10 Oct 2022

Event round-up: What is next for quantum computing? Discussing the hype problem, navigating computing models, and exploring timeframes for adoption in the UK

On 27 September 2022, techUK was delighted to host this deep-dive session bringing together industry experts to explore how the quantum computing industry is developing, what we can expect in the coming years, and what this means for UK businesses.

The panel included:

  • Victoria Horan Goliber, Senior Technical Analyst, D-Wave
  • Paul Martin, Quantum Technology Expert, PA Consulting
  • Edmund Owen, Principal Quantum Physicist, Cambridge Consultants (Capgemini)

You can watch the full webinar here, or read our summary of the key insights below:

Panel discussion and Q&A starts at: 31:30

Please note that the below is a summary of the event, and readers are encouraged to watch the webinar to understand the full details of the discussion.

The panel session started with an exploration of different approaches to quantum computing and the implications for commercial adoption.

Victoria made the case for quantum annealing remaining viable for certain use-cases in the long-term, particularly for optimisation problems, and annealing and gate-model approaches being developed in parallel.

There was general agreement that quantum advantage will emerge over time in different industries and for different use-cases, and we are unlikely to see a “big bang” moment for quantum computing.

Positioning the UK for success

The panel discussed a lack of readiness across UK businesses to benefit from quantum computing and the challenges that sit above hardware development - e.g., skills, classical computing integration and the software stack, quantum awareness amongst business leaders, etc.

Investment in skills development and public sector procurement were identified as key interventions that would be welcome from Government.  

techUK report | Quantum commercialisation: Positioning the UK for success

techUK report | Quantum commercialisation: Positioning the UK for success

Find out more

Busting through the terminology

The discussion moved on to the best way to engage business leaders and Paul argued that myth busting is very important and even the term “quantum computing” can confuse people - we need to provide real world examples at the human scale. The panel agreed that businesses should be more focused on the success of specific applications solving problems in their industry than arbitrary metrics like number of qubits - not all qubits are created equal so keep it grounded in the use-case.

Error correction was explored as a barrier to commercialisation and the panel agreed that we don’t need to wait for full fault-tolerance to harness the power of quantum computing. This is a technology issue that will be mitigated over time and costs will come down as a result.   

A quantum hype problem?

The panel explored the “hype problem” issue and the impact on commercialisation. Victoria argued that the hype can be a good thing if it causes businesses to think about quantum early and how it will impact the industry they operate in - businesses often underestimate what can be done today but also need to be realistic about timelines.

Edmund agreed that quantum is a subject we should be hyped about because it is an exciting area with huge potential but argued that the hype can lead companies to over-promise what is achievable in the short-term. Paul re-iterated that the best way to combat hype is getting real solutions at a human scale into use - and then raising awareness of that success.

Closing remarks

Chris asked the panel to close with one message to business leaders….

Victoria - “If you are not exploring the options already then start now - if you are not even looking then you need to start because otherwise your competition will be ahead of you”

Edmund - “Have a plan - business leaders need to understand how this technology will impact them and how and when they are going to invest”

Paul - “List six of your most intractable problems and go and find somebody who understands how to apply quantum technology to them”

Quantum Computing

To prepare for this future techUK believes now is the time to bring the wider technology sector into the discussion about the UK’s quantum future and how we plan for success.

Find out more

Sue Daley

Sue Daley

Director, Technology and Innovation

Laura Foster

Laura Foster

Head of Technology and Innovation, techUK