Quantum computing near and disruptive, warns academic at Davos

January 31, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
Within four years quantum computers will have the beating of conventional computers and that will produce a dramatic change in both the technology landscape and in business, according to Professor Jeremy O'Brien from Bristol University

Professor O'Brien has travelled to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, to warn world leaders that quantum computing will be here by 2020 and highly disruptive to conventional computing and conventional computer security. His message is that the world needs to prepare for the challenges quantum computing will set before they arrive.

Professor O'Brien, director of the Centre for Quantum Photonics at the University of Bristol, is part of a European Research Council Ideas Lab delegation that has been invited to talk at the annual WEF to industrial and political leaders including UK prime minister David Cameron.

The high parallelism and speed provided by quantum computing is likely to unlock many positive things in research but could also be used to circumvent conventional security.

"In less than ten years quantum computers will begin to outperform everyday computers, leading to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, the discovery of new pharmaceuticals and beyond. The very fast computing power given by quantum computers has the potential to disrupt traditional businesses and challenge our cyber-security. Businesses need to be ready for a quantum future because it's coming," said Professor O'Brien, in a statement.

In his talk, Professor O'Brien will outline the current status of quantum computing and its potential applications and he will reveal his architectural blue-print for a manufacturable photonic quantum computer, showing all the components and a roadmap toward building a practical machine.

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