market will reach $31.57 billion by 2026. Quantum computing will lead the market at $14.25 billion by 2026 and 38.4% CAGR. North America will be the biggest regional market for quantum technologies overall.
China will lead the APAC quantum technology market at $4.44 billion by 2026 with 30.8% CAGR. Germany will lead the European quantum technology market at $2.45 billion by 2026 with 30.3% CAGR.
The global quantum dots market will reach $12.71 billion by 2026, growing a 25.1% CAGR and led by displays. The quantum sensing market will reach $819 million globally by 2026, nearly twice the size of the quantum imaging market. The quantum magnetometer market will reach $810 million globally by 2026, led by superconducting quantum interference devices
Much more than only computing, the quantum technology market provides a foundation for improving all digital communications, applications, content, and commerce. In the realm of communications, quantum technology will influence everything from encryption to the way that signals are passed from point A to point B. While currently in the R&D phase, networked quantum information and communications technology (ICT) is anticipated to become a commercial reality that will represent nothing less than a revolution for virtually every aspect of ICT.
However, there will be a need to integrate the ICT supply chain with quantum technologies in a manner that does not attempt to replace every aspect of classical computing but instead leverages a hybrid computational framework. Traditional High-Performance Computing (HPC) will continue to be used for many existing problems for the foreseeable future, while quantum technologies will be used for encrypting communications, signaling, and will be the underlying basis in the future for all commerce transactions. This does not mean that quantum encryption will replace Blockchain, but rather provide improved encryption for blockchain technology.
The quantum technology market will be a substantial enabler of dramatically improved sensing and instrumentation. For example, gravity sensors may be made significantly more precise through quantum sensing. Quantum electromagnetic sensing provides the ability to detect minute differences in the electromagnetic field. This will provide a wide-ranging number of applications, such as within the healthcare arena wherein quantum electromagnetic sensing will provide the ability to provide significantly improved mapping of vital organs. Quantum sensing will also have applications across a wide range of other industries such as transportation wherein there is the potential for substantially improved safety, especially for self-driving vehicles.
Commercial applications for the quantum imaging market are potentially wide-ranging including exploration, monitoring, and safety. For example, gas image processing may detect minute changes that could lead to early detection of tank failure or the presence of toxic chemicals. In concert with quantum sensing, quantum imaging may also help with various public safety-related applications such as search and rescue. Some problems are too difficult to calculate but can be simulated and modeled. Quantum simulations and modeling is an area that involves the use of quantum technology to enable simulators that can model complex systems that are beyond the capabilities of classical HPC. Even the fastest supercomputers today cannot adequately model many problems such as those found in atomic physics, condensed-matter physics, and high-energy physics.
In 2024, telephone companies will purchase $245 million of QKD gear. Some telephone companies – notably BT and NTT — have been visible in QKD technology development for years, but other telcos are rapidly joining them. Meanwhile, the first specialist QKD carrier, QuantumXchange, is creating a QKD link between Manhattan and northern New Jersey. Both Nokia and ZTE have been developing QKD products specifically for telephone company networks.
In late 2018 Toshiba demonstrated the first QKD test network with sustained key transmission rates of over 10 Mbps. In addition, fiber optic QKD networks can be extended over 500 miles. Nonetheless, the need for quantum repeaters in terrestrial networks means that we are nowhere near the stage where satellite-delivered QKD networks will disappear—indeed this may never happen. By 2024, $254 million will be spent on satellite-based QKD networks. Nations which have QKD deployed on satellite networks include Japan, Italy, Germany, Singapore, Canada, and the U.K. China is the leader here – it has demonstrated space-to-ground QKD from its Micias satellite and from the Tiangong-2 Space Lab.
National power grids, and other infrastructure represents a significant security risk as the use of remote sensing and control becomes pervasive. The security infrastructure for these networks was seldom designed with hackers in mind. One of the most significant signs that QKD is being embraced in this area is the purchase of Keymile’s QKD and communications business by ABB. Nonetheless, infrastructure companies tend to be very conservative with respect to technology change and such companies will embrace QKD slowly.
Some of the QKD Firms include ABB, Fujitsu, ID Quantique, MagiQ, Nokia, NTT, Nucrypt, QuantumXChange, Quintessance Labs, Raytheon, Toshiba and others including leading telephone companies and startups.
References and Resources also include: