Quantum News Briefs: December 26, 2023: University of Arkansas Pine Bluff to get bulk of $5M grant to collaborate with University of Arkansas on Quantum Computing; Quantum computing: A reality check from the experts; Will Quantum Computing Take Off in 2024? Here’s 1 Magnificent Stock to Buy If It Does.
Quantum News Briefs: December 26, 2023:
University of Arkansas Pine Bluff to get bulk of $5M grant to collaborate with University of Arkansas on Quantum Computing
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) has received a significant grant from the National Science Foundation, enabling the establishment of a pioneering Quantum Information Science and Engineering program and the region’s first quantum center. As noted by UAPB Vice Chancellor Mansour Mortazavi, this initiative marks a substantial achievement for Arkansas, particularly for UAPB as a historically Black college and university. The five-year, $5 million grant is part of the 2022 National Science Foundation Expanding Capacity in Quantum Information Science and Engineering program, aimed at advancing quantum technology in computing, detection, and materials. UAPB, in collaboration with the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will develop the state’s first graduate program in the physical sciences. This grant fosters research in quantum science and focuses on developing educational and outreach programs to prepare students for future careers in this emerging field. The initiative also includes integrating quantum materials and devices for photonics applications and establishing a quantum laboratory and course content at UAPB.
In Other News: Interesting Engineering article: “Quantum computing: A reality check from the experts”
Quantum computing, often regarded as the next technological frontier, faces significant challenges despite its potential to revolutionize various fields like science, engineering, and business, as an Interesting Engineering article states. According to IEEE Spectrum, experts in the field are expressing doubts about the readiness and practicality of quantum computers. While these machines utilize quantum mechanics to perform complex calculations, they are currently far from practical use, with more restricted applications than anticipated. A major hurdle is the issue of errors due to the sensitivity of quantum computers to noise and interference, leading to unreliable results. Even though some researchers see potential in noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) devices for certain tasks, implementing quantum error correction is essential for reliable, scalable quantum computing. This correction requires many physical qubits to create stable logical qubits, a daunting task that might take a decade to solve. Another challenge is the limited scope of applications for quantum computing. Microsoft’s Matthias Troyer points out that quantum computers mainly offer advantages in factoring large numbers and simulating quantum systems, with only a few specific problems efficiently solvable by quantum computers. Moreover, the slow operating speeds of qubits and data bandwidth limitations make quantum computers impractical for data-intensive applications like machine learning. Despite these limitations, experts like Scott Aaronson and Yuval Boger remain optimistic, noting recent advancements and the potential scalability of quantum error correction. However, quantum computing is seen as a long-term vision, complementing rather than replacing classical computing, and is best suited for niche problems in fields like cryptography and quantum simulation.
In Other News: Yahoo Finance article: “Will Quantum Computing Take Off in 2024? Here’s 1 Magnificent Stock to Buy If It Does.”
In a recent article by Yahoo Finance, Keithen Drury discusses the potential of IonQ, a company specializing in quantum computing for artificial intelligence (AI). Quantum computing, which utilizes qubits for parallel processing, is seen as a significant advancement over traditional computing with its potential to revolutionize tasks like AI, drug discovery, and engineering simulations. IonQ, a leader in this space, has shown promising growth with a 122% revenue increase in Q3 and total bookings reaching $58.4 million, indicating rising demand for their technology. A notable contract from the U.S. Air Force, worth $25.5 million, highlights this demand. However, IonQ faces challenges due to high research and development costs, leading to substantial operating losses. With around $384 million in cash reserves, the company has a buffer of about two years before additional funding might be required. The future of IonQ hinges on the broader adoption and success of quantum computing, making it a high-risk but potentially high-reward investment. Drury suggests that if investors believe in the future of quantum computing, a small portfolio allocation to IonQ could be wise, but he prefers more certain AI investment opportunities.
Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is the Managing Editor at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, quantum computing, and AI. Her work has been featured in Scientific American, Discover Magazine, New Scientist, Ars Technica, and more.