We had a pleasure of organizing a quantum computing webinar together with VTT April 21st. Our excellent speakers Mikko Möttönen Associate Professor of Quantum Computing from VTT and Aalto University, David Gunnarsson from Bluefors and Jan Goetz from IQM Quantum Computers shared their insights and experiences to a truly global audience. We have listed all the webinar questions and answers here.
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Quantum technology and industry
Do you think tensor network will have a chance in the big picture?
Mikko: Machine learning and quantum computers will likely benefit a lot from each other in the future.
What would you recommend for software companies or software engineers to do to be the part of quantum computing industry? Which path should they follow?
Jan: Being curious about the solutions in the quantum world is a good start. There are many initiatives to get used to quantum algorithms and how to program a quantum computer.
Mikko: I think that working together with universities to grow the IP and working together with hardware companies to connect to the business is a good approach. There are many newbies in the business of quantum and I think that the big issue is to understand that by making partnerships, you have to always give up something. Be flexible when it comes to IP and think that how can you make an impact together with your partners instead of trying to take it all (since the latter approach leads to having nothing in the end).
How will the developments around Quantum Computing influence Blockchain Technology? What quantum computers bring for the blockchain encryptions regarding security?
Jan: Security is one of the fields that needs a very large-scale quantum computer, which is still far away from the current implementations. This is the reason why the field is more focusing on applications in chemistry, machine learning, and optimization, for example in finance.
What is the highest temperature at which QC has been demonstrated?
Jan: I am not sure that it is the highest temperature but some devices work even at room temperature. However, the temperature is typically not the limiting factor in quantum experiments.
Mikko: Yes, I am not aware that anybody is trying to break the record of having as high temperature as possible. Just keep your stuff as cool as conveniently possible.
Who will be impacted the most by quantum computing in the short term?/ What business sector do you think will be impacted first by large-scale quantum computing? What you perceive to be the 1-2 top use cases for business in different industries (banking, logistics, etc)? Also, any grid-quantum-computing possibilities/trials?
Jan: Quantum computing has the potential to disrupt almost every industry either directly or indirectly. Early applications are foreseen in material science, finance, and machine learning.
Does quantum computing in your opinion affect data storing? If yes, how? / Anyone who can elaborate on data storage and improvements by quantum in storage schema
Jan: At the moment the field is focusing heavily on building quantum processing units. Integrating quantum storage to it is still an academic effort.
Mikko: This will take a long time, but eventually, I think that this will be the case. Quantum provides a way to encrypt data such that it will be impossible to decrypt without knowing the key. If one attempts and fails many time, the data will be destroyed.
The worldwide investment and development are impressive. What do you think: When will quantum computers be able to break currently common encryption methods?
Jan: Current encryption methods will not be broken in the next few years. However, it is important that large organizations start now changing to so-called quantum save encryption methods.
Can you describe the software role and is there room for that in the ecosystem.
Jan: Software is an integral part of the quantum computer stack. We always need strong partners to develop strong software solutions for quantum computers.
Where do you currently have more demand for your cryogenics in terms of the continent?
David: We are selling worldwide and all markets are currently strong, with large markets in US, Asia and Europe.
How’s quantum computing is helpful than the neuromorphic computing?
Mikko: Neuromorphic computing uses classical logic and thus does not have access to quantum speed-up… except for neuromorphic quantum computing but that is not probably what you meant.
Are there currently use cases for Airlines to utilize quantum computing to optimize flight path planning and scheduling, resulting in significant cost savings.
Jan: Yes, there are studies from the aviation sector. For example, Lufthansa seems to be working on this topic.
How do you think different kinds of quantum computation compare: SiV center, superconducting circuits, ion-trap, topological quantum computing, etc? Do different kinds of quantum computation prove promising for different applications?
Jan: Currently the superconducting technology is the only one that has achieved quantum supremacy. In the NISQ era different approaches might have benefits in different fields. For example superconducting processors operate quite fast compared to other technologies. This helps if you have to average a lot and also for feedback applications.
Anti-Bitcoiners go crazy about the power consumption on PoW consensus mechanism. Do you believe that power consumption can become a bottleneck on the wider market adoption for Quantum Computing?
Jan: Compared to large supercomputers, quantum computers consume less energy. Typically it is in the kilowatt regime. In addition, you might save energy when you achieve a computational speedup such that the energy consumption is active for a shorter time.
Mikko: In most cases that we know, quantum computers solve the computational problems with much less energy because much less computation is needed thanks to the logical shortcuts.
Are you not worried about the new research that talks of ‘hot’ qubits?
David: Thank you for the question. The hot qubits are great achievement as they allow for direct integration with the control logic at cryogenic temperatures. Even at 1.5K, these devices will require large cryogenic infrastructure to operate and the step from dilution refrigerators are not very large. So no, I’m not worried.
Jan: This recent work is for sure of high scientific quality and must be acknowledged. However, cryogenics is not the limiting factor at the moment. The main focus of the field is to build better qubits and not “hotter” qubits.
ECOSYSTEM, INSTITUTIONS AND COLLABORATION
Have you already checked out Quantum Inspire? QI is Europe’s first public quantum computing platform and it is free to access. www.quantum-inspire.com.
Jan: Yes this is one of the great public initiatives to strengthen the European quantum ecosystem. Another one for example is OpenSuperQ. We definitely need more effort in this direction.
Can you list some of the institutions in Finland where one can study quantum computing?
Mikko: Aalto University, University of Turku, and the University of Jyväskylä at least have some teaching. Aalto University has a full BSc major in Quantum Technology
Do you plan to launch a quantum computing platform in Finland as Qutech from the Netherlands just did?
Jan: We have a focused effort in Finland to build a quantum computer where several organizations such as VTT Technical Research Center, CSC IT Center for Science, Aalto University, University of Turku, IQM and others are involved.
Do you have any part-time job openings for students who would like to do their Master’s degree in Aalto University?
Mikko: For students studying in Finland, we can hire full time for three months in the summer and six months any time to do the thesis. Part-time job is in principle possible during the term, but strongly discouraged because one needs to focus on the studies 100% to be successful. For PhD student positions and postdocs in this field, there are plenty of open positions.
With so many international companies in the webinar, how do they go about participating in the Finnish quantum computing ecosystems?
Jan: We are constantly interacting with international companies. Our main motivation is to (a) find partners to build better quantum computers and (b) find partners to identify and solve problems with quantum computers.
Do you have common goals with 6g flagship center?
Jan: We are not actively partnering with them yet. Having said that, there is certainly common interest from a technology point of view. For example in the field of new electronics through new materials.
Do you have any connections and/or collaboration with Quantum Valley in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada?
Jan: The quantum world is small and many people know each other from conferences, etc. We currently don’t have any direct partnerships.
QUESTIONS TO IQM
Does IQM already have a working Quantum Computer prototype capable of proven Quantum speedup? If so, how many Qubits does it utilise?
Jan: We are currently working on our first prototypes which most likely don’t reach a computational speedup yet. Reaching quantum supremacy is one of our technical milestones.
What is roughly the size of the whole system supposed to be? How many qubits is currently developing?
Jan: Current quantum computers based on superconducting technology have a size of a small room. These systems can potentially host thousands of qubits. The size of the machine is currently not determined by the number of qubits but by the electronics and the cooling devices.
Does IQM deal with quantum annealing?
Jan: We are building gate-based quantum computers and not annealers. We are also developing the concept of digital-analogue quantum computing further.
Any platform to access IQM quantum computers
Jan: We are working on it.
Thank you for all the webinar participants for active discussion!
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