Quantum computing: Where Australian enterprises are likely to use it

Even with mature access to quantum computing possibly still years away, the industry says enterprises should be getting ready for it now.

Quantum computing

Australia has been well positioned in quantum computing research for some time now, and attention within large enterprises has increasingly turned to how to use it. Although Australia is largely made of small and medium businesses, there are uses of quantum computing that they too can take advantage of, although typically indirectly.

Multinational organisations have been investing heavily in quantum hardware. Google, IBM, and Microsoft, along with a handful of US-based start-ups such as Rigetti Computing and Xanadu, were leaders in 2020 according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Quantum computing in its early forms already is available through the cloud, from companies such as Alibaba, D-Wave Systems, IBM, and Rigetti.

IBM argues that giving enterprises early access to quantum computing technology that is under development will increase interest and, therefore, lessons around the use of the technology as to what it means and what it can do.

How small and medium businesses are likely to actually use quantum computing

In late 2021, IBM fellow Jay Gambetta told Computerworld Australia the areas he believes quantum will be accessible to enterprises in the country will first be in simulating quantum physics, which can benefit industries such as materials science and chemistry. Next is what quantum can do that classical computing can’t, such as calculations. That will translate to interest in the use of quantum computing for machine learning and financial applications, he said.

But the use of quantum computing may start much more simply, as Forrester analyst Samuel Higgins expects small and medium businesses to experience quantum computing less as a special form of computing and ultimately just as a better form of the service they get today. “When they log into their cloud services, be they software or infrastructure services, 10 or 15 years in the future, rather than an SSL certificate that's securing their connection using traditional classic computing methods, it will just be achieved using quantum computing methods and devices,” he says.

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