(InformationWeek) As cloud providers search for new markets, many are turning their attention to quantum computing.
While quantum computing adopters are currently few and far between, many observers believe that it’s only a matter of time before the technology gains the momentum necessary to become commercially viable. That’s why cloud providers are now beginning to position themselves to tap into what could eventually turn out to be a very lucrative market.
Quantum computing’s high cost and deep complexity will likely drive most applications off premises and into the arms of cloud providers like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. While the major cloud players all have extremely deep pockets, most early adopters, such as startups and research labs, aren’t particularly well heeled. Even enterprises that can afford to deploy their own quantum systems may wish to spare themselves the time and effort needed to place the technology on premises.
The enterprise path to quantum computing access is more likely to go through the cloud than the data center. As more powerful systems come online, the cloud approach is likely to become a significant revenue source [for service providers], with users paying for access to quantum computing systems that can solve real-world problems.
The limited lifespans of rapidly advancing quantum computing systems also favors cloud providers. “Developers are still early along in hardware development, so there’s little incentive for a user to buy hardware that will soon be made obsolete,” explained Lewie Roberts, a senior researcher at Lux Research. “This is also part of why so many large cloud players … are researching quantum computing,” Roberts noted. “It would nicely augment their existing cloud services,” he added.
Jake Farinholt, lead scientist at management and IT consulting form Booz Allen Hamilton said, “Cloud can provide users with access to multiple different devices, as well as simulators, right from their laptops.”
Quantum simulations, in particular, will likely have a major impact on a wide range of enterprises. One example is the pharmaceutical industry. Bob Sutor, vice president of AI, blockchain, and quantum solutions at IBM Research, predicted that chemists may soon turn to quantum computing to create more efficient and longer lasting lithium batteries. “Consumers will see this in electric vehicles, for example,” he said.
NOTE: An excellent article by a veteran business technology journalist John Edwards & well-worth the read.