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Quantum Computing
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1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy
1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy

Sub-Field:

1.2.2Quantum Computing

Two decades of academic research into quantum computing have resulted in significant recent investments in the field from major technology companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Google, Intel, Alibaba, Huawei, Fujitsu and Honeywell. A rapidly growing number of start-ups are also active in the field. Today's most promising machines operate with several dozen “quantum bits” (qubits); in 2019, a Google quantum computer with 53 qubits took only a few minutes to perform complex calculations that would take days on the most powerful classical computers.9 Although this demonstration had no practical use, it is clear that quantum machines are starting to push into problems that are extremely difficult, time intensive and expensive for standard processors.
However, most real-world applications for quantum computers will require “quantum error correction”, which necessitates systems with millions of qubits.10 It is not yet clear whether the various different hardware implementations in development (superconductors, ion traps, silicon-based wafers and photonics to name a few) will all yield useful quantum computers, or whether one type will win out. In addition, very few truly revolutionary algorithms have so far been devised to run on these machines. It is likely that early (and possibly all) implementations of quantum computing will involve hybrid quantum-classical operations.

Future Horizons:

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5-yearhorizon

New, useful quantum algorithms accelerate hardware development

More companies commercialize quantum computers. These operate in the “Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum” (NISQ) regime, solving only demonstration problems that are of no practical use. Cloud-based access to early quantum computer prototypes draws in talented scientists and software engineers, stimulating the development of new quantum algorithms beyond the 60-odd examples that existed in 2020.

10-yearhorizon

Quantum processors find real-world applications

Quantum machines incorporate error correction and simulate quantum systems with a precision unattainable with classical computers, albeit using simplified models rather than accurate microscopic models of materials. New quantum algorithms continue to offer a significant speed-up (exponential or polynomial) over classical methods. 

25-yearhorizon

Million-qubit computers solve useful, classically intractable problems

Universal quantum computers with millions of qubits run accurate and predictive simulations in chemistry and materials science, accelerating discoveries such as, perhaps, materials that superconduct at room-temperature, catalysts for nitrogen fixation and new pharmaceutical products.

Quantum Computing - Anticipation Scores

How the experts see this field in terms of the expected time to maturity, transformational effect across science and industries, current state of awareness among stakeholders and its possible impact on people, society and the planet. See methodology for more information.