3 Common ‘Facts’ About Quantum Computing That Are Actually ‘Myths’

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Quantum computing (QC) allows for a fundamental – and even ‘disruptive’ – shift in how we analyze and try solving previously intractable problems. However, as with any great disruptive and potentially world-changing technology, quantum computing is not exempt from its share of ‘myth-mongering,’ even among academics.

Here are 3 common myths that have been masquerading as facts in the world of quantum computing.

Debunking 3 Quantum Computing Myths

Myth#1: Quantum Computers Can Solve All Classical Computer Problems Instantaneously

Fact#1: Quantum Computers Speed Up the Solving of Only Certain Problems

With the help of ‘qubits,’ which can hold values of both 0 and 1 (unlike classical computer bits that can be either 0 or 1 but never both), quantum computers can analyze information faster and find solutions faster. But current quantum computers cannot solve all problems instantaneously. They can only solve problems designed specifically for them or are more relevant to everyday life (e.g., cryptography).

However, in the future, this will change. According to Viv Kendon of Durham University, today’s quantum computers already “have several tricks that can bypass what classical computers can do.” This means that future quantum computers will solve every kind of problem, especially those unsolvable by today’s classical computers due to their limited processing power.

Myth#2: ‘Quantum Supremacy’ Spells the Beginning of the End for Classical Computing

Fact#2: Classical Computers Won’t Be Completely Swept Aside by Quantum Computers

In 2012, John Preskill at the California Institute of Technology proposed the term ‘quantum supremacy.’ Seven years later, Google announced in a  article that it had achieved this milestone with its 53-qubit quantum computer Sycamore. This machine could perform a calculation in 200 seconds that would have taken a current, state-of-the-art supercomputer a whopping 10,000 years. Michelle Simmons of the University of New South Wales calls this the “first experimental evidence that quantum speed-up is achievable in a real-world system.”

Nonetheless, those who fear that quantum supremacy foretells the end of classical computing can rest easy because it doesn’t – at least not yet. According to Peter J. Love of Tufts University, the practical implications of the task completed by Sycamore are fairly minimal for the near future. Professor Preskill has a different take, though. He believes that Google’s quantum supremacy milestone is a pivotal step towards ‘practical’ quantum computing. At Quantropi, we agree with Professor Preskill. At the same time, we also foresee that quantum computers won’t replace classical computers, leading to the growth of ‘hybrid’ computers.

Myth#3: Quantum-Safe Cryptography Provides Complete Data Security

Fact#3: In Case of a Quantum Attack, Quantum-Safe Cryptography Isn’t Safe

The advent of large-scale quantum computing – which is less than a decade away, according to Michele Mosca from the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing – poses a significant threat to our global information infrastructure. Current Public-key Cryptography (PKC) algorithms are fairly resistant to security breaches launched from classical computers. But in the near future, quantum computers will be able to break even the strongest PKC algorithms, putting our entire communications network and data at risk. Quantum-safe Cryptography algorithms provide enhanced data security even in a large-scale quantum attack. But only in theory.

The truth is that Quantum-safe Cryptography is not completely quantum-safe, despite what its adherents say. Its two key approaches, Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) and Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) have weaknesses that make them inadequate for protecting systems and data in case a quantum attack happens. Only Quantropi offers TrUE security against the quantum threat. It’s the only cybersecurity company in the world providing the 3 prerequisites for cryptographic integrity: Trust, Uncertainty, and Entropy (TrUE). Powered by quantum mechanics expressed as linear algebra, our patented TrUE technologies establish Trust between any two parties via quantum-secure asymmetric MASQ™ encryption; ensure Uncertainty to attackers, rendering data uninterpretable forever, with QEEP™ symmetric encryption; and provide Quantum Entropy as a Service (QEaaS) with SEQUR™ – ultra-random key generation and distribution to enable secure data communications. All Quantropi’s TrUE technologies are accessible via our flagship QiSpace™ platform.

4 REAL Facts About Quantum Computing

To give you a better idea of quantum computers’ capabilities (and limitations), here are some real facts about quantum computing.

1. Quantum Computers are Enormously Faster than Classical Computers

While quantum computers certainly won’t replace classical computers any time soon, they are unimaginably faster than anything we have today.

The advantage of quantum machines over classical computers can be in the millions and tens of millions of times, sometimes even more. The Chinese photonic quantum computer Jiuzhang 2.0 can reportedly analyze random data patches using Gaussian boson sampling 10 to the power of 24 times (or one billion billion) faster than classical supercomputers.

But here’s the caveat – quantum computers aren’t yet big and powerful enough to solve real-world problems, like simulating drug molecules or materials using quantum chemistry. At the moment, there isn’t anything that classical computers can’t do that quantum computers can do.

We’re yet to see quantum computers beating classical hardware for practical tasks. Even though quantum computers theoretically leave legacy computers in the dust, there’s still a lot of work to be done before they become practical and mainstream.

2. Quantum Computers Require Super Low Temperatures to Operate

Disturbances from the environment – such as temperature and noise – can disrupt qubits’ extremely delicate quantum state. To keep qubits stable, quantum computers are kept near absolute zero – the lowest temperature possible.

The temperature sensitivity of quantum computers makes them difficult to implement, maintain, and operate. Not only do we need to cool quantum computers to extremely low temperatures, but we also need specialized equipment to read and amplify the signals emitted by qubits. This is one of the reasons why quantum computers – at least in the near future – won’t replace classical computers.

The sensitivity of qubits to environmental noise complicates the maintenance of quantum computers and makes building larger machines very challenging. Larger systems of qubits are harder to control and keep stable and error-free. IBM actually considers the instability of qubits the biggest obstacle to larger machines.

3. The Power of Quantum Computers Scales Exponentially

Because qubits can be in a state of superposition where they are simultaneously both 0 and 1, the computing power of quantum computers grows exponentially with the number of qubits. Quantum computers with two qubits can perform 4 (or 2 to the power of 2) computations simultaneously, 3 qubits can do 8 (2 to the power of 3), and so on.

Due to this massive advantage, quantum computers are gaining on classical computers at a doubly exponential rate – that is, by powers of 2.

For illustration, exponential growth would be something like this:

While doubly exponential growth can look like this:

With the exponential scaling of quantum computing power in mind, quantum computers have come very far in recent years. While qubit counts have increased tens of times, computing power has grown thousands and tens of thousands of times.

The first quantum computer that could accept data and produce a solution was introduced in 1998 and had just 2 qubits. By March 2000, researchers had already developed a 7-qubit quantum computer. But although 2 and 7 qubits were huge achievements at the time, old quantum computers were really small compared to what we have in the game have today.

Fast forward to 2019, and we have quantum computers with as many as 54 qubits. And in November 2021, IBM unveiled a quantum processor with a striking 127 qubits – the first quantum machine to reach “3 digits”.

That’s not all. IBM’s roadmap incorporates a device with over 1,000 qubits, Quantum Condor, for the end of 2023. With quantum computers so large, we might finally start seeing the technology finding actual uses in the real world.

4. Quantum Computers Can Help us Simulate the Natural World

Although classical computers can simulate physical processes with certain accuracy, they fail as soon as sub-atomic phenomena are included in the equation.

Simple chemical elements like the one-atom hydrogen can be simulated on a laptop. However, elements like thulium – which has 69 orbiting electrons that are entangled with each other – are far beyond the capabilities of classical computers.

It would take you 20 trillion years to write down each of the possible states of thulium per second. And to simulate thulium on a classical computer, you would need to get your hands on Intel’s worldwide chip production for the next 1.5 million years. Such amounts of silicon would cost you US$600 trillion.

Operating according to the rules of quantum mechanics – which describes physics at subatomic levels – quantum computers might be able to help us push the boundaries of simulation beyond anything we can do today. The physical properties of quantum computers could help us develop cancer treatments or perhaps even see what’s going on inside black holes.

Ready to learn more about the future of quantum computing and how to keep your business safe today? Take a read through some of our other blogs.

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Marco Pagani

Marco Pagani began his long and successful career as a senior executive in Ottawa’s high-tech sector in 1985, with Nortel Networks (then Bell-Northern Research). He rose across two decades to become president of several Nortel Business Units, managing more than 2,000 employees and over $1 billion in revenue. Having gone on to advise numerous organizations, as well as guide a range of companies through complex, critically necessary turnarounds, he is particularly respected for placing a strong emphasis on ethics and corporate governance in building the culture of the corporate and not-for-profit organizations he leads and supports.

Nick Kuang

As VP Corporate Services, Nick plans, directs and coordinates a wide range of activities aimed at achieving Quantropi’s vision of the Quantum Internet. He has a keen interest in transformative technologies and the possibilities they offer for bettering our everyday lives. A pharmacist by training, Nick nurtures teams with a focus on integrity and collaborative effort, coupled with strong attention to detail. With prior experience in a successful biotech start-up developing point-of-care test kits, he enjoys the fast pace and challenge of the start-up environment.

Dr. Randy Kuang

Randy holds a doctorate in quantum physics. His research findings have been published in top international journals and named “Kuang’s semi-classical formalism” by NASA in 2012. With a career spanning IT, including with Nortel as senior network researcher & developer, he co-founded inBay Technologies in 2009, serving as CTO of the cybersecurity platform. As the first recipient of a patent for two-level authentication (2011), Randy is a prolific inventor, with 30+ U.S. patents in broad technology fields, such as WiMAX, optical networks, multi-factor identity authentication, transaction authorization, as well as concepts, technologies and industrial applications for quantum key distribution.

Cory Michalyshyn

Cory brings a breadth of experience to the Quantropi team, working fractionally with multiple SaaS technology companies as CFO, and as the CFO with Celtic House Venture Partners. Prior to these roles, Cory was CFO and COO at Solink, and played a lead role in the metrics-led pivot to a direct-sales SaaS model, followed by multiple VC-backed funding rounds and their recognition as one of the fastest growing start-ups in Canada. He qualified as a CPA while serving technology, VC & PE-fund clients at Deloitte, and earned his Bachelor of Commerce at Queen’s University.

Ken Dobell

Ken leads marketing strategy at Quantropi. In high demand as a consultant with 25 years’ experience in performance media and an award- winning creative background, he has completed successful transformations, (re)branding and product development mandates with KPMG, Keurig, Fidelity, Eddyfi, Coveo, and more, and provides digital advice to the CMA. Previously, Ken pivoted an offline advertising brokerage to a leading-edge, data-driven performance agency as President of DAC Digital, held a progression of international leadership roles with Monster.com, pioneered a range of multi-channel initiatives as VP Marketing with a global franchisor, and introduced a mobile-first programmatic media offering to Canada within WPP.

Raj Narula, P.Eng.

A seasoned technology executive, business builder and angel investor, Raj has held operational and advisory roles in Recognia (Trading Central), Belair Networks (Ericsson), March Networks (Infinova), Sandvine (Procera), Neurolanguage (ADEC), Bridgewater Systems (Amdocs), Vayyoo (Cafex), TenXc (CCI), 1Mobility (Qualys) and others. Having divided his time among North America, EMEA and Asia-Pac for over 20 years, Raj speaks several languages. He grew up in Asia, Europe, South America and Canada, and holds a B.Eng degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ottawa. He is also a co-founder and Charter Member of the Ottawa chapter of TiE (the Indus Entrepreneur).

Michael Redding

Before joining Quantropi, Mike was Managing Director and co-founder of Accenture Ventures, where he grew a global portfolio of strategic partnerships and 38 equity investments in emerging technology startups.

During his nearly 30 years with Accenture, he incubated and launched technology innovations for enterprises across multiple geographies and industries. Ever-passionate about bold ideas with game-changing results, he speaks frequently on the impact of emerging technology on large organizations.

With a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton, and a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern, Mike is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Accenture Foundation and Board Observer for startups Maana and Splice Machine.

Alex He

Alex is a product-oriented project manager who bridges the gaps between the company’s engineering and commercial teams. He has over ten years of experience in the analysis, design and development of enterprise-class applications, with a particular focus on creating optimal user experiences (UX). Ever passionate about cybersecurity solutions that can deliver solid security without unreasonably sacrificing customer convenience, Alex is the lead inventor of a registered patent on user interface security. He is committed to helping ensure that the Agile software engineering team at Quantropi delivers consistently high-quality, high crypto-agility cybersecurity solutions for next-generation communications.

Tina Wang

Tina develops websites and participates in a range of different projects, using new frameworks for front-end UI, along with Vuejs, Angula, Beego, Ruby on Rails, and Electron. She developed Quantropi’s desktop CipherSpace application by integrating Electron, Webassembly and Go, to ensure a good user experience, as well as perfect operating system compatibility. She is also part of the dynamic and efficient QKD-NODE project team. Tina is always looking for new ways to increase her knowledge, improve her technological proficiency and enhance her strong execution and implementation skills. Prior to Quantropi, Tina served as a full-stack web developer at Sunny Future, where she maintained a WordPress home site and managed the release of new content for the company.

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Bond Vo

Bond Vo is the Business Analyst of Quantropi. Along with Quantropi, Bond has been dynamic in accordance with a fast and evolving startup environment and is responsible in a wide range of areas including market research, funding, and more involved in the controller roles to oversee day to day accounting operation as well as build financing models and budget to achieve company’s ultimate goals/objectives. Bond has applied best practices consistently and successfully supports equity, debt, and non-dilutive funding for Quantropi since joint the team. He earned a Bachelor of Commerce concentrated in Finance from Carleton University. Outside of his professional career, Bond also participated in volunteer for the Vietnamese Immigration Student Association (VISA) to help and support students as well as newcomers in Canada.

Pauline Arnold

As James Nguyen’s EA, Pauline Arnold brings more than 40 years of experience in complementary customer service and administrative roles. Prior to Quantropi, she served 20 years as Branch Manager and an assistant in investments, and over 20 years at Metropolitan Life Canada in various aspects of the insurance sector – assisting clients, management and colleagues to complete tasks, solve problems, address questions and achieve goals. She also worked part-time for Royal Lepage Performance for 5+ years as a receptionist & admin, and for 5 years was chair of the TKFG’s charity golf tournament.

Dafu Lou

Dafu is Quantropi’s Director of engineering. Prior to Quantropi, he served as a technical leader at Irdeto, a world-leading provider of digital platform security software, where he was responsible for white-box cryptography, cloaked CA secure core, and iOS/android application protection services, among others. Prior to Irdeto, Dafu served as a senior software engineer at SecureNex Systems, where he led the implementation of an SSL-VPN solution and ECC-based secure data storage & PKI. He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Ottawa in 2009. Dafu is also a part-time professor, teaching VLSI, Cryptography and other subjects at uOttawa.

Christopher McKenzie

With his extensive experience in software development and strong analytical skills, Chris can handle the entire end-to-end software development life cycle. Prior to Quantropi, he served as Director of Product Development at Sphyrna Security, Inc., where he managed the delivery of security compliance automation and data diode appliance products, and as Commercial Software Development Manager at Cord3, Inc., where he managed the development of an advanced data access policy management product. Chris graduated from Computer Science at Algonquin College and the Ottawa School of Arts in 1998. Read less

Eric Chan

Eric Chan a.k.a. EEPMON is a Crypto / Digital Artist with 15 years in the industry – and Quantropi’s Creative Emissary. His hybrid fractal/digital creations have been seen in fashion, comics to museums and has exhibited worldwide. EEPMON’s collaborations include Canada Goose, MARVEL, Snoopy, Microsoft Xbox, Canada Science & Technology Museum and was a TEDx performing artist. In 2018 he represented Canada on its first Creative Industries Trade Mission led by Canada’s Minister of Heritage and serves on the Canadian Museums Association‘s Board of Directors. At the same time, he is currently completing his Master of Information Technology – Digital Media at Carleton University. 

Patricio Mariaca

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James Nguyen

Prior to leading Quantropi, James was Chief Investment Officer & VP Asia Operations for a group of private and public real estate, mining, energy storage, graphene technologies and manufacturing interests, where, in his responsibilities for strategy, banking and global expansions, he secured large-scale investments and partnerships for commercializing graphene applications across multiple industries. A graduate of Carleton in Economics, he previously achieved success managing a mid-market portfolio (professional services, public sector, Asian markets) at RBC for over a decade. James has been on the HKCBA board, held advisory positions with technology start-ups and gives back as volunteer, fundraiser and mentor.