WSJ: 1QBit Seeks to Fill Quantum Computing’s Software Void
July 10, 2017
The Wall Street Journal interviewed 1QBit CEO Andrew Fursman to gain an understanding of 1QBit’s business model and role in the quantum ecosystem:
“In this new model, vendors develop the quantum computing technology and specialist firms such as 1QBit build software and software extensions to make quantum computers accessible through traditional programming languages such as Python and C++. There are no widely adopted, purpose-built programming languages for quantum computers yet.
Founded in 2012, the venture-backed startup helps companies identify specific uses for quantum computing, and then develops software programs that are crucial to their implementation.
‘We see where quantum computing poses a path forward for these companies,’ Mr. Fursman said.
For example, 1QBit recently helped biotechnology company Biogen develop a software program that allowed a quantum computer to perform advanced molecule comparisons, which can be used to predict positive and negative effects of specific drugs. The experiment showed that quantum computers have the potential to speed up drug discovery for diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Mr. Fursman previously said.
1QBit has also developed a cloud-based platform on which software applications can be built using 1QBit’s application program interfaces. These APIs can connect to quantum computing processors from companies such as D-Wave Systems Inc. and Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. In the future, the APIs could connect to other quantum computing processors from different vendors, Mr. Fursman said.
The platform is also compatible with traditional, classical computing processors. This way, companies don’t have to adapt their software to be compatible with each different computing architecture, Mr. Fursman said.
The platform allows quantum computing to be available to companies as a service and is ‘hardware agnostic,’ Mr. Fursman said. This means that enterprises such as Dow and Biogen can experiment with various classical and quantum computing processors through one single platform.
‘They don’t want to choose early on which of these companies is going to be the most relevant, and they don’t want to have to lock themselves into one type of hardware,’ Mr. Fursman said.”
The article goes on to focus on the project work that 1QBit has been doing in the advanced materials space with our partner Dow Chemicals.
“Chemical giant Dow and 1QBit last month formally announced a multi-year agreement to explore the uses of quantum computing in materials manufacturing.
Technology executives at Dow, which intends to merge with DuPont Co. and manufactures chemicals, adhesives and materials that are used in industries ranging from automotive to energy and agriculture, say quantum computing could help scientists discover new, environmentally sustainable materials.
‘Quantum computing is undoubtedly going to be a critical capability for research in a variety of sectors and the materials industry is no different,’ Keith Watson, vice president of corporate research and development at Dow, told CIO Journal.
Quantum computing could, for example, help scientists more quickly discover new chemical formulas for sustainable, reusable materials ranging from paint coating to food packaging and crash-durable adhesive material for cars, said A.N. Sreeram, Dow’s chief technology officer and senior vice president of research and development.
Experts have said that within five years quantum computing will be powerful enough to solve problems that are currently beyond the scope of today’s most advanced computers.
Dow has already been experimenting with high-performance computing for the past decade, and uses supercomputers to help scientists crunch massive amounts of data to discover new materials.
As Dow looks to invent new materials that can be recycled and reused, while reducing the amount of energy it takes to make those materials, quantum computing could become a ‘critical’ tool in research, Dr. Sreeram said.
‘It’s going to aid us in solving tougher and tougher problems,’ he said.”
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