How To Execute a Quantum Computing Proof-of-Concept Project
- Launching a quantum computing proof-of-concept project doesn’t need to break the bank. Once a business has identified a use case, a three- to four-month trial project can be implemented for ~$100,000.
- How is it best to spend these resources? The question of what business problem could be addressed with quantum computing need not be answered before getting started. That’s where a partner can help.
- Proof-of-concept projects must be kept in perspective. “The goal is not necessarily to solve a business problem in the immediate term, but rather to gain competency,” says Classiq’s Yuval Boger.
Quantum computing today brims with the same potential that mainframe computing held in the 1960s.
The difference is that back in the 60s, there was no historical precedent to help people wrap their minds around the disruptive potential of computers. Those who had the foresight to envision how it would transform the global economy had an enormous advantage over their competitors. They won.
The precedent set by the digital revolution is the reason Amazon, IBM and Google are betting big on quantum computing, and it’s the reason companies in other verticals are now investigating how quantum computing can poise them for success in the coming decades. No one wants to miss the next wave.
The challenge for businesses today is to determine how to make sure they don’t miss out. Since these are no longer the pioneer days of computing, there’s no need to go it alone.
In the webinar “ Quantum Computing How To: Executing A Successful Proof of Concept From Start to Finish “, experts from Deloitte, Informa, and Classiq came together to discuss how enterprises can begin to explore the impact and potential benefits of quantum computing through a proof of concept. Topics covered include:
- When to launch a proof-of-concept project
- What quantum computing can solve for a business
- When to use outside help
Moderated by Sam Lucero, Chief Analyst for Quantum Computing Research at Omdia, the webinar features the following panelists:
When is the right time to launch a quantum proof-of-concept?
Introducing quantum computing into an organization makes sense when “there is a long-term business justification” for it, Yuval notes. “Technology is fantastic, but it serves to solve a business problem.”
Timelines for launching quantum computing at an organization will vary, and it depends mostly on the company’s level of risk tolerance, Scott says. He believes it’s worth spending a relatively small amount to get up to speed on something that could prove to be a game-changer.
“Even if I get no incredible material benefit today, I’ll gain some learning that helps me to accelerate the journey,” Scott explains. “It will be easier for me to keep pace with what’s going on as opposed to trying to run really fast to catch up.”
Once the business goal has been determined, a small-scale experiment is usually a good next step. Even solving a simple problem — one that could be addressed with classical computing — offers a window into how quantum computing could be helpful.
A reasonable scope for a proof-of-concept project could be up to four months long, Yuval notes, adding that the cost of an experimental project doesn’t need to break the bank. In fact, $100,000 can often cover it.
“It’s an operating expense,” Yuval says, noting that businesses don’t need to buy new equipment. “You allocate a few people and you buy a little bit of cloud time. It’s not super expensive to try this out,” he explains. “On the flip side, it could be super expensive not to try this out and you end up being at a big competitive disadvantage.”
That’s why executive support is important. Reflecting on the conversations he’s had for The Qubit Guy’s Podcast, Yuval notes that the implementation of quantum computing often is a top-down decision early on. “The CIO [or] CTO understands the strategic importance of quantum and then builds a team to start looking into it, find use cases and create a proof of concept,” he observes.
What challenge can quantum computing solve?
What’s the best use case? How does one identify the right problem for a quantum computing proof-of-concept to take on?
The answer to that question is rooted in asking, “What if?” Yuval suggests.
“Maybe you have a system that balances a financial portfolio, and you can ask yourself, ‘What if I could balance a portfolio that is 10 or 100 times larger? What if I could make better risk assessment calculations? What if I could simulate a molecule in minutes and not days?’” he says.
“If the answer to that what-if question excites you and leads you to say, ‘Yes, this could lead to a substantial benefit to my business,’ then that may be a candidate for quantum computing to explore.”
Markets that tend to have the most to gain from introducing quantum computing include: financial services, logistics, pharmaceuticals and other industries that can gain from better optimization.
But sometimes determining the specific challenge to be solved is a challenge unto itself. That’s where companies like Deloitte and Classiq can lend a hand, Scott says.
”The good news is you don’t have to know the use case that you want to solve before you approach organizations like Deloitte and Classiq,” Scott says. “We are more than happy to work with organizations to go through the selection process. In fact, most of our proof-of-concept engagements start with some version of down-selection of use cases that are more important, more valuable, more interesting.”
Though getting started with quantum computing can be an exciting step, it’s important to keep it in perspective — it won’t solve all of your business problems overnight, Yuval says. But that’s not the point at this stage of the game.
“The goal is not necessarily to solve a business problem in the immediate term, but rather to gain competency,” Yuval explains. “Organizations that we work with want to learn how to take a problem and how to decompose it and express it in a way that would work on a quantum computer, and then they want to execute it and see that the results make sense.”
Who can help implement quantum computing?
The cost to incorporate quantum computing is low relative to the early days of mainframe computing because companies no longer have to go it alone.
“It’s important to pick a partner who has experience helping organizations like yours go on a similar journey,” Scott says.
If your company is contracting with a cloud services solution provider, you may already be working with the vendor that will help you begin your quantum odyssey — one that already has the expertise, hardware and software needed to succeed.
“For example, if you’re a longstanding Amazon customer, they may be willing to give you credits to get you started,” Scott says. On the other hand, some vendors offer an open-source product and it’s important to understand the level of ongoing support offered in those cases.
Intellectual property is also a huge consideration, Yuval says.
“As quantum becomes more strategic, organizations want to protect their IP,” Yuval says. “So the question becomes, who owns it? Who writes it? Who can improve it over time? To me, it sounds logical that an organization that thinks that quantum is important would want to own the IP that’s generated from the work they do.”
This article is based on the webinar, “Quantum Computing How To: Executing A Successful Proof of Concept From Start to Finish.”