Gearing for a world with quantum computers
By Calum Chace  |  Feb 23, 2023
Gearing for a world with quantum computers
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Quantum computing is not widely understood and does not draw the same attention as AI, but it is already mighty and set to become even more so. Thus, those who have not yet done so must arm for this disruption and stand ready to reap the new opportunities it will bring.


Distant, yet urgent

Any organization which handles sensitive data should start preparing now for the arrival of quantum computing. The technology is unlikely to be ready for widespread use for quite a few more years – maybe even another couple of decades – but it has been known for some time that when it is ready, it will crack the encryption used by governments, armies, banks, and hospitals. Messages sent today will become insecure overnight.

A tough subject

Quantum computing is a tough subject to explain. As Niels Bohr liked to put it, “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it." Richard Feynman helpfully added “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics."

In a nutshell, quantum computing employs the weird properties of quantum mechanics like superposition and entanglement. Classical computing uses binary digits, or bits, which are either on or off. Quantum computing, however, uses qubits, which can be both on and off at the same time, and this characteristic makes them far more computationally powerful.

Dr Ignacio Cirac

To understand quantum computing properly, one needs a deep expert who can explain it in lay terms, and someone like Dr Ignacio Cirac certainly fits the bill. Cirac is director of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany and holds honorary and visiting professorships pretty much everywhere that serious work is done on quantum physics. He has done seminal work on the trapped ion approach to quantum computing and several other aspects of the field and has published almost 500 papers in prestigious journals. He is even spoken of as a possible Nobel Prize winner. Most recently, he h

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