Reading the Book of Informatics recently, I realized that, sooner or later, our present-generation computing will reach the limit of its processing capabilities. The black and white of computing may give way to a grey amalgam. The super-computing of the future—quantum computing—once thought to be an impossible technology, is slowly gaining some level of acceptance.
While currently primarily experimental, quantum supremacy will be a reality in a matter of years. The big question I see: How is quantum computing different and what does it offer for the utilities industry?
How is quantum different?
I describe quantum computing as a concept which can perform calculations exponentially quicker than even the fastest computers known today. We all are aware of how classical computing uses binary bits - 0 or 1, true or false, or positive or negative. In a quantum computer, the fundamental bit is called a “quantum bit” or “qubit”. Contrary to Classical computing, a qubit can represent states as 0 or 1 or a “superposition” of both (partly 0 and partly 1) at the same time. Another key feature of quantum computing, “entanglement”, describes a strong correlation between two or more particles linked together in a way that a change in the state of one particle is reflected instantly in the other, even at great distances. The combination of superposition and entanglement enables a quantum computer to process a massive number of calculations simultaneously.
Also, Optimization and exponential scaling are the two primary aspects of quantum that enable them to make much more precise predictions than classical computers.
What does quantum offer for utilities?
Let’s explore some areas where the power of quantum computing can help address complex business challenges such as grid stability and reliability, predictive modelling and grid security.
As if artificial intelligence was not transformational enough on its own, the power of quantum computing in AI could create a new era of competitiveness – and it’s clearly one of several disruptive technologies expected to usher in the “5th generation” of computing where mass parallel processing will be done using AI and intricate mathematical models.
I’ll share more about how we can build the technology expertise to work in the new era of quantum computing in a future blog post.