By IQT News posted 23 Dec 2021

(TechWireAsia) TechWireAsia recently interviewed Dr. Anna Phan, Asia Pacific Quantum Alliance Lead at IBM Quantum. IQT-News has summarized her statements below.

Dr. Phan: This year’s unprecedented advances in hardware, software development, and services validate the technology’s momentum.
This is creating an ecosystem from individual developers to institutions and industries that paves the way for further breakthroughs in 2022, preparing the market for the eventual adoption of this nascent technology.
From a technology innovation perspective, things are moving fast.
In 2022, the industry needs to continue preparing for the day quantum computing can help solve tough, classically unsolvable problems, enabling businesses to gain a competitive advantage. This will require a focus on developing quantum skills across the quantum ecosystem to ensure industry workforces that are ‘quantum ready’.
As outlined in our “Quantum Decade” report, we estimate that there are only about 3,000 skilled quantum workers in the market today. That base needs to be doubled or quadrupled to exploit the full potential of quantum this decade and ensure businesses aren’t left behind. Across Asia and the rest of the world, through next year IBM will continue investing in quantum developer certification, as well as boot camp-like educational programs and investments in university curricula.

TechWireAsia: How far are we from seeing real-world quantum computing use cases being adapted by organizations?

Dr. Phan: Companies already engaging with quantum computing – simply wanting a head start IBM is currently working with more than 170 organizations around the world, including Asia, on research to apply quantum to real-world problems. For example, Mercedes-Benz is working with us to explore how quantum computing can advance the development of lithium-sulfur batteries for electric vehicles.
CERN is using our quantum systems to explore ways to use machine learning to look for new ways of finding patterns in data from the LHC (large hadron collider).
And industrial chemists at Mitsubishi Chemical and JSR Corporation, which are members of the IBM Quantum Hub at Keio University in Japan, are using our systems to model and analyze the deep molecular structures of potential new OLED (organic light-emitting diode) materials.
There are many use cases where businesses could put quantum computing to work. One field that could greatly benefit from quantum computing is chemistry where it may help discover new materials, drugs, and fertilizers, among many other potential discoveries.

With growing research from various companies all over the world in quantum computing, is the industry getting more competitive?

As quantum moves from the lab to the real world, ecosystems are forming to support collaborative innovation and open-source development. Potential ecosystems likely include a quantum computing technology partner, quantum computing developers, and academic partners.
IBM has been at the heart of this ecosystem since developing and deploying the first working quantum computer on the cloud in 2016. And now more than 380,000 registered users, and 170 companies, academic institutions, start-ups, and national research labs all over the world are part of IBM’s community.
In Asia over the last year, we collaborated with our partners at the University of Tokyo to install an IBM Quantum System One.
We also recently announced plans to install an IBM Quantum System One at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, where we are already working with Sungkyunkwan University.
Additionally, in Singapore, we are working with the National University of Singapore to support training and promote industry-academia collaboration to develop new software in quantum computing.
Recently, University of Melbourne researchers working on IBM devices developed techniques to entangle all 27 qubits on our “Falcon” processor, as well as all 65 qubits on our “Hummingbird” processor

TechWireAsia promises a second part of the conversation with Dr. Anna Phan is upcoming in which they  discuss the costs involved in quantum computing and IBM’s plans for the industry in 2022.

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