When Will Quantum Computing Advance Beyond Mere Laboratory Curiosity?

What is a laboratory curiosity?

Criteria from the definition of laboratory curiosity

Summary of how quantum computing stacks up relative to these criteria

Short answer: Not soon

Decent progress, but…

Much research is needed

More lab time is needed

When Will Quantum Computing Have Its ENIAC Moment?

Maybe an ENIAC moment for each application category

When Will Quantum Computing Have Its FORTRAN Moment?

ENIAC was still a laboratory curiosity

Possibly between the ENIAC and FORTRAN moments

The proof point for quantum computing

A few good applications

What can’t a quantum computer compute?

No, not all compute-intensive applications are appropriate for quantum computing

Intellectual property (IP) — boon or bane?

Open source is essential

Not yet a candidate for release from the lab

Yes, quantum computing remains a mere laboratory curiosity

No, quantum computing is not ready for prime-time production-scale applications

Hedge: Maybe some narrow niche applications

All of this could change with just a few key breakthroughs

Moment of truth — imminent deployment

Actual deployment vs. mere intent

Evaluation of deployment

Okay, but When?

Milestones from today to post-laboratory curiosity

Moore’s law for qubits

Quantum ready

Quantum insurance

Setting expectations

Papers, books, conferences, conventions, trade shows, seminars, online communities, and meetups

Quantum volume

Beyond success of consultants

Critical mass of interest, but…

Need a critical mass of technology

Technological deficits

The greatest challenges for quantum computing are hardware and algorithms

Not clear what the ideal qubit technology will be

The ideal qubit technology has not been invented yet

Hybrid applications — how best to blend quantum and classical computing

Google — no commercial machine yet

Microsoft and Intel — no machines yet

Honeywell — an initial splash, but follow-through needed

Rigetti — losing steam?

IonQ — some initial progress, but waiting for follow-through

IBM — lots of machines, but still too limited

Other machine vendors

How many qubits does a production system need?

Subsidiary technologies

Need a critical mass of algorithms and applications

Need a critical mass of algorithmic building blocks

Need a critical mass of design patterns

Need a critical mass of application frameworks

Is NISQ an obstacle?

Is quantum error correction needed?

What if quantum error correction is required?

Gate fidelity is important

What algorithm advances are needed?

Quantum advantage

Need benchmarks for quantum advantage

Quantum advantage is mandatory

There’s no point to quantum computing without quantum advantage

Quantum supremacy

Didn’t Google achieve quantum supremacy?

Which application category will be first to achieve quantum advantage for a production-scale application?

When will a practical algorithm be implemented for more than 32 qubits?

Quantum advantage today: true random number generation

Need for higher performance quantum simulators

Need for a new model for design of scalable algorithms

Need to move beyond the lunatic fringe of early adopters

How scalable is your quantum algorithm or application?

Do we need a universal quantum computer?

Quantum computer as a coprocessor

Tools and support software are essential

Need for Principles of Operation documentation and specifications

Need for detailed personas, use cases, access patterns

How are companies using quantum computing today?

Isn’t Monte Carlo simulation good enough for most applications?

Quantum-inspired algorithms

What about D-Wave Systems?

Is money a significant issue at all?

Is more venture capital needed?

Limited talent pool

Repurpose existing technical talent

Obsession over Grover search algorithm even though not exponential advantage

Shor’s algorithm is still cited and treated as if it was already implemented even though very impractical

Can we expect quantum computing to cure cancer, hunger, poverty, and inequality?

Never underestimate the power of human cleverness and intuition

Would Rip Van Winkle miss much if he slept for the next 2 years? 5 years?

Will two or three years be enough? Very unlikely

Some say three to five years, but I don’t see it

Five years? Outside possibility, but still unlikely

Seven years? Maybe, if researchers finally get their acts together

Ten years? One would hope, but on the verge of being a zombie technology

Fifteen years? Seems like a slam dunk, but you never know

Twenty years? If not by then, maybe never?

Prospect of a quantum winter?

Mixed messages from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Ethical considerations

Regulatory considerations


What’s next?



Freelance Consultant

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