We are at the beginning of a new era of computing, one that will bring powerful new computers and will eventually enable more processing at or near the source of our data.
In short, quantum computers can solve problems that are computationally too difficult for a classical computer, which can only process information in 1s or 0s. In the quantum universe, those 1 and 0 bytes can exist in two states (qubits) at once, allowing computations to be performed in parallel. Therefore, if you build two qubits, they are able to hold four values at the same time: 00, 01, 10, 11. Quantum computers require special algorithms capable of doing new things, making them more powerful than anything built to date. Scientists have been researching quantum computing for decades. The challenge, however, has been proving that a quantum machine is actually carrying out quantum computations. That’s because in a quantum system, the very act of observing information in transit changes the nature of that data.
Edge computing performs computations near or at the source of data. This differs from the current norm, as today much of our computing takes place in the cloud, with distributed data centers handling the processing work. The challenge for our existing cloud-based computing environments is the potential for delay, which is also known as latency. In the near-future, more of the computational work could be done locally—for example, a car’s computer vision system would process and recognize images immediately rather than sending that information to the cloud for verification. Edge computing requires custom chips and hardware and will work alongside the cloud rather than replace its functionality.
Recent advancements have spurred interest in quantum and edge computing. In 2019, Google published a paper in the journal Nature saying that it had reached a new benchmark for speed on a new kind of processor. Verizon and Amazon Web Services announced a new 5G edge cloud computing partnership in December 2019 to give developers tools to launch IoT devices and applications at the edge.
Amazon, Amazon Web Services, Alibaba, AT&T, Baidu, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Center for Quantum Science & Technology Bleximo, California Institute of Technology’s Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM), Chapman University’s Institute for Quantum Studies, Cisco, Crown Castle, D-Wave Systems, Dartmouth University’s Quantum and Condensed Matter Physics Group, Duke University, Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Quantum Systems Group, Google, Harvard University’s Quantum Initiative, Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Quantum Information Science Center, IBM, Intel, Keio University Quantum Computing Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Engineering Quantum Systems Group, Michigan State University’s Laboratory for Hybrid Quantum Systems, Microsoft, MIT Center for Quantum Engineering (MIT-CQE), MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Quantum Information and Integrated Nanosystems, Rigetti Computing, Stanford University’s Yamamoto Group, University of California-Berkeley’s Quantum Information & Computation Center, University of British Columbia’s Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory, University of California-Los Angeles’s Center for Quantum Science & Engineering, University of California-Santa Barbara’s Center for Spintronics and Quantum Computation, University of Chicago’s Chicago Quantum Exchange, University of Maryland’s Center for Accelerated Real Time Analytics and UMD’s Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science, University of Science and Technology of China’s Division of Quantum Physics and Quantum Information, University of Washington’s Trapped Ion Quantum Computing Group, Verizon, Zapata Computing.
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