1QBit: Making quantum computing relevant, simple and (hopefully) boring

1QBit is a software company that:

  • develops software for organizations utilizing quantum computing
  • partners with hardware providers and companies around the world to solve their problems by leveraging quantum computing
  • recently received a Technology Pioneer award from the World Economic Forum

This week, we sat down with 1QBit CEO & Co-Founder Andrew Fursman, who explained what quantum computing is, its exciting real-life applications, and why his secret goal is to make quantum computing boring.

So, what IS quantum computing, anyway?

The definition of quantum computing isn’t as confusing or technical as it may seem – in fact, you may have seen Justin Trudeau give a brief explanation during a press conference back in 2016. To summarize, classical computers, the ones we use every day, work based on a method of binary bits (1s and 0s). However, some problems don’t break down to 1s and 0s very well, so they have traditionally been difficult for classical computers to figure out. Quantum computers, on the other hand, are able to harness features of the quantum world in order to solve those problems fairly quickly.

“I like to think about what a quantum computer is by thinking about what a quantum computer is able to do,” says Fursman. “And what it’s able to do is expand what’s possible to compute in a reasonable amount of time for us.”

For example, utilizing the power of quantum computing would allow us to accurately simulate chemical reactions with better fidelity, allowing many experiments currently being performed in labs to be simulated in a computer instead. This would vastly speed up the process for developing everything from advanced materials to new types of catalysts for the chemical industry.

Bridging the Gap

Fursman says that the idea for 1QBit came out of what he calls a “tipping point” in the world of quantum computing, where these new types of computers started quickly moving towards commercialization. However, not many people understood how quantum computing would be applicable to their businesses, even if they were working in industries (like chemistry) that quantum computing would benefit the most. Fursman and his co-founder Landon Downs realized that there needed to be a bridge between the quantum computing hardware that was being produced and the industrial applications they would enable. In other words, someone needed to develop a widely accessible software program specifically for use with quantum computers. And that’s where 1QBit comes in.

Because the development of 1QBit’s software relies on organizations who are working to build bigger and better quantum computing hardware, Fursman is eager to see new advancements in the field, no matter where they’re coming from.

“We don’t know who is going to build the best quantum computer yet. We also don’t really have much of a preference,” he explains. “The faster that this tech can be realized, the sooner it can be put to work towards solving some of these really big problems that have remained open questions because of our lack of computing power.”

 Looking ahead                                                                             

The future of quantum computing looks bright – and it’s not as far away as you might think. According to Fursman, we’ll see the first meaningful, commercially relevant simulations start to happen over the next few years. We may even see more full-scale quantum computing systems, similar to the computers we rely on today, emerge in ten years’ time.

Fursman believes that in the future, we won’t call it quantum computing. It’ll just be “computing.” New technologies are usually considered exciting and risky until they’re proven, which is why Fursman’s secret (or not-so-secret) goal is to make quantum computing boring. His hope is that soon we’ll talk about using a quantum computer like we talk about using our cell phones or our laptops.

“If it works with a quantum processor, then all the better, but to the extent that nobody has to care how it works, that makes it more accessible and more exciting in terms of the actual things that it’s enabling,” he says.

If you want to learn more about how 1QBit is changing the way we leverage quantum computing, you can visit them at their website, 1QBit.com.

If you’re interested in learning more about quantum computing in general, Fursman recommends two online resources: this video explanation by In a Nutshell and this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic.

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