As mentioned in my last article, several individuals in the field are declaring the 2020s as the decade of quantum systems. Though I cannot guarantee if Quantum Computing will transition to mainstream any time soon, I find myself inspired by articles that suggest Quantum Computing will improve medicines, accelerate advances in Artificial Intelligence and answer fundamental questions about the origins of our universe. All of which sounds exciting, especially the last one!
As exciting as those advances sound, however, for the moment it appears we still have a ways to go before achieving a true fault-tolerant Quantum Computer. Even as a lot of investment is occurring to bring Quantum Computers to the mainstream reality, a more practical option may be available already.
Quantum Inspired Computing and Quantum Inspired Optimization (QIO) are showing promise that significant advances can be made today on classical computing platforms. I came across a news article reported back in 2018, regarding a graduate student (Ewin Tang) that focused on the “Recommendation Problem” a focus within Machine learning.
A well-known example of this problem is how Netflix determines movies you might watch based on previous buying behavior. The initial focus of the “Recommendation Problem” was to highlight how Quantum Machine Learning (QML) could provide a much faster approach to answering this problem. The news article went on to describe how Tang found a way to generate speedups and optimizations thought to be possible only via Quantum Computing.
Quantum Inspired Computing holds a practical promise of improvement today, by leveraging algorithms found in recommendation systems, genetics, and physics. While not all these algorithms will optimize to the extent that Quantum Computing promises, they offer a promise to accelerate advancements such as those mentioned earlier in medicine, machine learning, manufacturing, environmental science as well as many other fields, today.
So, while we wait for our Quantum Computers, it is exciting to realize the power and innovations that can be made today, by thinking outside the box of our classical world. For now, it seems real value and benefit can be had by learning Quantum Computing, as you may discover a new way of thinking about problems that will change your perspective and your approach to classical programming!