(BuiltIn.com) It’s crucial to leverage the strengths of quantum computers and classical computers to unlock quantum’s full potential.
Classical computers have unique qualities that will be hard for quantum computers to attain. The ability to store data, for example, is unique to classical computers since the memory of quantum computers only lasts a few hundred microseconds at most.
Additionally, quantum computers need to be kept at temperatures close to absolute zero, which is on the order of -270 degrees Celsius (-450 degrees Fahrenheit). Average consumers don’t have such powerful refrigerators at home, nor would it be advisable for them to do so when thinking about the corresponding energy consumption and its impact on the environment. All of these challenges suggest that quantum computers are unlikely to become a fixture of most households or businesses.
The likelier scenario is that researchers in academia and industry will access quantum computers through cloud services. Although quantum technology is still in its early stages, providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure already offer cloud access to it.
Classical computers will emain useful for decades to come. Their continued relevance is not just a question of how long it’ll take for quantum computers to be developed enough to reach mainstream adoption, either. It’s also about the fuzzy nature of the solutions that quantum computing returns. As humans, we prefer straightforward answers, which can only be obtained by classical computers.
It’s plausible that companies will adopt quantum systems little by little as they bring increasing economical benefits. During this time, classical computers will remain relevant, vital even, to maintain the status quo.
Big investments, however risky they seem now, are poised to be the driving force behind real breakthroughs in the adoption of quantum computing. Such disruptions are particularly notable in two sectors: drug development and cryptography. These two areas thrive on enormous computational capacities, which quantum machines could provide in unprecedented ways.
Companies in many different sectors need to gear up. Some because they’ll benefit from quantum if they adopt it, others because they’ll need to move ahead of the threat. Either way, companies that don’t embrace the power of this new quantum-classical hybrid risk being left behind.