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The latest news coverage of 1QBit and quantum technology.

The Economist Technology Quarterly: Quantum Technologies and Their Applications

March 9, 2017
The Economist Technology Quarterly Q2 is focused on Quantum Technology and its applications such as a global network of communications links whose security is underwritten by unbreakable physical laws, sensors that can spot hidden nuclear submarines, and computers and software that can discover new drugs, revolutionise securities trading and design new materials.
Referencing a 2015 study by McKinsey, the piece highlights that there are 7,000 people worldwide with combined budget of $1.5bn working on quantum-technology research, 100€m of which comes from Canada.
 

“It doesn’t help to have a quantum computer if no one knows how to program it.”

– Tim Polk, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Although academic efforts to build quantum-computer hardware have been going on for two decades, until recently, comparatively little has been done to develop the software needed to run the machines when they come. That is changing, because in the past few years it has become clear that these machines are getting closer. Two parallel efforts are under way. One is to create software as generally understood—the graphical interfaces, programming languages and so on, a kind of “Windows for quantum”. The other is to develop novel algorithms, step-by-step instructions that break down problems into discrete parts amenable to quantum computing.
Innovation abounds in both camps, and among big tech firms as well as plucky startups. Some big players are working on both sides of the problem, and a growing ecosystem of quantum-friendly consultancies advises companies on what quantum computing might do for them.
The article goes on to highlight the new role companies such as 1QBit are playing between the quantum experts and industry, examining whether and how a given firm’s business might be improved by quantum methods, for example optimising trading strategies or supply chains, or monitoring network activity to spot cyber-attacks.

“By taking the lens of how you would formulate an algorithm on a quantum computer you often find very good improvements on classical algorithms, that’s where a lot of our successes comes from.”

– Landon Downs, President of 1QBit

 

The Economist Technology Quarterly – Quantum technology is beginning to come into its own

NQIT Report: Commercial Prospects for Quantum Computing

January 19, 2016
The Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub, the largest of the four Hubs in the UK National Quantum Technology Programme, released their first issue of a new market report “Commercial Prospects of Quantum Computing”, which reviews current commercial activity in quantum computing around the world. The report covers commercial investment in quantum computing, the current market and research status and public perceptions of this new technology.
“The disruptive potential of quantum computing is attracting growing interest and substantial investment from industry and governments globally. This is happening despite the understanding that a universal quantum computer is still years away from being commercially available. Andrew Lockley writing for Exponential Investor, an online resource for technology investment, puts the case for quantum computing:

‘There’s a revolution coming in computing that has the power to disrupt society just as fundamentally as the first information revolution. This new generation of computers aren’t just faster or better – they’re completely, radically, different.’

Some businesses are currently preparing themselves for the impact of quantum computing when it does arrive. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is one such institution which is investing heavily in quantum computing. CBA’s Executive Manager of Technology Innovation, Dilan Rajasingham, succinctly said:

‘We’re not going to wait for the machine.’

RBS Silicon Valley Solutions, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, is an investor in 1QBit, a Canadian quantum software company. In January 2016, Head of RBS Silicon Valley Solutions, John Stewart, explained:

“The reason we invested was that we felt this was one of a fairly small number of cases where a technology was potentially so disruptive and so difficult to access, that making an investment and securing either a board seat or a board observer seat would give us a strategic advantage in exchange for a modest outlay.’ ” 

NQIT Commercial Prospects for Quantum Computing Report

Microsoft moves from pure research to begin engineering a topological quantum computer

November 21, 2016
Microsoft is doubling down on its commitment to the field of quantum computing, making a strong bet that it is possible to create a scalable quantum computer using what is called a topological qubit. Longtime Microsoft executive Todd Holmdahl will lead the scientific and engineering effort to create scalable quantum hardware and software. He believes the company’s long investment in quantum research has been fruitful enough that there’s a clear roadmap to a scalable quantum computer.

“I think we’re at an inflection point in which we are ready to go from research to engineering. None of these things are a given, but you have to take some amount of risk in order to make a big impact in the world, and I think we’re at the point now that we have the opportunity to do that.”

– Todd Holmdahl, Vice President of Microsoft Quantum Program

Microsoft hopes to create dependable tools that scientists without a quantum background can use to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems. By doing that, they believe they will help usher in a “quantum economy” that could revolutionize industries such as medicine and materials science.

NY Times: Microsoft Spends Big to Build a Computer Out of Science Fiction  |  Microsoft Blog Post

The Robots Are Coming

October 7, 2016
The World Economic Forum’s Economic Summit India was host to many conversations on the future of technology and its implications on the India and global workforce. Central to this dialogue was the panel session on India’s Fourth Industrial Revolution moderated by Time Magazine’s Nikhil Kumar, with the Minister of Railways, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, GE Vice-Chairman John Rice, Pranay Jivrajka from Ola Cabs, and Landon Downs, President of 1QBit.
Mint, one of India’s business daily newspapers, covered panelists’ views on robots, big data, and how our ability to manage data digitally will both disrupt current jobs and create new skilled services opportunities for India.  

“According to Landon Downs, president and co-founder, 1QB Information Technologies, as quantum computers mature, there is going to be a huge surge of demand for people who are going to programme those kinds of systems.

‘Today, since it is a relatively new field, there are very few people doing that. It presents tremendous opportunity for India’s population as it has a very large IT-savvy workforce. If they engage with things like big data and quantum computing, they can really create a lot of opportunities,’ he said.”

– Armit Raj, The robots are coming, warns Suresh Prabhu, Mint

Mint Article: The Robots are coming, warns Suresh Prabhu  |  WEF India’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Panel Video 

D-Wave Will Ship a 2000-Qubit Quantum Computer Next Year

September 27, 2016
D-Wave announced at the company’s inaugural users group conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico that it will start shipping a quantum computer with 2000 qubits next year. This is twice the size of its current 1000-qubit D-Wave 2X. The 2000-qubit quantum computer is said to be 500 to 1000 times faster than its predecessor. D-Wave’s senior vice president of systems, Jeremy Hilton, said an even larger quantum computer based on a whole new processor design will come out two to three years later.
D-Wave Press Release  |  PC World News Article

Google Sprints Ahead in AI Building Blocks by Giving Away TensorFlow

July 18, 2016
Google’s TensorFlow software simplifies the programming of key systems that underpin artificial intelligence. By making this for the most part open and free, Google has created a lead in the space which will be very difficult for their competitors to close despite only having a six-month head start.
Google uses TensorFlow to help make its products smarter and more responsive, and now these same tools are making it dramatically easier for other companies to create computer programs that learn and improve automatically.
Since its emergence, TensorFlow has become the most popular AI programming project on software code sharing service GitHub, leapfrogging over well-regarded systems created by universities and corporate rivals, according to data gathered by Bloomberg.

“Google made the software free so it could give the community a useful tool ‘and everyone could standardize on that,’ said Corrado, a senior research scientist at Google. ‘In a giant green field, trying to build a fence around the next blade of grass is really absurdist. It’s really better to help everybody run into that field.’ ”

 

Bloomberg Article

 

The Top 10 Emerging Technologies in 2016 according to WEF and Scientific American

June 27, 2016
The World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies published its list of the top 10 emerging technologies in 2016. Included are a diverse range of breakthrough technologies, from batteries capable of providing power to whole villages, to “socially aware” artificial intelligence and new generation solar panels, that could soon be playing a role in tackling the world’s most pressing challenges.
Following the list’s release, China-based news platform Jiemian interviewed 1QBit’s CEO Andrew Fursman to get his perspective on these emerging technologies, the promise of an Open AI Ecosystem, and the Chinese technology investment field.

“Andrew Fursman, CEO and co-founder of 1QBit, which is also a Technology Pioneer of the World Economic Forum, said in the new top 10 emerging technologies of 2016, the commercial use of “Open AI Ecosystem” is very promising. “AI is very user-friendly, it’s more natural and convenient for people to communicate without professional learning skill of knowledge.”

Fursman believes that although the emerging technology is becoming increasingly diverse, the Chinese technology and investment field, as well as the communication and development of this technology will be become more smooth. “In the past, only foreign capital would invest in Chinese technology industry. Today, there are more investments in technology from other regions and Chinese investment is becoming very active in this. The fusion of technologies between different countries and regions are becoming easier.”

– Lin Jiawen, Interface technology reporter stationed in Beijing, Jiemian.com

Jiemian Article: 2016年度十大新兴技术出炉 你最看好哪个?

Quantum Computing: Superconducting the Future

June 5, 2016
John Stackhouse, Senior Vice-President at RBC, expands on the discussion held at the #RBCDisruptors panel on quantum computing between Rumi Morales, who runs the venture capital wing of CME Group, Murray Thom, director of professional services at D-Wave, and Andrew Fursman, CEO of 1QBit.

Mr. Stackhouse’s take-away message: “Canada is leading the way in a new form of computing based on quantum mechanics that has the potential to change everything from portfolio management to cancer research to fantasy football.”

Post by John Stackhouse

European Commission Announces €1 Billion Quantum Technologies Initiative

April 21, 2016
Nature News discusses the European Commission’s €1 billion quantum technologies initiative. The initiative, which will be similar in size and timescale to Europe’s previous flagship projects, the Graphene Flagship and the Human Brain Project, will include support for near-to-market systems such as quantum simulators and longer term projects such as all-purpose quantum computers.

Nature News article

Inside Davos 2016: Three Lessons from the World Economic Forum

February 8, 2016
The Fourth Industrial Revolution was the theme for discussions that took place between the world’s most influential economic, political, and industry players during the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos. The main stage presentations and resulting dialogue focused on the real implications of the effect that radical technological progress will have on our society. As one of 49 companies selected as this year’s World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers, 1QBit CEO Andrew Fursman participated in these conversations through presentations and panels focusing on how science will save us and the role Canada will play in developing innovative solutions. Singularity University shares Fursman’s insider perspective on the awareness world technology leaders have about disruptive technologies; the urgency of preparation to be able to handle disruptive change; and Canada’s booming role in technological innovation, a point of view bolstered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s opening address to the delegation.

Medium blog post

Google’s Upcoming Efforts in Quantum Computing

December 18, 2015
John Martinis, a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his quantum computing team teamed up with Google in 2014 and are making strides to accelerate the Martinis group’s efforts in superconducting quantum computing, according to an article in the MIT Technology Review. Google will be competing with improvements from D-Wave Systems, as well as efforts from substantial projects from Microsoft and IBM. “Martinis guesses that he can demonstrate a small but useful quantum computer in two or three years,” the article reads, stating also that Google’s internal time line estimates the group can make a universal quantum annealer with 100 qubits in about two years.

MIT Technology Review article

Quantum Annealing Results from Google

December 8, 2015
Google has crafted problems to demonstrate that quantum annealing can offer runtime advantages for hard optimization problems that are characterized by rugged energy landscapes with tall and narrow energy barriers.
READ MORE

UBC’s Quantum Matter Institute Awarded $65.5 million

 

July 30, 2015
The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Quantum Matter Institute is the recipient of a $65.5-million investment from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. The investment will enhance UBC’s standing as a global leader in quantum matter research and help connect research with industry, according to a press release issued today.

Press release

New Superposition Records

 

October 12, 2014
Two distinct types of qubits, representing two pathways for building a quantum computer in silicon, have been created that process quantum data with error rates lower than 1%. One team from UNSW Australia made a silicon “artificial-atom” qubit with a device similar to the transistors in consumer electronics, while another from the same university has achieved an accuracy approaching 99.99% with a two-qubit phosphorus atom. The phosphorus atom’s nucleus was able to store quantum information for an entire 30 seconds; the longer the coherence time, the more complex calculations can be.

“Preserving a ‘quantum superposition’ for such a long time, and inside what is basically a modified version of a normal transistor, is something that almost nobody believed possible until today.”

– Andrea Morello, Associate Professor, UNSW Australia School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications

Phys.org (formerly Physorg.com) article

D-Wave CEO on Quantum Computers’ Role in Finance and Drug Discovery

 

October 4, 2014
Vern Brownell, CEO of D-Wave Systems, answers questions about its customers and quantum machines’ readiness for real-world applications. Brownell highlights 1QBit’s work exploring and developing these applications and DNA-Seq’s efforts in cancer therapy.

“1QBit was started to use our quantum computer for financial services. They have 20 PhDs developing algorithms in portfolio optimization and things like that. If they find the amazing algorithm that is going to make tons of money for Wall Street traders, it’s their intellectual property, not ours.”

– Vern Brownell, CEO, D-Wave Systems

MIT Technology Review article

CNN Talks Supercomputing and Finance

October 3, 2014
In CNN’s story on portfolio optimization and risk management problems being “huge workloads” on Wall Street, D-Wave points to other areas of finance that could reap the rewards of quantum computing: developing trading strategies, mapping market correlations, pricing structured asset-backed securities, and capital project budgeting.
READ MORE

Quantum Computing and Cryptography

September 30, 2014
Brad Templeton, Board Member and Former Chair of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Track Chair for Computing at Singularity University, discusses the implications of a theoretical quantum computer that could crack current cryptographic methods by quickly solving the extremely difficult mathematical problems involved.
READ MORE

Lockheed Martin on Quantum Computing

February 18, 2013

Lockheed Martin gives a brief introduction to quantum computers and the problems they have the potential to solve. In partnership with the University of Southern California, Lockheed Martin has founded the USC-Lockheed Martin Quantum Computation Center.

Lockheed Martin video