In recent years, quantum computing has made significant strides, capturing the attention of industry experts and signaling its potential as a viable technology. Virginia, always eager to embrace innovation, has set its sights on quantum computing. The latest edition of the Virginia Economic Review explores this exciting field and delves into ways to bring it to the state.
Quantum computing possesses unique capabilities that transcend conventional computing systems. Joseph Broz, vice president of quantum growth and market development for IBM, describes it as an entirely new form of computation. Unlike traditional computers that utilize bits to store information (each bit can hold a value of zero or one), quantum computing leverages qubits as the fundamental units of data. Remarkably, qubits can exist in multiple states simultaneously.
Historically, quantum computers have faced challenges, often succumbing to external factors that disrupt their computational processes. However, recent developments by IBM have addressed these obstacles to some extent. As a result, a promising vision of the future emerges, with quantum data centers and supercomputers coming to the forefront. Broz envisions an extraordinary 100,000 qubit machine within the next decade.
Considering Virginia’s status as the world’s data center capital, President Jason El-Koubi of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership believes that quantum computing is a natural fit for the state. With major industry players already operating in Virginia, such as Amazon, Boeing, Google, IBM, MITRE, and Northrop Grumman, the foundation for quantum integration is already in place. Moreover, Virginia excels in key sectors essential for building quantum capabilities, including aerospace manufacturing, software development, defense, and more.
The proximity of Washington, D.C., with its numerous government agencies and vast research capabilities, further enhances Virginia’s potential as a quantum hub. The theoretical nature of quantum computing aligns well with the state’s academic and research communities, creating fertile ground for a thriving quantum ecosystem.
To establish a vibrant quantum ecosystem, Broz highlights four crucial components: a skilled workforce, robust research and academic communities, local industries actively engaging in quantum technologies, and physical access to quantum computer systems. Fortunately, Virginia universities are already spearheading quantum research, and with concerted efforts to cultivate these other components, the commonwealth can realize the full potential of quantum computing in shaping its future.
Q: What is quantum computing?
A: Quantum computing is an entirely new form of computation that utilizes qubits, the fundamental units of data in quantum systems. Unlike traditional computers, qubits can hold multiple values simultaneously.
Q: What are the challenges of quantum computing?
A: Quantum computers have historically been susceptible to disruptions from environmental variables. However, advancements by IBM have mitigated some of these challenges.
Q: Why is Virginia interested in quantum computing?
A: Virginia sees quantum computing as an opportunity to further develop its thriving industries and leverage its position as a data center capital. The state’s existing strengths in aerospace manufacturing, software development, defense, and more align well with the requirements of building quantum capabilities.
Q: How can Virginia foster a vibrant quantum ecosystem?
A: Virginia can cultivate a vibrant quantum ecosystem through the development of a skilled workforce, strong research and academic communities, active engagement from local industries, and providing physical access to quantum computer systems.