Superposition Between Cloud and Quantum Computing

Saju Sankarankutty, CTO, UST Global | Monday, 08 January 2018, 05:15 IST

There is a lot being talked about AI these days and human future is being predicted around this. But there are other major shifts happening in the world today which is shaping the future. While these are not colliding each other, they are creating syn­thesis amongst them. The feasibility of digital transforma­tion powered by AI is being fueled by the evolution in compute and availability of vast amount of data. Since AI demands more of training of neural networks computing of different forms from CPU’s to GPU’s to TPU’s are be­ing made available today.

The first programming language that I learned was FORTRAN the one which was created way back in 1957 by John Backus at IBM. By that time computers radically changed the society. Things have evolved much faster in the last few years. We are in the 53rd year of Moore’s law which talks about the exponential improvement in price performance and computer process have reached the lev­els of as less as 7nm wafers and may go down to 4nm in next 7 to 10 years. There is a limit to how fast the com­puters can be and how small the transistors can be as they are getting down to a size of an atom.

We are now moving away from the binary world of the stream of numbers to a new path. The two states of numbers of representing anything is changing. Over the years of storage technology, information has been stored in 1’s and 0’s. What we have seen and experienced till to­day was built in the stable dual states of electronic circuits and has been and will continue to be robust for many years.

The revolution is happening at the basic physics of computing where the dual state systems may soon get re­placed by the rules that govern the world of atoms and molecules, which is Quantum mechanics. With this, the dual state of 0 and 1 is shifting to qubits (quantum bits) ie states between 0 and 1 (superposition) and a state of 0 and 1 at the same time. This brings in a radical shift in everything right from the principles of computing, pro­gramming, manufacturing, physical shape/size, hosting etc. To tame the atoms and molecules to play a role in computation, the processing unit in this case called as the QPU (Q stands for Quantum) requires an isolated environment and extreme physical states.

The world is no way moving out of the current form of computing know as classical computing to the new Quantum computing world. Quantum computing is addressing a new set of problem statements and is more about building the future technology. The problems that were previously unattainable or time-consuming in the classical com­puting world like the molecular chemistry, optimizations, sampling, factoring will now have optimal solutions with the advancement in quantum computing. In parallel, it may also challenge some of the ex­isting systems like the cryptosystems.

As in the classical world, the computer itself is not a solution and there is a need to have the right software to program these super com­plex devices. An ecosystem of software, developers, tools, and algo­rithms are given equal focus along with the research happening to un­derstand the quantum physics and its application in computing. Since

In the current world systems in isolation doesn’t have much relevance as making in­formation available in one place is seemingly impossible. This the time where the comput­ing and storage space within any enterprise is shifting into a Hybrid world. Cloud com­puting is already shaping the future for most of the enterprises. The much of the data in today’s world resides on cloud and hence for quantum computing to be successful it needs to have an ability to pipe in and pipe out data from the cloud. There is a huge ef­fort happening in this space for that layer of tissue.

Given the complexity and the science be­hind leveraging quantum physics for com­putation, we cannot expect a quantum com­puter to be on our desk or in an enterprise data center. This is more likely to be avail­able as a cloud service over the internet. The classical computing world which matured over a period and was made available on tap is still evolving. Unlike the classical world, these quantum computers are born in the cloud to accelerate the creation of killer apps and algorithms to nurture an ecosystem that can solve real-world issues and increase the adoption.

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