Quantum leap: Canadian collaborations advancing the adoption of quantum computing technology

See how Canada is taking steps to adopt quantum computing technology despite existing barriers.

A 2020 report titled “Enterprises Are Preparing to Quantum Leap Today” canvasses the interest in quantum computing across industries such as finance, healthcare, machine learning, and much more.

In the survey completed by 253 enterprise decision makers in the US, UK, Germany and France, 13% of such enterprises indicated that they will participate in quantum computing experimentation in three years, 68% are set to consider quantum computing for their specific business needs within this time, and 19% anticipate no plans for such adoption. Moreover, respondents in the area of transportation, insurance, financial services and chemical-based industries indicated a higher interest in adopting quantum computing to their respective businesses in 3-years time.

The complexity and/or resource intensive nature of quantum computing are cited to be the leading barriers to adoption. However, despite any barriers to adopting quantum computing technology, significant progress is already being made by Canadian based companies to collaborate with others in advancing the adoption of quantum computing technology.

Applications for quantum computing technology are virtually endless.

The life sciences sector for example has seen a growing interest at the intersection of quantum computing and genomics. Through the development of complex algorithms, quantum computing has provided genome modeling of the behaviour of biomolecules, identified genome sequencing, and enabled scientists to accelerate antiviral and vaccine production.

Canadian based ProteinQure leverages quantum computing in providing a computational platform for protein drug discovery. In partnership with Microsoft, D-Wave, IBM, Rigetti, Xanadu, and Fujitsu, ProteinQure has developed “biomolecular modules for integrating outputs from quantum computers to accelerate CPU or GPU-based methods routinely used in structure-based drug discovery, such as molecular similarity and conformational search.” ProteinQure’s quantum computing algorithms also include advancements in the areas of protein folding and molecular docking.

Applications of quantum computers are not limited to the life sciences however. There has been a growing interest in modeling traffic in order to optimize traffic flow to avoid anticipated traffic jams. Canadian based D-Wave, in partnership with Volkswagen, has leveraged quantum computing to help optimize traffic flows. In particular, data from a few hundred taxis was used to calculate ideal taxis routes in near-real time for the city of Beijing, based in part on accounting for navigation choices made by other vehicles, a feat which classic computers cannot perform in near-real time.

The Federal Government in Canada is also no stranger to quantum computing, having recently announced a $40 million contribution to D-Wave through the Strategic Innovation Fund. The contribution will help support D-Wave on their focus to “[bring] early quantum hybrid value to diverse fields, including health care, materials science, financial analysis, manufacturing and logistics.”

Though widespread adoption of quantum computing based technology will take time, Canadian based companies have demonstrated through both international collaboration and private-public collaboration, that demand for quantum computing technology is growing across a vast array of technology verticals.

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