Three Stages of Adoption for Quantum Computing: The ENIAC Moment, Configurable Packaged Quantum Solutions, and The FORTRAN Moment

  1. The concern here is only for production and production-scale operational deployment of quantum applications. This excludes toy, mockup, experimental, and prototype applications. The focus here is the commercial deployment of practical real-world quantum applications, not activities which occur during the pre-commercialization stage of the evolution of quantum computing.
  2. This paper proposes, envisions, and advocates a potential future for quantum applications and solutions. There is no guarantee that this envisioned future will come to fruition, nor is there any certainty or confidence as to when it might come to fruition. The only confidence is that it won’t happen in the very near future (next year or two), and is likely to take at least a few years to develop — and require significant progress in the advancement of quantum computing hardware.
  • Counter-caveat: The proposal of this paper may not be a certainty but it certainly is a golden opportunity.
  1. In a nutshell
  2. The essential goal: Gain as widespread adoption of quantum computing as possible in the shortest amount of time
  3. Focus on production-scale practical real-world quantum applications
  4. Comparing to adoption of classical computing
  5. The three stages of adoption for quantum computing
  6. Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3
  7. Reliance on super-elite technical professionals
  8. Gradual declining of reliance on super-elite technical professionals
  9. Stage 1 — The ENIAC Moment
  10. Stage 2 — Configurable packaged quantum solutions
  11. Stage 3 — The FORTRAN Moment
  12. The FORTRAN Moment will herald widespread full-custom quantum algorithms and applications
  13. Technical gating factors for each stage of adoption
  14. Technical gating factors for Stage 1 (The ENIAC Moment)
  15. Need for near-perfect qubits
  16. Need for automatically scalable algorithms
  17. Technical gating factors for Stage 2 (Configurable packaged quantum solutions)
  18. Technical gating factors for Stage 3 (The FORTRAN Moment)
  19. Even in stage 3, not all quantum applications will need quantum error correction
  20. Stages of quantum advantage
  21. Expectations after the advent of stage 1
  22. Expectations after the advent of stage 2
  23. Expectations after the advent of stage 3
  24. What stage are we at now?
  25. Stage 0 — where we are today — pre-commercialization
  26. Where are all of the 40-qubit algorithms?
  27. Timing of the stages
  28. Lessons from the evolution of classical computing
  29. Beyond stage 3 — stage 4, stage 5, stage 6
  30. And even beyond stage 6 — to stage 10 and beyond
  31. Need for ongoing research
  32. What is quantum expertise?
  33. What is the potential for quantum-inspired computing?
  34. Model for stages of adoption for a new technology
  35. Original proposed topic
  36. Summary and conclusions

In a nutshell

  1. A few hand-crafted applications (The ENIAC Moment). Limited to super-elite technical teams.
  2. A few configurable packaged quantum solutions. Focus super-elite technical teams on generalized, flexible, configurable applications which can then be configured and deployed by non-elite technical teams. Each such solution can be acquired and deployed by a fairly wide audience of users and organizations without any quantum expertise required.
  3. Higher-level programming model (The FORTRAN Moment). Which can be used by more normal, average, non-elite technical teams to develop custom quantum applications. Also predicated on perfect logical qubits based on full, automatic, and transparent quantum error correction (QEC).
  1. The essential goal is to gain as widespread adoption of quantum computing as possible in the shortest amount of time.
  2. There will be many stages in the adoption of quantum computing.
  3. The first three stages will be critical and establish the initial widespread adoption and usage.
  4. The first stage will mark the first significant production-scale practical real-world quantum application.
  5. That initial success will be replicated and extended by numerous organizations.
  6. But, all of the stage 1 work will require super-elite technical teams, placing such efforts beyond the reach of most organizations.
  7. Full quantum error correction (QEC) will not be needed for Stage 1. Near-perfect qubits coupled with some minimal degree of manual error mitigation should be sufficient.
  8. Stage 1 will have a lot of visibility, but only minimal actual application results.
  9. The second stage, the deployment of configurable packaged quantum solutions, will mark the first wave of widespread adoption.
  10. Super-elite technical teams will still be required to design and create configurable packaged quantum solutions.
  11. But normal, average, non-elite technical teams at even average organizations will be able to configure and deploy those configurable packaged quantum solutions without any of the intensive quantum expertise that was needed to design and create those solutions. All of the quantum expertise lies buried deep under the hood of the configurable packaged quantum solutions.
  12. As with stage 1, full quantum error correction (QEC) will not be needed for Stage 2. Near-perfect qubits coupled with some minimal degree of manual error mitigation should be sufficient.
  13. A relatively modest collection of configurable packaged quantum solutions will be able to meet many of the quantum needs of a wide range of organizations. Certainly not all of their needs, but enough that quantum computing is now not only very visible but achieving a fairly high volume of very practical applications.
  14. What remains unaddressed after that second stage are custom applications.
  15. The third stage will finally enable non-elite technical teams to design, implement, and deploy full-custom quantum applications with literally no quantum expertise. As with configurable packaged quantum solutions, all of the hard-core quantum expertise lies buried deep under the hood of more advanced programming models, application frameworks, higher-level algorithmic building blocks, rich libraries, and even quantum-native programming languages, which enable non-elite professionals to develop solutions from scratch without the direct involvement or dependence on super-elite quantum professionals or even any quantum expertise.
  16. The third stage also ushers in the era of fault-tolerant quantum computing with perfect logical qubits which are enabled by full, automatic, and transparent quantum error correction (QEC).
  17. Even in stage 3, not all quantum applications will need quantum error correction. Some applications will run fine with only near-perfect qubits.
  18. Each stage builds on and extends the previous stage, so that by the third stage there will be a mix of very high-end applications designed and developed by super-elite technical teams, widespread deployment of configurable packaged quantum solutions, and a growing population of custom quantum applications based on fault-tolerant quantum computing and higher-level programming models.
  19. But it doesn’t end with these three stages. They are only the beginning, the start of widespread adoption, comparable to where classical computing was in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s — very impressive and widespread, but with an even brighter future in the years and decades ahead.
  20. Stage 3 won’t be unlike the confluence of the FORTRAN programming language and the transistor which really kicked classical computing into high gear in 1958.
  21. Each of these stages requires an increasing level of hardware capability. Some of that improved hardware gets used for raw performance and capacity, but a fair amount of it gets used to make it easier for non-elite technical teams to design and implement quantum solutions.
  22. Or, put another way, a decreasing level of quantum expertise is needed for successive stages.
  23. How quantum-inspired computing might fit into this staged model of adoption is an open question, but it does appear to have significant potential. I discuss some possibilities, but leave it as a separate exercise.
  24. When might all of this happen? Stage 1 (The ENIAC Moment) in two to four years, nominally in three years. Stage 2 (Configurable packaged quantum solutions) in another one to three years, three to seven years from now, nominally five years from now. Stage 3 (The FORTRAN Moment) in another two to four years, five to eleven years from now, nominally eight years from now. Or six to nine years from now on a looser basis. Those are all just wild but educated guesses.

The essential goal: Gain as widespread adoption of quantum computing as possible in the shortest amount of time

  • Gain as widespread adoption of quantum computing as possible in the shortest amount of time.
  1. Stage 1 is reasonably useful, at least for some niche applications and a relatively small number of organizations.
  2. Stage 2 is quite useful, for a broader range of applications and for a fairly wide range of organizations.
  3. Stage 3 is the broadest, deepest, and richest adoption, for an even broader range of organizations and for a deeper and richer set of applications.
  4. Beyond stage 3 gets incrementally broader, deeper, and richer over time.

Focus on production-scale practical real-world quantum applications

  1. Toy and small-scale algorithms and applications.
  2. Experimentation.
  3. Prototyping.
  4. Demonstration projects.
  5. Mockups.
  6. Proof of concept projects.
  7. Testing.
  8. Benchmarking.
  9. Evaluation.
  10. Education.
  11. Training.
  12. Familiarization.
  13. Research.

Comparing to adoption of classical computing

  1. Science.
  2. Engineering.
  3. Business.
  4. Government.

The three stages of adoption for quantum computing

  1. The ENIAC Moment. Hand-crafted applications. Very limited deployments. Relying on super-elite technical teams at only the most elite of organizations.
  2. Configurable packaged quantum solutions. Widespread deployments of a relatively few applications. Requires no quantum expertise.
  3. The FORTRAN Moment. Higher-level programming model. Widespread development of custom applications. No longer requires super-elite technical teams and is no longer limited to only the most elite of organizations.

Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3

  1. Stage 1. The ENIAC Moment.
  2. Stage 2. Configurable packaged quantum solutions.
  3. Stage 3. The FORTRAN Moment.

Reliance on super-elite technical professionals

Gradual declining of reliance on super-elite technical professionals

Stage 1 — The ENIAC Moment

Stage 2 — Configurable packaged quantum solutions

Stage 3 — The FORTRAN Moment

The FORTRAN Moment will herald widespread full-custom quantum algorithms and applications

  1. Advanced and high-level programming models.
  2. Higher-level algorithmic building blocks.
  3. True higher-level quantum programming languages.
  4. Application frameworks.
  5. Libraries.
  6. Perfect logical qubits based on full, automatic, and transparent quantum error correction (QEC).
  1. Remove the remaining obstacles and impediments to designing and developing custom quantum algorithms and applications.
  2. But… still require at least some degree of skill and expertise at design and development. Classical computing skills should be sufficient, but required.
  3. Open the door for much more widespread custom quantum algorithm and application development.
  4. But the need, benefits, and opportunities for configurable packaged quantum solutions will continue and remain dominant. Configurable packaged quantum solutions will likely remain dominant. Half to 80% of organizations may still prefer configurable packaged quantum solutions even though custom quantum algorithms and applications are now within reach.
  5. Custom quantum algorithms will expand the richness of applications in a typical organization.

Technical gating factors for each stage of adoption

  1. Level of sophistication of technical staff. To design and implement quantum algorithms and quantum applications.
  2. Hardware.
  3. Algorithms, applications, and software. Including architecture and software engineering.

Technical gating factors for Stage 1 (The ENIAC Moment)

  • Super-elite technical teams will be required to design, implement, and deploy quantum algorithms and applications in stage 1. Very deep quantum expertise required.
  • In short, quantum applications will be out of reach for normal, average, non-elite technical teams.
  • Extreme technical cleverness will be required. Especially to take advantage of very limited hardware.
  1. Qubit count. Somewhere in the range of 40 to 160.
  2. Qubit fidelity. Near-perfect qubits — generally four to five nines. Possibly 3.5 nines for some applications. Slim chance that three nines might be sufficient.
  3. Qubit connectivity. Significantly better than merely nearest-neighbor.
  4. Greater qubit coherence. To support deeper, more complex algorithms.
  5. Some degree of manual error mitigation.
  6. Finer granularity for phase and probability amplitude. Needed for quantum Fourier transform (QFT), quantum phase estimation (QPE), and quantum amplitude estimation (QAE).
  1. More sophisticated algorithms. Require elite technical teams.
  2. Automatically scalable algorithms. See next section.
  3. More sophisticated applications. Require elite technical teams.

Need for near-perfect qubits

Need for automatically scalable algorithms

  1. Use generative coding. To generate the algorithm and quantum circuit dynamically based on input size and parameters.
  2. Test on smaller systems. For small input data.
  3. Test on simulators up to 32–40 qubits. For a range of input data.
  4. Automatically analyze the algorithm to assure that it is scalable. Assure that it doesn’t use any coding patterns which don’t scale.

Technical gating factors for Stage 2 (Configurable packaged quantum solutions)

  • Although super-elite technical teams will be required to design and implement configurable packaged quantum solutions in stage 1, the adoption and deployment of such solutions can be performed by normal, average, non-elite technical teams. No quantum expertise required.
  • In short, the focus and essential need is for normal, average, non-elite technical teams. No quantum expertise required.
  • Extreme technical cleverness will be required for the super-elite teams who design and implement configurable packaged quantum solutions. Very deep quantum expertise required.
  • No technical cleverness will be required for the normal, average, non-elite technical teams who acquire, configure, and deploy those configurable packaged quantum solutions.
  1. Modest to moderate incremental improvements of hardware… No specific requirements overall, but each application will have its own requirements.
  2. Moderately more qubits.
  3. Moderately better qubit fidelity.
  4. Moderately better qubit connectivity.
  5. Moderately greater qubit coherence. To support deeper, more complex algorithms.
  6. Moderately finer granularity of phase and probability amplitude.
  1. More sophisticated algorithms. Generative coding.
  2. Sophisticated software architecture. Focus on software engineering rather than mere coding.
  3. Focus on resilience.
  4. Focus on configurability.

Technical gating factors for Stage 3 (The FORTRAN Moment)

  • Although super-elite technical teams will be required to design and implement the underlying technology, the adoption, design, implementation, and deployment of quantum applications which utilize that technology can be performed by normal, average, non-elite technical teams. Depth of required quantum expertise will be dramatically reduced.
  • In short, the focus and essential need is for normal, average, non-elite technical teams. Less focus on quantum expertise.
  1. Quantum error correction (QEC). Full, automatic, and transparent. Support perfect logical qubits.
  2. Much higher physical qubit count. Needed to support QEC and perfect logical qubits.
  3. General qubit improvements. Fidelity, connectivity, coherence for circuit depth, finer granularity of phase and probability amplitude. Although QEC will cover most of these needs, better physical qubits will lead to better logical qubits, and fewer physical qubits needed for each logical qubit.
  1. Improved programming models. Much higher level.
  2. High-level algorithmic building blocks. Much higher level. Richer functionality.
  3. True high-level quantum programming language. Native support for the higher-level programming models and algorithmic building blocks.
  4. Much more advanced algorithms.
  5. Application frameworks.
  6. Framework-based applications.
  7. Libraries.
  8. Analysis tools. To detect potential problems in quantum algorithms. Including coding patterns which are unlikely to scale well.

Even in stage 3, not all quantum applications will need quantum error correction

  1. High-end applications may require more qubits than are available as logical qubits.
  2. High-end applications may have higher performance requirements than offered by logical qubits.
  3. High-end applications may not need the additional qubit fidelity of perfect logical qubits.
  4. Configurable packaged quantum solutions will have been optimized to get by with near-perfect qubits and some manual error mitigation.
  5. Even some applications developed by non-elite technical staff may not require the additional qubit fidelity. Near-perfect qubits may be sufficient, enabling the applications to be run on smaller quantum computers, using physical qubits rather than logical qubits.

Stages of quantum advantage

  1. Minimal quantum advantage. Roughly 1,000X a classical solution.
  2. Substantial quantum advantage. Roughly 1,000,000X a classical solution.
  3. Dramatic quantum advantage. Roughly one quadrillion X a classical solution.
  1. The ENIAC Moment. Hopefully at least the lower-end of substantial quantum advantage, but possibly still somewhere in the range of minimal quantum advantage. Dramatic quantum advantage is a real possibility, but not highly likely or probable.
  2. Configurable packaged quantum solutions. Well within the range of substantial quantum advantage, but hopefully at least some applications are achieving dramatic quantum advantage.
  3. The FORTRAN Moment. Dramatic quantum advantage is readily within reach of all applications which utilize sufficient quantum parallelism (at least 50 qubits in a single parallel quantum computation — 2⁵⁰ = one quadrillion parallel operations), but some applications may only use enough quantum parallelism to achieve only substantial quantum advantage or even only minimal quantum advantage. It almost purely depends on the size of the solution space being evaluated by the quantum computation.

Expectations after the advent of stage 1

  1. Copycat applications. The same exact application from different vendors and other sources and customers.
  2. Derivative applications. Almost identical but incremental differences.
  3. Applications with complexity comparable to the initial stage 1 application. Distinct applications, but the initial stage 1 application blazed the trail and showed the way.
  4. Incrementally more complex than the initial stage 1 application. Each new application will reach a little further.
  5. Incremental hardware advances enable incrementally more complex applications.
  6. But all of this will continue to require super-elite technical teams. Putting development of such applications out of the reach of most organizations.

Expectations after the advent of stage 2

  1. Copycat configurable packaged quantum solutions. The same exact solution (at least functionally equivalent) but from different vendors and other sources.
  2. Derivative configurable packaged quantum solutions. Almost identical but incremental differences.
  3. Solutions with complexity comparable to the initial configurable packaged quantum solution. Distinct solutions, but the initial configurable packaged quantum solution blazed the trail and showed the way.
  4. Incrementally more complex than the initial configurable packaged quantum solution. Each new solution will reach a little further.
  5. Incremental hardware advances enable incrementally more complex solutions.
  6. Super-elite (or even merely elite) technical teams won’t be required for most organizations. Only those organizations designing and creating configurable packaged quantum solutions will require super-elite technical teams.
  7. Still occasional stage 1-style applications. Very high complexity. Super-elite technical teams required.

Expectations after the advent of stage 3

  1. Copycat applications. The same exact applications but from different customers. As well as derivative applications (almost identical but incremental differences.)
  2. Derivative applications. Almost identical but incremental differences.
  3. Applications with complexity comparable to the initial stage 3 applications. Distinct applications, but the initial high-level applications blazed the trail and showed the way.
  4. Incrementally more complex than the initial stage 3 applications. Each new application will reach a little further and become a little richer.
  5. Incremental hardware advances enable incrementally more complex applications.
  6. Most applications won’t require elite technical teams.
  7. Some applications will require semi-elite technical teams. Greater complexity.
  8. Few applications will still require super-elite technical teams. Very high-end. Very high-performance. Comparable to the effort that went into stage 1, but a much higher degree of complexity.
  9. Configurable packaged quantum solutions will still drive bulk of adoption. Ongoing sweet spot for widespread adoption. A broader and richer collection of configurable packaged quantum solutions will be developed, marketed, and deployed for the bread and butter applications that don’t require custom applications.

What stage are we at now?

Stage 0 — where we are today — pre-commercialization

  1. Primarily focused on research.
  2. Lots of academic research papers, but little of practical utility. Somewhat limited by current hardware. But also limited by lack of off-the-shelf algorithms that will be ready to go when the stage 1 hardware is available.
  3. Familiarization. Working with algorithms and applications not with any intended purpose other than simply to become familiar with the technology.
  4. Small, toy algorithms and applications. Nothing serious. Nothing that fully solves any production-scale practical real-world problems. A desire and initial effort to move beyond simple familiarization.
  5. Modest niche applications. They do do something practical, but not of any great complexity. No significant or dramatic quantum advantage. With the one exception of generating random numbers, which even the simplest of quantum computers can do very well.
  6. Experimentation. Trying things to see where they lead or as attempts to achieve some goal.
  7. Prototyping. More serious attempt to produce something resembling a product. Or at least portions of a product.
  8. Demonstration. Of capabilities. Or possibly a product. Suitable for presentation for review by others.
  9. Proof of concept projects. Determine what is actually feasible.
  10. No production-scale practical real-world quantum applications.
  11. No production-scale quantum algorithms.
  12. Educational.
  13. Training.
  14. Minimal standardized high-level algorithmic building blocks.
  15. Great plans, expectations, and promises for the future. But not delivered any time soon.
  16. Limited hardware. Limited qubit count. Limited qubit fidelity. Limited qubit connectivity. Limited qubit coherence and circuit depth. Coarse granularity of phase and probability amplitude. Limited ability to support quantum Fourier transform (QFT), quantum phase estimation (QPE), and quantum amplitude estimation (QAE).
  17. No significant quantum advantage. Essentially no quantum advantage at all, other than generating random numbers.

Need to avoid premature commercialization

Where are all of the 40-qubit algorithms?

Timing of the stages

  1. Stage 1 — The ENIAC Moment. Two to four years from now. Nominally three years from now.
  2. Stage 2 — Configurable packaged quantum solutions. One to three years after The ENIAC Moment. Three to seven years from now. Nominally five years from now.
  3. Stage 3. The FORTRAN Moment. Two to four years after the advent of configurable packaged quantum solutions. Five to eleven years from now. Nominally eight years from now. Or six to nine years from now on a looser basis.

Lessons from the evolution of classical computing

  1. Improvements to the transistor. Smaller, faster, cheaper, more reliable.
  2. Operating systems.
  3. Minicomputers.
  4. High-speed and high-capacity computing.
  5. Real-time and avionics computing. High-performance aircraft. Missiles. Rockets and spacecraft.
  6. Small-scale integrated circuits.
  7. Medium-scale integrated circuits.
  8. Large-scale integrated circuits.
  9. Multics, UNIX. More sophisticated operating systems.
  10. Semiconductor memory. Quickly replacing core memory.
  11. Microprocessors.
  12. Electronic calculators.
  13. Personal computers.
  14. Very large-scale integrated circuits.
  15. Network interface computers. ARPANET.
  16. Network routers.
  17. Workstations. High-speed, high-capacity, very interactive, large displays.
  18. Graphical user interfaces.
  19. High-speed and high-capacity networked server computers.
  20. Productivity applications.
  21. Personal computing applications.
  22. Office applications.
  23. Email.
  24. Internet.
  25. World Wide Web.
  26. Media. Audio. Video. Images.
  27. Web applications.
  28. Smart phones.
  29. Tablets.
  30. Wearable computers.
  31. Internet of Things.
  32. And so much more.

Beyond stage 3 — stage 4, stage 5, stage 6

  1. Hardware. Better, faster, higher-capacity, higher-fidelity, more reliable, cheaper, smaller.
  2. Programming models.
  3. Algorithmic building blocks.
  4. Algorithms.
  5. Support software.
  6. Merging of quantum and classical computing. Evolution towards a universal quantum computer.
  7. Networking and distributed quantum processing.
  8. Integration of quantum sensing, imaging, and computing.
  9. Quantum storage.
  10. Applications.
  11. Quantum personal computing.
  12. Quantum general artificial intelligence.
  1. Stage 4. Hundreds of logical qubits. Or 1,000 near-perfect qubits.
  2. Stage 5. Thousands of logical qubits. Or 50,000 near-perfect qubits.
  3. Stage 6. Millions of logical qubits. Or millions of near-perfect qubits.
  1. Hundreds of logical qubits. Or thousands of near-perfect qubits.
  2. Thousands of logical qubits. Or hundreds of thousands of near-perfect qubits.
  3. One Million logical qubits. Or tens of millions of near-perfect qubits.
  1. 9 nines.
  2. 12 nines.
  3. 15 nines.
  1. Billions of gradations.
  2. Trillions of gradations.
  3. Quadrillions of gradations. Begs the question of what is actually theoretically possible — is there some Planck-level minimum unit of angle?

And even beyond stage 6 — to stage 10 and beyond

  1. C1.0 — Reached The ENIAC Moment. All of the pieces are in place.
  2. C1.5 — Reached multiple ENIAC Moments.
  3. C2.0 — First configurable packaged quantum solution.
  4. C2.5 — Reached multiple configurable packaged quantum solutions. And maybe or hopefully finally achieve full, dramatic quantum advantage somewhere along the way as well.
  5. C3.0 — Quantum Error Correction (QEC) and logical qubits. Very small number of logical qubits.
  6. C3.5 — Incremental improvements to QEC and increases in logical qubit capacity.
  7. C4.0 — Reached The FORTRAN Moment. And maybe full, dramatic quantum advantage as well.
  8. C4.5 — Widespread custom applications based on QEC, logical qubits, and FORTRAN Moment programming model. Presumption that full, dramatic quantum advantage is the norm by this stage.
  9. C5.0 — The BASIC Moment. Much easier to develop more modest applications. Anyone can develop a quantum application achieving dramatic quantum advantage.
  10. C5.5 — Ubiquitous quantum computing ala personal computing.
  11. C6.0 — More general AI, although not full AGI.
  12. C7.0 — Quantum networking. Networked quantum state.
  13. C8.0 — Integration of quantum sensing and quantum imaging with quantum computing. Real-time quantum image processing.
  14. C9.0 — Incremental advances along the path to a mature technology.
  15. C10.0 — Universal quantum computer. Merging full classical computing.

Need for ongoing research

What is quantum expertise?

  1. Raw native intellect. Natural mental capacity and abilities to work with concepts, abstractions, and details.
  2. Formal education. Physics, quantum chemistry, mathematics, computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, engineering in general.
  3. Technical education. All aspects of technology related to quantum computing.
  4. Specialized training. Specific technologies, specific products, specific methods, specific tools.
  5. Quantum mindset. A general awareness and intuition about quantum effects.
  6. Quantum experience. Actual experience using quantum technologies and exposure to work which is based on quantum effects.
  7. Quantum expertise. The whole package of raw native intellect, education, training, and experience which an individual, team, or organization brings to the table for projects which have a significant quantum aspect.
  8. Quantum-trained. Individuals, teams, and organizations whose raw native intellect, education, training, knowledge, skill, expertise, and experience in quantum effects, quantum technologies, and quantum computing qualify them to work on projects with a significant quantum aspect.
  9. Elite. A much more select set of individuals, teams, and organizations whose raw native intellect, education, training, knowledge, skill, expertise, and experience in quantum effects, quantum technologies, and quantum computing are well beyond what is typical for individuals, teams, and organizations who work in the quantum field. Well above the average for the quantum-trained.
  10. Super-elite. An even more select set of individuals, teams, and organizations whose quantum knowledge and expertise are far beyond what is typical for even elite quantum professionals, teams, and organizations.
  11. Quantum Aware. A much broader set of individuals, teams, and organizations whose raw native intellect, education, training, knowledge, skill, expertise, and experience in quantum effects, quantum technologies, and quantum computing are far more limited than the elite, but they do possess a general awareness of the concepts of quantum computing. May or may not be quantum-trained.
  12. Quantum Ready. A more select set of individuals, teams, and organizations whose raw native intellect, education, training, knowledge, skill, expertise, and experience in quantum effects, quantum technologies, and quantum computing are much more limited than the elite, but much more sophisticated and useful than those who are merely Quantum Aware. More likely to be quantum-trained.

What is the potential for quantum-inspired computing?

Model for stages of adoption for a new technology

  1. Ignorance. No clue as to the existence of the new technology.
  2. Glimmer. The new technology catches your eye, somehow.
  3. Awareness. Starting to think about it.
  4. Initial reaction. Form an opinion — good, bad, neutral, indifferent, lukewarm, or whatever.
  5. Resistance/Denial. Feeling it’s an undesirable distraction and has no credible value. Could deny relevance, significance, or importance.
  6. Acknowledgment. Recognize that it does have some value.
  7. Familiarization. Informally coming up to speed on the new technology.
  8. Knowledge. Learn about it. In detail.
  9. Evaluation. Experimentation and prototyping to learn more about the technology in action, not just the theory on paper.
  10. Acceptance. Know enough to accept that it really is a viable proposition.
  11. Conviction. Strong feeling about its value.
  12. Commitment. You’re hooked.
  13. Adoption decision. Explicit decision to follow through on commitment. Make it happen. The decision to make it happen, coupled with everything that follows needed to make it actually happen.
  14. Prioritize. Even if committed, how high a priority will it be?
  15. Advance planning. General scoping of the issue. Overview of what needs to be done and what it will take to do it, and how to go about it.
  16. Budgeting. Add it to the budget — targeted at some chosen time in the future.
  17. Funding. The money is actually available to spend.
  18. Planning. The details of making it happen. From strategic planning to fine details. Vision. Mission. Values. Strategic objectives. Strategy. Tactics.
  19. Staffing. Recruiting and assigning members to the team.
  20. Education and training. Formally coming up to speed on the new technology. The underlying technology.
  21. Design. The technical details of utilization of the technology.
  22. Implementation. Realizing the technical details.
  23. Development. Including both design and implementation. And testing and validation. Including performance testing, performance characterization, and benchmarking.
  24. Validation. Everything required to test and confirm that the technology really does work as claimed.
  25. Deployment. Making it available to users and customers.
  26. Customer and user education and training. Formally supporting customers and users to come up to speed on using the deployed new technology.
  27. Access. Actually putting it in people’s hands.
  28. Usage. People are actually using it.
  29. Customer support and engagement. Assuring that real users can actually use it and use it effectively.
  30. Ecosystem development. Nurturing all of the partners and allied technologies that support and enable the new technology.
  31. Realization of potential. And business value. People can finally actually see its value in action — they experience its value. The whole point of adoption in the first place.
  32. Maintenance. Sometimes things go wrong or break, or something changes.
  33. Enhancement and renewal. Always striving to do more and do it better.
  34. Evolution. Rinse and repeat on major changes. Each required a new decision and new commitment and new follow-through.
  35. Evangelism. Raise awareness in others.
  36. Obsolescence. Loss of relevance. Or, no longer delivers value or sufficient value.
  37. Retirement. Eventually something replaces it, so it’s no longer needed. Or, it’s no longer needed even if nothing replaces it.
  38. Historical. A record of what transpired and why. The results. An analysis and critique.

Original proposed topic

  • Three stages of adoption for quantum computing: The ENIAC Moment, configurable packaged quantum solutions, and The FORTRAN Moment. The initial stage of adoption — The ENIAC Moment — for quantum computing solutions relies on super-elite STEM professionals using a wide range of tricks and supreme cleverness to achieve solutions. For example, manual error mitigation. The second stage — configurable packaged quantum solutions — also relies on similar super-elite professionals to create frameworks for solutions which can then be configured by non-elite professionals to achieve solutions. Those non-elite professionals are able to prepare their domain-specific input data in a convenient form compatible with their non-elite capabilities, but not have to comprehend or even touch the underlying quantum algorithms or code. The final stage — The FORTRAN Moment — relies on a much more advanced and high-level programming model, application frameworks, and libraries, as well as logical qubits based on full, automatic, and transparent quantum error correction to enable non-elite professionals to develop solutions from scratch without the direct involvement or dependence on super-elite professionals.

Summary and conclusions

  1. The essential goal is to gain as widespread adoption of quantum computing as possible in the shortest amount of time.
  2. There will be many stages in the adoption of quantum computing.
  3. The first three stages will be critical and establish the initial widespread adoption and usage.
  4. The first stage, The ENIAC Moment, will mark the first significant production-scale practical real-world quantum application.
  5. That initial success will be replicated and extended.
  6. But, all of the stage 1 work will require super-elite technical teams, placing such efforts beyond the reach of most organizations.
  7. Full quantum error correction (QEC) will not be needed for Stage 1. Near-perfect qubits coupled with some minimal degree of manual error mitigation should be sufficient.
  8. Stage 1 will have a lot of visibility, but only minimal actual application results. No widespread usage, but a necessary technical milestone.
  9. The second stage, the deployment of configurable packaged quantum solutions, will mark the first wave of widespread adoption.
  10. Super-elite technical teams will still be required to design and create configurable packaged quantum solutions.
  11. But normal, average, non-elite technical teams at even average organizations will be able to configure and deploy those configurable packaged quantum solutions without any of the intensive quantum expertise that was needed to design and create those solutions. All of the quantum expertise lies buried deep under the hood of the configurable packaged quantum solutions.
  12. As with stage 1, full quantum error correction (QEC) will not be needed for Stage 2. Near-perfect qubits coupled with some minimal degree of manual error mitigation should be sufficient.
  13. A relatively modest collection of configurable packaged quantum solutions will be able to meet many of the quantum needs of a wide range of organizations. Certainly not all of their needs, but enough that quantum computing is now not only very visible but achieving a fairly high volume of very practical applications.
  14. What remains unaddressed after that second stage is custom applications.
  15. The third stage, The FORTRAN Moment, finally enables non-elite technical teams to design, implement, and deploy full-custom quantum applications with literally no quantum expertise. As with configurable packaged quantum solutions, all of the hard-core quantum expertise lies buried deep under the hood of more advanced programming models, application frameworks, higher-level algorithmic building blocks, rich libraries, and even quantum-native programming languages, which enable non-elite professionals to develop solutions from scratch without the direct involvement or dependence on super-elite quantum professionals or even any quantum expertise.
  16. The third stage also ushers in the era of fault-tolerant quantum computing with perfect logical qubits which are enabled by full, automatic, and transparent quantum error correction.
  17. Even in stage 3, not all quantum applications will need quantum error correction. Some applications will run fine with only near-perfect qubits.
  18. Each stage builds on and extends the previous stage, so that by the third stage there will be a mix of very high-end applications designed and developed by super-elite technical teams, widespread deployment of configurable packaged quantum solutions, and a growing population of custom quantum applications based on fault-tolerant quantum computing and higher-level programming models.
  19. But it doesn’t end with these three stages. They are only the beginning, the start of widespread adoption, comparable to where classical computing was in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s — very impressive and widespread, but with an even brighter future in the years and decades ahead.
  20. Stage 3 won’t be unlike the confluence of the FORTRAN programming language and the transistor which really kicked classical computing into high gear in 1958.
  21. Each of these stages requires an increasing level of hardware capability. Some of that improved hardware gets used for raw performance and capacity, but a fair amount of it gets used to make it easier for non-elite technical teams to design and implement quantum solutions.
  22. Or, put another way, a decreasing level of quantum expertise is needed for successive stages.
  23. How quantum-inspired computing might fit into this staged model of adoption is an open question, but it does appear to have significant potential. I discuss some possibilities, but leave it as a separate exercise.
  24. When might all of this happen? Stage 1 (The ENIAC Moment) in two to four years, nominally in three years. Stage 2 (Configurable packaged quantum solutions) in another one to three years, three to seven years from now, nominally five years from now. Stage 3 (The FORTRAN Moment) in another two to four years, five to eleven years from now, nominally eight years from now. Or six to nine years from now on a looser basis. Those are all just wild but educated guesses.

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Freelance Consultant

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Jack Krupansky

Jack Krupansky

Freelance Consultant

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