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译科技 | 量子计算或在2023年实现跨越式发展


  ORCA computing联合创始人兼首席执行官,UKQuantum董事长兼董事Richard Murray近期发表评论文章表示,2023年或是量子计算突破式发展的一年。

  2023 could be the breakthrough year for quantum computing

  2022 has been a dynamic year for quantum computing. With commercial breakthroughs such as the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) investing in its first quantum computer, the launch of the world’s first quantum computer capable of advantage over the cloud and the Nobel Prize in Physics awarded for ground-breaking experiments with entangled photons, the industry is making progress.


  At the same time, 2022 saw the tremendous accomplishment of the exaflop barrier broken with the Frontier supercomputer. At a cost of roughly $600 million and requiring more than 20 megawatts of power, we are approaching the limits of what classical computing approaches can do on their own. Often for practical business reasons, many companies are not able to fully exploit the increasing amount of data available to them. This hampers digital transformation across areas most reliant on high-performance computing (HPC): healthcare, defense, energy and finance.


  To stay ahead of the curve, 91% of global business leaders are investing or planning to invest in quantum computing. According to reports, 70% are developing real-life use cases and 61% are planning to spend $1 million or more over the next three years.


  As the technology becomes more exciting and the industry gathers pace, the pressure is on for quantum to deliver. But the voice of skeptics will also grow louder. In the face of those that say quantum computers will never be useful due to their complexity and limited results to date, the question on everyone’s mind is, will 2023 be a breakthrough year for quantum computing?


  Technical innovations vs market incumbents


  During 2022, we saw the creation of many industry incumbents who used SPACs, IPOs, mergers or corporate sponsorship to build themselves substantial war chests to pursue some serious engineering activity. While these significant scale-up activities will continue, 2023 will also be the year of innovation and possible disruption.

  2022年期间,我们看到许多行业老牌企业的诞生,他们利用特殊目的收购公司、首次公开募股、合并或企业赞助来为自己建立大量资金,以从事一些严肃的工程活动。虽然这些重要的扩大活动将继续进行,但 2023 年也将是创新和可能颠覆的一年。

  Amongst the big players, new players will emerge with alternative approaches towards quantum computing: Perhaps replacing qubits and gate models with qumodes, using model simulations and quantum annealing models.


  The aim of these newcomers will not be to solely achieve universal computing, but rather more specific and useful computation that can be delivered in a shorter timescale. The challenge will be whether these new machines can be applied to something useful and that the industry will care about them in the near term. The quantum supply chain is also developing with component-based suppliers — such as quantum processor vendors — that will shake loose how full-stack systems are built and break the economics of current black box approaches.


  Such work will force further discussions about the right and best way to compare and benchmark technologies, performance and the industry.


  Competition for financing


  Despite the turmoil in the international financial markets, quantum computing may continue to buck the trend with large funding rounds. Also, 2023 will see an interesting comparison between public and privately owned quantum companies.


  Public companies will continue to put their capital to work, but at the cost of the short-term attention of investors and short sellers. While they and the rest of the industry push to meet meaningful and substantial technical milestones, they will have only partial success in shrugging off the short-term pressures to validate the business. It’s likely that a race to capture the first market share to meet revenue predictions will ensue.


  In the private space, and with a global recession looming, large companies’ valuations will likely struggle to compete with previous expectations. This will be countered to an extent by the increasing appetite for deep tech, as well as new, exciting developments. Within the recent glut of new quantum companies, many will struggle, and both successful and less successful companies will be acquired as the big players consolidate. In general, 2023 will likely end with fewer quantum companies than in 2022.


  For both public and private quantum companies, it will help when a few make strides toward creating useful cases with near-term quantum computers. In the pursuit of pragmatic value-creation, this will come in many forms — including quantum sensing and comms, quantum-inspired, and hybrid quantum-classical approaches with small-scale systems.


  A few successes here will be industry-changing, which will start to bring about a focus that the industry has been waiting for. The consequences will ripple through the entire market.


  Making progress toward fault-tolerant machines


  Despite progress on short-term applications, 2023 will not see error correction disappear. Far from it, the holy grail of quantum computing will continue to be building a machine capable of fault tolerance. 2023 may create software or hardware breakthroughs that will show how we’re closer than we think, but otherwise, this will continue to be something that is achieved far beyond 2023.


  Even though it’s everything to some quantum companies and investors, the future corporate users of quantum computing will largely see it as too far off the time horizon to care much. The exception will be government and anyone else with a significant, long-term interest in cryptography.


  However, regardless of those long time horizons, 2023 will define clearer blueprints and timelines for building fault-tolerant quantum computers for the future. Indeed, there is also an outside chance that next year will be the year when quantum rules out the possibility of short-term applications for good, and doubles down on the 7- to 10-year journey towards large-scale fault-tolerant systems.

  然而,不管这些漫长的时间跨度如何,2023年将为未来构建容错量子计算机确定更清晰的蓝图和时间表。事实上,明年也有可能是量子永远排除短期应用可能性的一年,并在 7 到 10 年的大规模容错系统之旅中加倍努力。

  Governments, users and HPC


  2022 saw the German government conclude the tendering process for some very large quantum computing projects, with one example of a €67m contract for two projects. In 2023, that trend will continue with yet more public procurements for quantum computing.

  2022 年,德国政府完成了一些超大型量子计算项目的招标过程,其中一个例子是两个项目的 6700 万欧元合同。到 2023 年,随着更多的量子计算公共采购,将有更多的量子计算公共采购。

  Those tenders and the fact that they will be run through several of the world’s HPC centers will force the quantum computing industry to live up to the rigor of tender requirements, and the delivery obligations which come with it. So long as those tenders are run well, these activities will force up the maturity of the technology, and the companies in this space.

  这些招标以及它们将通过全球多个 HPC 中心进行的事实,将迫使量子计算行业达到严格的招标要求,以及随之而来的交付义务。只要这些招标运行良好,这些活动将迫使该技术和该领域的公司变得更加成熟。

  Alongside that, the sophistication of the user community will develop dramatically this year. Expect the launch of several ‘industrial challenges’ delivered by teams of in-house quantum experts. Again, this increasing maturity will act as a force for good within the industry, helping to create great strides toward the search for concrete applications and roadmaps.


  Geopolitics standing in the way


  Geopolitics will continue to shape quantum as it does the rest of the economy; this shaping could reach a fever pitch with the growing separation between the U.S. and China. As the race is on to develop quantum computers to gain a strategic lead in cybersecurity, intelligence operations and the economic industry, expect increasing restrictions to limit technological exchange and increasing impact on supply chains. This will be partially offset through bi and multilateral agreements between nations, although the specter of nationalism will linger.


  But how will European and UK companies fare? Many are fearful of being caught up in the middle of the China-U.S. tech competition, and so are urgently designing quantum tools to protect their interests.


  A breakthrough year for quantum


  So as we look forward, it’s no longer a question of if quantum computing will be available but when? 2023 may be the year in which some ask — and perhaps even claim now. Whereas others will continue to say, ‘of course not.’’

  因此,当我们展望未来,这不再是一个是否会有量子计算的问题,而是何时可用?2023 年也许是一些人提出疑问或者声称能够实现的一年,而其他人则会继续说,“当然不是。”


  With more and more companies adopting quantum to explore its potential, we will certainly leave 2023 more aware of the benefits and timeline. This may help companies better understand what their future could look like with quantum.

  随着越来越多的公司采用量子来探索其潜力,我们肯定会在 2023 年更加了解其好处和时间表。这可能有助于公司更好地了解他们的量子未来会是什么样子。

  Yet however little we know about what the future holds, one thing is certain: The world will be watching.