Unlocking the Quantum Advantage: How Quantum Computing is Revolutionizing Industries from Supply Chain Optimization to Finance and Beyond

May 1, 2023

Quantum computing is a rapidly advancing field of technology that has the potential to revolutionize various industries, including finance, cryptography, drug discovery, materials science, and optimization problems. Although quantum computers are still in the early stages of development and have not yet mastered to solve real-world problems better than classical computers, significant progress has been made in recent years and experts expect quantum advantage in the next years. In this article, we outline how different industries will be impacted by the rise of quantum computing.

Sleek v2.0 public release is here

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What has changed in our latest release?

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All new features available for all public channel users

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Coding collaboration with over 200 users at once

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What is quantum computing?

Quantum computers operate using the principles of quantum mechanics, which allow them to perform calculations that are currently infeasible for classical computers. They use quantum bits, or qubits, which can exist in a superposition of multiple states simultaneously, and can be "entangled" with each other, enabling powerful parallel processing and increased computational capacity.

Quantum computers with a small number of qubits, known as noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) computers, are already available for experimentation and research purposes. These early-stage quantum computers are being used to explore potential applications and develop quantum algorithms.

Several technology companies, research institutions, and governments around the world are investing heavily in quantum computing research and development. For example, the German government has initiated funding programs and strategies to support research and development in this field. The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) has supported the PlanQK research project (Platform and Ecosystem for Quantum Applications) since 2019.

PlanQK provides the technological foundation to connect different players across the quantum value chain and was highlighted in a 2023 published position paper by BITKOM e.V. as a possible solution to overcome fragmentation and combine different research projects in one holistic platform. Built on this success the BMWK also has initiated further projects like the Quantum Computing Initiative of the German Center for Aerospace (DLR), SeQuenC that provides integration between classical High-Performance Computing and Quantum Computing hardware or the project AutoQML that provides tooling for developers. These research projects are intended to provide valuable building blocks along the entire value chain and can become part of the PlanQK ecosystem.

Can quantum computers be used today?

There are still areas of improvement to tackle before quantum computers can achieve a real quantum-advantage over classical computers for different use cases. Leading organizations are working to solve these challenges such as improving the stability and error rates of qubits, developing efficient quantum error correction codes, and creating practical quantum algorithms that already offer an advantage on NISQ hardware. While there is no exact timeline for when quantum computers will have enough power to solve real-world use cases, experts, such as IBM, estimate first breakthroughs in quantum processors as soon as in 2030, resulting in a new era of scaling and providing a clear path to 100,000 qubits and beyond.

Examples of potential use cases

So, while it is not clear yet when the breakthrough happens, it will happen, and it will bring significant changes for industries with it. We have listed some potential use cases across industries.

Drug discovery and development

Quantum computing can significantly accelerate the drug discovery and development process. Quantum computers can simulate the behavior of molecules and materials at the quantum level, allowing researchers to design new drugs with improved accuracy and efficiency. This can potentially lead to the discovery of new treatments for diseases and conditions that are currently challenging to treat.

In the field of personalized medicine, quantum computing can help in developing personalized treatment plans by analyzing large amounts of patient data and simulating the behavior of complex biological systems, leading to more effective and targeted therapies for individual patients.

Chemicals and new materials

Like the use in drug development and discovery, quantum computing can simulate complex quantum systems, allowing for better modeling of chemical reactions and material properties. This can aid in the development of new materials and chemicals. One example is the development of more efficient energy storage solutions, leading to advancements in renewable energy and environmental management.

Financial services

Quantum computing has the potential to greatly impact the field of finance. Quantum computers can optimize complex financial models and algorithms, which can enable faster and more accurate pricing of options, portfolio optimization, and risk assessment. This can result in more efficient trading strategies, improved risk management, and better fraud detection.

In the context of Basel 4 bank regulations, quantum computing can help in addressing the challenge of measuring and managing risk more accurately and comprehensively by enabling the simulation of larger and more complex scenarios, as well as the analysis of data sets that are too large for classical computers to handle.

Supply chain optimization

Quantum computing can optimize supply chain operations, including routing, scheduling, and inventory management. By leveraging quantum algorithms, supply chains can be optimized to minimize costs, reduce transportation time, and improve overall efficiency, leading to significant savings for businesses. You can find a detailed explanation of how a route optimization problem can be translated for quantum devices in this article.

Cryptography and cybersecurity

Quantum computers have the potential to break many of the cryptographic protocols that are currently used for secure communication and data protection. As quantum computers can perform certain calculations exponentially faster than classical computers, they could potentially compromise the security of sensitive information. This has led to the development of quantum-resistant cryptography to safeguard against potential quantum threats.
While the potential damage should not be underestimated, it is important to state that quantum algorithms that can break these cryptographic protocols are decades away from being implemented according to experts. This has led to the development of quantum-resistant cryptography to safeguard against potential quantum threats.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Quantum computing can enhance machine learning algorithms by improving their ability to analyze large datasets. Quantum machine learning (QML) algorithms can leverage the unique properties of quantum systems to achieve faster training and inference times, and potentially solve problems or obtain better solutions, that are currently beyond the capabilities of classical machine learning.

Climate modeling and environmental simulations

The simulation of weather and climate patterns is another field quantum computers can be applied to. These models are important to assure the safety of maritime and air traffic and can simulate the global climate under different conditions. This allows a better understanding of climate change which opens possible routes of intervention.

These are just a few examples of how quantum computing can potentially transform various industries. As the field continues to advance and quantum computers become more accessible, there will likely be even more applications and innovations across multiple domains.

Business Development Manager


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