Transforming the digital world through quantum technology

HCL Technologies

By Kalyan Kumar, Chief Technology Officer and Head, Ecosystems – HCL Technologies
Wednesday, 28 September, 2022

Transforming the digital world through quantum technology

Quantum technology and computing have garnered significant interest on the global stage. The Australian Government recently committed more than $100 million to quantum innovation and big techs, such as Google and IBM, are investing heavily in the sector. With so much hype, it is essential to understand why quantum is crucial to digital transformation and what’s next for this technology.

Why quantum?

We live in a quantum world. The possibilities are endless, from understanding how our brains work to how many ways we can arrange our shoes on the rack. Quantum allows us to unpack the power of exponentials and explore the art of possibilities in fractions of a second — a task that traditional binary computing cannot achieve. This technology will be pivotal in critical sectors, such as health, energy, science and computing, that are solving some of the biggest challenges of our time. The federal government has recognised the importance of this technology to our economy and society, noting that adoption will lead to more jobs, boost Aussie businesses, and help keep Australians safe.

To accelerate the development of the quantum ecosystem in Australia, four world-leading universities — Macquarie University, UNSW, UTS, and the University of Sydney — have formed the Sydney Quantum Academy (SQA). The academy’s vision is to create education and development opportunities in quantum technology to ensure Australia is a global leader in this sector. Recognising the importance of government and industry, SQA has partnered with the NSW Government and HCL Technologies to leverage best-in-class enterprise technology, scale and connectivity for the program.

What’s next?

Quantum technology is now a US$1.66bn industry, up from US$614m in FY20. This investment has already seen significant impacts in sectors like travel and transport, oil and gas, and energy and utilities, but we have only scratched the surface. While quantum’s potential is exponential, there are challenges facing the sector’s future, including scale, accessibility and adoption.

Cloud Computing has stabilised its position as one of the most valuable technologies, becoming a lifesaver throughout the pandemic. It may also prove pivotal to the advancement of quantum technology. The cloud provides application and test environments for developers to simulate the use of quantum computers through standard computing resources. It also offers access to the few quantum computers currently available globally. With increased interest and research, many cloud companies are launching initiatives such as quantum-as-a-service (QaaS) to gain market access and utilise the potential of quantum. Leveraging AI, cloud computing, and quantum computing can also work with AI-processed computational power to ensure practical usage through cloud servers.

Developing an interconnected ecosystem will be the answer to solving challenges such as scale and accessibility and collaborating to expand the use cases of quantum technology across industries. Organisations will continue streamlining quantum computing services through the cloud to achieve breakthroughs.

Regulatory catch-up

Digital innovation and transformation are advancing rapidly, with government and regulators forced to play catch-up. With quantum technology, the genie is entirely out of the bottle. While the government is investing in the sector at a federal and state level, it will be necessary to carefully consider the opportunities and threats of emerging technologies and the ethical implications, and regulate accordingly. For the government, it will be a careful balancing act of protecting our economy and citizens without stifling innovation. With technology evolving by the minute, regulations must be inherently flexible and have inbuilt agility and frameworks to adapt to changing conditions and technologies. Regulation will be a crucial challenge for the government and sector as quantum technology gains widespread traction.

Quantum technology has the power to transform the way we live, do business and solve society’s most significant challenges. While it has already demonstrated its exponential potential, this is just a taste of what is possible. Quantum will become one of the biggest technological trends of 2022 and grow at an accelerated pace — cloud computing will be a vital enabler. With significant investment from government, industry and business, the question is not if but when we see the profound impacts of quantum in our day-to-day lives.

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