Consider these three brain-busters: 1 percent of the world’s energy is used every year just to produce fertilizer; solar panels aren’t powerful enough to provide all the power for most homes; investing in stocks often feels like a game of Russian roulette.
Those seemingly disparate issues can be solved by the same tool: quantum computing. Similar to an atomic clock, arguably the world’s first quantum technology, Quantum computers use superconducting particles to perform tasks.
Quantum technologies offer ultra-secure communications, sensors of unprecedented precision and computers that are exponentially more powerful than any supercomputer for a given task. These technologies are destined to fundamentally change our lives and the first commercially available quantum devices are only now beginning to emerge.
Potential applications could disrupt the way pharmaceutical companies make medicine, the way logistics companies schedule trains and the way hedge fund managers gain an edge in the stock market.
That said, the future of the technology lies in quantum networks—the new infrastructure springing up within and between major metropolitan areas.
The opportunities are many, because at the level of components these technologies are intimately connected. Many of them depend, for example, on light sources that can spit out photons one at a time, every time.
New materials, and precisely engineered versions of existing ones, will be needed too.
While Britain did not exploit the atomic clocks’ discovery in 1950, an American firm did, and commercialized the device a year after it was invented.
Given the potential of these new quantum technologies, now is the time to get ahead of the curve.
The quantum computing market is projected to surpass $5 Billion through 2020.