Will quantum computing seem like reading the future? In the Financial Times, Izabella Kaminska reports that as quantum computing approaches, banks are preparing for the “super powers” the technology will give them. She writes:
If you had a sports almanac from the future as did Biff Tannen, the brutish bully of the time-travelling Back to the Future movie trilogy, how might you be inclined to take advantage of the foresight buried within it?
The obvious temptation would be to place sure bets in the market that make you rich. In Biff’s case, the wealth is then used to change the world into a dystopian reality in which he himself exists as “America’s greatest living hero”.
That sort of thing used to be considered fiction. But the dawn of so-called “supremacy” of quantum computing over conventional technology raises the possibility that one day soon someone might be able to effectively see into the future.
This is because quantum computers, when they become fully capable, are likely to be uniquely good at crunching probability scenarios. They are based on the mysterious world of quantum physics. Quantum bits or qubits are the basic units of information in quantum computers. Unlike the binary bits of traditional computing, which must be either zero or one, qubits can be both at the same time.
This gives quantum computers super powers that will allow them to solve probability-based tasks that would previously have been impossibly hard for conventional counterparts in realistic timeframes. If the problem at hand was a game of football, adding quantum computers to the mix is like allowing footballers to use their hands to get the ball into the net, say quantum experts.
It’s a prospect that poses an entire new set of challenges for market regulators and participants. If super quantum computers really can help institutions see into the future, the information advantage will be unprecedented.
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