“What are my best applications of quantum computing?”
That’s a question that’s top of mind for any organization exploring quantum computing and it’s value.
Chances are, right after you ask that question, you’ll get a variety of responses. Some will diss all the hype and proclaim quantum computing to be fake news, some will point to this super cool algorithm you can try today on a quantum computer.
Others may zoom in to offer you time on a real quantum computer (QPU) so you can try it yourself. You may also get a list of quantum applications that experts have defined as the best options for quantum systems.
The reality is that your best applications of quantum computing are unique to your organization. You can’t one size fits all applications of quantum computing across industries, or within industries. Every business is unique in the insights it needs to make the best possible decisions.
Which means you need to answer the question for yourself, based on your organization, your current applications and computational needs. Not to mention your willingness to invest big money for quantum experts, or your risk aversion to such investments just to explore your quantum computing potential.
Your Applications of Quantum Computing
In the first phase of our Path 2 Quantum framework, we work with customers to be sure we ask the right questions up front to identify their best applications of quantum computing, or what we call quantum-possible use cases.
Thinking through these questions provides a structure for your initial exploration of quantum computing value. You do not just identify your best applications. Rather, you identify the criteria for selection, the process, the prioritization methods and a path to defining completely new applications of quantum computing that don’t exist in your organization today.
Following are a few of the key questions we ask our customers as we begin to work together to identify their best quantum possible applications and use cases.
How do you select your quantum-possible use cases?
This is a great question to ask before you start, and again after you identify your best quantum-possible opportunities. How are you going to select them? Based on what your market says is best? Through research into what others are doing in your market? By the way, both of those approaches mean you’re following vs leading your competitors. Which means you might want to do your own research and find trusted advisors to help you define your best approaches.
How do you know which are the best opportunities? What criteria are you using? Which are feasible?
Once you select your quantum-possible use cases, you need to define which ones are truly potential applications of quantum computing. Not all potential use cases actually will become quantum applications.
The best approach is to first define the criteria that point to the most likely quantum opportunities, aspects including complexity, size of problem, opportunity for more accurate results, opportunity for accelerated timeframes for results.
There’s also the potential upside the use case can enjoy from having a diversity of results vs a single answer as in today’s system. For example, many optimization problems will benefit from quantum diversity of results… empowering users to see all the answers that solve their challenge in a way that lets them select the best solution for that specific situation, which may offer insights beyond that single answer with only a minor difference in the results’ ranking.
What process are you using to fully evaluate them?
Since quantum computing is in its early stages, some believe that you can’t get value at all. That’s not true. Now is the perfect time to begin to explore the power of quantum computing using smaller “models” of your current problems and computations.
That means you need a process to define the steps and approaches you’ll take to create those smaller ‘model’ problems, how (and if) you’ll develop the software to process them, what quantum computers you will process them on for multi-system exploration etc.
You’ll also want to be sure that you explore a complete problem vs just testing an algorithm alone. You’ll also want to be sure you define how you’ll analyze the results and abstract them to apply to your full real world opportunity.
How do you prioritize these use cases?
You may find a number of potential applications of quantum computing within your organization. So how do you prioritize which ones to begin to explore first, which ones can bring the most value in the nearest time frame, which ones will take more investment of resources and time etc.
That’s not an easy question to answer, which is why working with a knowledgeable quantum consulting team can help you dive deeper into the effort and cost associated with each option.
The Bottom Line
Quantum computing is accelerating faster than we expected. The QPU vendors are delivering innovation in a rapid fashion. Some QPUs are much more limited by number of qubits and error correction than others, based on their architecture. But there’s no doubt, quantum is accelerating and it’s time to begin exploration.
We’re learning more and more every day. With the right approach, you can begin to identify and work with your current use cases to get a clear perspective about which applications of quantum computing are the best for your initial focus and investment.
By starting now, you’ll create an opportunity for competitive advantage.