(ZDNet) ZDNet’s contributing writer Tiernan Ray explains that quantum computing now is a bit like SQL was in the late 80s: Wild and wooly and full of promise. He warns, “Just thinking you will drop this shiny new thing called quantum into your data center is naive” and advises that most of the work of quantum today is not writing pretty algorithms, it’s just making sure data is not junk.
The present moment in time in the young field of quantum sounds a bit like the early days of microcomputer-based relational databases.
In that context, Ray interviews Zapata’s CEO and co-Founder, Christopher Savoie. “Ninety-five percent of the problem is data cleaning,” Savoie told ZDNet. “There wasn’t any great toolset out there, so that’s why we created Orquestra to do this.” And, in fact, Savoie likes to make an analogy to the era of the 1980s and 1990s, when Oracle database was taking over workloads from IBM’s DB/2.
Zapata sells a programming tool for quantum computing, called Orquestra. It can let developers invent algorithms to be run on real quantum hardware, such as Honeywell’s trapped-ion computer. But most of the work of quantum today is not writing pretty algorithms, it’s just making sure data is not junk.
A lot of what is coming up are the mundane matters of data prep and other gotchas that can be a nightmare in a bold new world of only partially-understood.
Nevertheless, Savoie is a big believer in quantum’s potential, despite pointing out all the challenges. He has seen how technologies can get stymied, but also how they ultimately triumph.

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