The 3 Types of Quantum Computers and Their Applications
It’s an exciting time in computing.
Just days ago, Google’s AlphaGo AI took an insurmountable lead in the 3,000 year-old game of Go against the reigning world champion, Lee Sedol. In a five-game series, the score is now 3-1 for the machine with one game left on March 15, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea.
While IBM’s Deep Blue beat reigning chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997 by using brute force, Go is a game with more possible moves than atoms in the known universe (literally). Therefore, the technology doesn’t yet exist to make such calculations in short amounts of time.
Google had to take a different approach: to beat the grand master, it needed to enable AlphaGo to self-improve through deep learning.
AlphaGo’s historical decision is a milestone for artificial intelligence, and now the technology community is anxiously waiting to see what’s next for AI. Some say that it is beating a human world champion at a real-time strategy game such as Starcraft, while others look to quantum computing – technology that could raise the potential power of AI exponentially.
What is Quantum Computing?
While everyday analog computing is limited to having a single value of either 0 or 1 for each bit, quantum computing uses quantum bits (qubits) that are simultaneously in both states (0 and 1) at the same time.
The consequence of this superposition, as it’s called, is that quantum computers are able to test every solution of a problem at once. Further, because of this exponential relationship, such computers should be able to double their quantum computing power with each additional qubit.
Image credit: Universe Review
Types of Quantum Computers
There are three types of quantum computers that are considered to be possible by IBM. Shown in the above infographic, they range from a quantum annealer to a universal quantum.
The quantum annealer has been successfully developed by Canadian company D-Wave, but it is difficult to tell whether it actually has any real “quantumness” thus far. Google added credibility to this notion in December 2015, when it revealed tests showing that its D-Wave quantum computer was 3,600 times faster than a supercomputer at solving specific, complex problems.
Expert opinion, however, is still skeptical on these claims. Such criticisms also shed light on the major limitation of quantum annealers, which is that they may only be engineered to solve very specific optimization problems, and have limited general practicality.
The holy grail of quantum computing is the universal quantum, which could allow for exponentially faster calculations with more generality.
However, building such a device ends up posing a number of important technical challenges. Quantum particles turn out to be quite fickle, and the smallest interference from light or sound can create errors in the computing process.
Doing calculations at exponential speeds is not very useful when those calculations are incorrect.
The Market and Applications
IBM highlights just some of the possibilities around universal quantum computers in a recent press release:
A universal quantum computer uses quantum mechanics to process massive amounts of data and perform computations in powerful new ways not possible with today’s conventional computers. This type of leap forward in computing could one day shorten the time to discovery for life-saving cancer drugs to a fraction of what it is today; unlock new facets of artificial intelligence by vastly accelerating machine learning; or safeguard cloud computing systems to be impregnable from cyber-attack.
This means that quantum computing could be a trillion dollar market, touching massive future markets such as artificial intelligence, robotics, defense, cryptography, and pharmaceuticals.
However, until a universal quantum can be built, the market remains fairly limited in size and focused on R&D. Quantum computing is expected to surpass a market of $5 billion market by 2020.
As a final note: its worth seeing where quantum computing sits on Gartner’s emerging technology hype cycle:
Gartner still describes it as being “10 years or more” away from reaching the plateau.
How Decentralized Finance Could Make Investing More Accessible
Under the current global financial system, billions of people do not have access to quality assets. Here’s how decentralized finance is changing that.
Infographic: How Decentralized Finance Could Make Investing More Accessible
Did you know that a majority of the global population doesn’t have access to quality financial assets?
In advanced economies, we are lucky to have simple options to grow and protect our wealth. Banks are all over the place, markets are robust, and we can invest our money into assets like stocks or bonds at the drop of a hat.
In the United States, roughly 52% of people are invested in the stock market – but in a place like India, for example, this portion drops to a paltry 2%. How can we make it possible for people on the “outside” of the financial system to gain access?
Breaking Down Barriers
Today’s infographic comes to us from Abra, and it shows how decentralized finance could make investing a more universal phenomenon, especially for those that don’t have access to the modern financial system.
It lays out four key obstacles that prevent people in developing markets from investing in quality financial assets in the first place:
- The Geographic Lottery
Where you live plays a massive role in determining your ability to build wealth. In advanced Western economies, the average person is much more likely to be invested in financial markets that can help compound wealth.
- Financial Literacy and Complexity
Roughly 3.5 billion adults globally lack an understanding of basic financial concepts, which creates an impenetrable barrier to investing.
- Local Market Turmoil
Even if a person is mentally prepared to invest, local market turmoil (hyperinflation, political crises, closed borders, etc.) can make it difficult to get access to stable assets.
- The Cost of Investing in Foreign Markets
Foreign assets can be pricey. One share of Amazon is $1,800, which is realistically more money than many people around the world can afford.
In other words, there are billions of people globally that can’t take advantage of some of the most effective wealth-building tactics.
This is just one flaw in the current financial system, a paradigm that has created massive amounts of wealth but only for a specific and well-connected group of people.
Enter Decentralized Finance
Could decentralized finance be the alternative to open up access to financial markets?
By combining apps with blockchain technology – specifically through public blockchains such as Bitcoin or Ethereum – decentralized finance makes it possible to get around some of the barriers that are created by more traditional systems.
Here are some of the innovations that are making this possible:
Smart contracts could automate transactions and remove intermediaries, making investing cheaper, faster, and more accessible.
Fractional investing could allow partial or shared ownership of financial assets by using tokenization. This would make expensive stocks like Amazon ($1,800 per share) available to a much wider segment of the population.
Location independent investing is possible through smartphones. This would make it possible for people in remote parts of the developing world to invest, even without access to nearby financial institutions or local markets.
Like the internet with knowledge, decentralized finance could reshape the world by making financial access universal. Who’s ready?
How Much Data is Generated Each Day?
By 2020, there will be 40x more bytes of data than there are stars in the observable universe. See how much data gets added to the mix each and every day.
How Much Data is Generated Each Day?
View the full-size version of the infographic by clicking here
You’ve probably heard of kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, or even terabytes.
These data units are common everyday amounts that the average person may run into. Units this size may be big enough to quantify the amount of data sent in an email attachment, or the data stored on a hard drive, for example.
In the coming years, however, these common units will begin to seem more quaint – that’s because the entire digital universe is expected to reach 44 zettabytes by 2020.
If this number is correct, it will mean there are 40 times more bytes than there are stars in the observable universe.
A Crash Course in Data
Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur, and it gives us a picture of this new data reality.
Before we get to how much data is created each day – both now, and in the future – it’s worth getting acquainted with how data scales in terms of units.
|Abbreviation||Unit||Value||Size (in bytes)|
|b||bit||0 or 1||1/8 of a byte|
|B||bytes||8 bits||1 byte|
|KB||kilobytes||1,000 bytes||1,000 bytes|
|MB||megabyte||1,000² bytes||1,000,000 bytes|
|GB||gigabyte||1,000³ bytes||1,000,000,000 bytes|
|TB||terabyte||1,000⁴ bytes||1,000,000,000,000 bytes|
|PB||petabyte||1,000⁵ bytes||1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes|
|EB||exabyte||1,000⁶ bytes||1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes|
|ZB||zettabyte||1,000⁷ bytes||1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes|
|YB||yottabyte||1,000⁸ bytes||1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes|
There’s no doubt that data literacy will only become more important in the future, so make sure you know your zettabytes from your yottabytes!
A Day of Data
How much data is generated in a day – and what could this look like as we enter an even more data-driven future?
Here are some key daily statistics highlighted in the infographic:
- 500 million tweets are sent
- 294 billion emails are sent
- 4 petabytes of data are created on Facebook
- 4 terabytes of data are created from each connected car
- 65 billion messages are sent on WhatsApp
- 5 billion searches are made
By 2025, it’s estimated that 463 exabytes of data will be created each day globally – that’s the equivalent of 212,765,957 DVDs per day!
If you think the above information is fascinating, see what happens in an internet minute.
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