I thought Barron’s recent “Quantum Computing Will Change the World. How to Play the Stocks” by Eric Savitz was a good article. If I were looking for something to give to an intelligent outsider, this article would serve well. We need more introductory articles like this, since the comments section was so stuffed full of really ignorant comments! A few quibbles about the article though.
1. The article is headed “how to play the stocks,” which it doesn’t address entirely. It doesn’t mention little pure play stocks such as Quantum eMotion or Quantum Computing Inc. Very speculative investments, but they do exist out there and one can make money from playing around with them. Also, the history of the quantum computing sector so far illustrates some of things that are bad about SPACs in terms of leadership. I completely understand that the writer would not want to get into this in an article like this. There are also, by the way, a few publicly traded quantum components companies out there, but admittedly not close to being pure play.
2. The article says that a quantum computer capable of breaking common encryption methods in near real time won’t appear for about 15 years. This may well be correct. Nonethelss a lot of people are worrying about the quantum apocalypse now is that quantum computers capable of breaking codes in much longer times — but still acceptable to the thief — are much nearer to realization. If someone steals the plans to a new military aircraft and it takes three weeks to decrypt on the kind of quantum computer that should be available in three years, it is still a very big deal. This decryption strategy was talked about a lot at our recent conference.
3. In a similar vein, in part the article seems to imply that we will need millions of qubits to do anything useful with a quantum computer at one point. At another point it seems to say that we will have computers with hundreds of qubits that can do useful things by 2025, which is closer to the truth I think. It might have been useful to sketch out a roadmap — this is what we have/can accomplish now, in three years, in ten years. Of obvious use to investors.
4. One sentence suggests that high-tech cryogenics is needed for quantum computing, but it is only needed for a couple of types of quantum computing. The author discusses trapped-ion computing (IonQ and Quantinuum) briefly and this does not need a lot of cooling. It might have been worth making the point (which IonQ has made) that this means that quantum computers could be scaled down to a point where they could be used on-premises, in data-center racks and in smaller organizations.
Lawrence Gasman is the founder and President of Inside Quantum Technology. He has authored industry analysis reports on quantum key distribution, quantum computing, quantum networks, and quantum sensors and numerous studies on high-speed interfaces for high-performance computers. He also served on a panel at the Q2B conference in 2017; the first ever business-oriented quantum computing conference. Lawrence has been tracking commercialization of new technologies for 35 years and has written four books in this area. His consulting work has included both major multinationals and high-tech start-ups as clients and he has also carried out due diligence work for investment banks, venture capitalists and leading management consulting firms.