Which Quantum Modality is Best?

There are several modalities for quantum computers (e.g. superconducting, trapped ion, photonic, etc.). Which one is best?

Like many things in life, “best” is a relative term. The quantum computer that’s best for a financial company doing risk analysis may be different from that for a pharmaceutical company simulating molecules. Some modalities have more qubits, some have better connectivity between the qubits, or different gate fidelities and coherence times. But as qubit count alone can’t accurately measure the performance of a quantum computer or its suitability to an application, the modality too cannot be the sole indicator of performance. Each company looking to invest in quantum computing has a unique business goal, with different physical parameters that will better suit a method of achieving that goal. Perhaps a company wants the longest qubit coherence time or most accurate gates. And not only are the physical specifications of each modality, or even each hardware vendor, different with pros and cons.

But whatever the decision is, it is almost certain that the leading system of today will be vastly outperformed by the systems of the future. With predictions of thousands of qubits in the coming years, today’s quantum computers will likely be a stepping stone in the timeline of quantum computing. Companies interested in preparing for bigger and better quantum computers yet to come will benefit from adopting an agnostic approach to hardware vendors. This has two implications: cloud usage and software selection.

When companies use quantum computers through cloud vendors, they rent computing time by the minute. This avoids making large capital investments in machines that might soon be outdated and also provides the flexibility of trying or switching to other hardware vendors.

Where can software help? At Classiq, we believe in letting our customers decide what’s best for their needs. Instead of committing to one specific modality, vendor, or constraint, our platform allows users to effortlessly switch between each of the major hardware vendors, and seamlessly adjust circuits in a hardware-aware manner to fit their ever-changing needs, be it qubit count, a limit on specific gate types, or even entanglement levels.

Investing in one specific modality is a gamble with not-so-great returns. If the future of quantum computing brings spoils to those investing wisely, both those who originally invested in the most powerful device and those who remained agnostic, yet had the ability to use any successful quantum computer, have the same results. There is a risk in choosing just one, potentially the less successful, of modalities, vendors, or constraints, when every week new discoveries are made. And the potential is always there for the winner of the quantum arms race to be beaten afterward, with perhaps no end in sight to our innovations. It’s wise for companies to discuss remaining hardware agnostic, putting their faith in not one, but all competitors taking part in this incredible race.

Originally published at https://www.classiq.io.

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Yuval Boger (M.Sc. Physics), a.k.a. Qubit Guy, is the CMO of Classiq, provider of a software platform that helps design previously-impossible quantum circuits

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Yuval Boger

Yuval Boger

Yuval Boger (M.Sc. Physics), a.k.a. Qubit Guy, is the CMO of Classiq, provider of a software platform that helps design previously-impossible quantum circuits

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