Quantum Breakthrough: Unveiling Next-Gen Computational Power

Quantum Breakthrough: Unveiling Next-Gen Computational Power
đź‘‹ Hi, I am Mark. I am a strategic futurist and innovation keynote speaker. I advise governments and enterprises on emerging technologies such as AI or the metaverse. My subscribers receive a free weekly newsletter on cutting-edge technology.

In an era where the boundaries of technology are continually pushed beyond the imaginable, quantum computing stands as a beacon of transformative potential, signalling a seismic shift in our computational landscape. It has been nearly two years since I last discussed the advancements in quantum computing, and obviously, the world has changed drastically since then. Time for an update!

Quantum computing developments promise to usher in a new era of enhanced efficiency, security and previously unattainable enterprise capabilities. The recent milestone of surpassing the 5000 qubit barrier in quantum computing marks a pivotal moment in the field, unlocking unprecedented computational power.

The strides in quantum computing, particularly in surpassing the formidable 5000 qubit milestone, are deeply rooted in ongoing research endeavours at universities, research labs, and major technology companies worldwide. The realism of this trend is substantiated by noteworthy developments in prominent institutions and industry leaders, including Google and IBM, and significant progress in quantum research in China.

In tandem with these advancements, the imminent activation of a neuromorphic supercomputer named DeepSouth, set to switch on in 2024, adds another layer to the technological landscape. This supercomputer can execute 228 trillion synaptic operations per second, a scale on par with the estimated number of operations in the human brain. As quantum computing propels forward, deploying such neuromorphic supercomputers further underscores the transformative potential of cutting-edge technology, bringing us closer to simulations of unparalleled complexity and sophistication.

The ongoing development and quantum computing research promise to reshape the future of enterprise operations, ushering in a new era of efficiency, security, and capabilities previously thought to be on the fringes of technological achievement.

This article is an extended version of one of the ten technology trends for 2024. You can download the full report free of charge by completing the below form.

Google's Quantum Supremacy

One of the most significant milestones in quantum computing came in 2019 when Google announced that it had achieved quantum supremacy. This term refers to the ability of a quantum computer to solve a problem that would be practically impossible for classical computers to solve within a reasonable timeframe. In collaboration with NASA's Ames Research Center, Google's quantum processor, Sycamore, reportedly surpassed classical supercomputers in solving a specific computational problem. This accomplishment marked a pivotal moment in quantum computing, showcasing the potential for quantum systems to outperform traditional computers in specific tasks.

However, it is worth noting that the concept of quantum supremacy is still debated in the scientific community. Some argue that the chosen problem for demonstration may not have practical applications, while others emphasise that it represents a significant leap forward in computational capabilities. Regardless of the ongoing discussion, Google's achievement has undoubtedly propelled the field of quantum computing into the spotlight and inspired further research and development.

Quantum supremacy can potentially revolutionise our society, from cryptography to drug discovery. With its ability to solve complex optimisation problems, quantum computers could provide logistics, finance, and transportation breakthroughs. Imagine a world where supply chains are optimised to minimise waste and maximise efficiency, financial models can accurately predict market trends, and traffic congestion is a thing of the past.

The achievement of quantum supremacy has sparked a race among tech giants and research institutions to develop their own quantum computers. IBM, NVIDIA, and other major players in the industry are investing heavily in quantum research, hoping to catch up with Google's ground-breaking achievement. This competition is driving innovation and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the field of quantum computing.

IBM's Quantum Volume and Research Initiatives

IBM has been actively pushing the boundaries of quantum computing through its Quantum Volume metric, which assesses the overall performance of a quantum computer. The company has consistently increased Quantum Volume, which indicates advancements in qubit connectivity and error rates. By considering all these elements, Quantum Volume serves as a practical benchmark to assess the performance and progress of quantum computers. Furthermore, IBM's commitment to quantum research is evident through initiatives like the IBM Quantum Network, fostering collaborations with research institutions and businesses to accelerate the development of practical quantum applications.

However, IBM's commitment to advancing quantum computing doesn't stop there. The company has invested heavily in research initiatives, forging collaborations with academic institutions and industry partners. These partnerships have resulted in significant breakthroughs in various areas, such as error correction, noise reduction, and quantum algorithm development. By pooling the expertise of researchers from different backgrounds, IBM can tackle the complex challenges of quantum computing from multiple angles.

One of the most remarkable contributions IBM has made to the field is the creation of its cloud-based quantum computing platform, IBM Quantum Experience. This platform has revolutionised the accessibility of quantum computers. Previously, access to such powerful machines was limited to a select few. However, with IBM Quantum Experience, researchers and developers from all corners of the globe can now experiment and contribute to the advancement of quantum computing.

Through this platform, users can explore a variety of quantum systems, ranging from small-scale prototypes to more advanced models. They can design and run their own quantum experiments, gaining valuable insights into the behaviour of quantum systems. This democratisation of access has opened up a world of possibilities, sparking innovation and accelerating the pace of quantum computing research.

NVIDIA Joining the Quantum Computing Race

Nvidia is the latest Big Tech firm to venture into quantum cloud computing. During the March 2024 annual GTC conference, Nvidia announced the Nvidia Quantum Cloud, which emerges as a beacon for researchers and developers, offering a playground to experiment with quantum computing's untapped potential. This new service, built on the existing Nvidia CUDA-Q platform, represents a fusion of ambition and practicality, aiming to catalyse breakthroughs across diverse scientific realms, from chemistry to material science.

At its core, Nvidia Quantum Cloud aspires to democratise access to quantum simulations, bridging the gap between theoretical promise and practical exploration. The platform's integration with cuQuantum software simulates quantum processing units (QPUs) on GPU-based hardware, acknowledging the current limitations of physical QPUs while still fostering innovation in quantum algorithm development.

Collaborations with academia and industry, like the partnership with the University of Toronto and Classiq Technologies, underscore Nvidia's commitment to fostering a collaborative ecosystem that transcends traditional computing boundaries.

As Nvidia forges alliances with cloud and quantum computing giants, the initiative could either be a pivotal stride towards a quantum-informed future or a high-stakes gamble in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

Advances in Chinese Quantum Research

China has established itself as a leading force in quantum research, with notable achievements and investments in quantum technology. Organisations like the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) actively contribute to quantum advancements. Chinese researchers are making significant strides in quantum communication experiments, quantum key distribution, and quantum computing research, emphasising the nation's commitment to quantum technology.

One notable achievement is the successful entanglement of 18 qubits, a significant milestone demonstrating China's progress in building large-scale quantum systems. This breakthrough paved the way for exploring new quantum algorithms and quantum simulations with higher complexity and accuracy.

In addition to hardware advancements, China has been actively researching quantum communication and cryptography. Developing secure, space-based, quantum networks and quantum encryption protocols can revolutionise cybersecurity, ensuring the privacy and integrity of sensitive information in the face of increasingly sophisticated threats.

China's investment in quantum research goes beyond computing and communication. Chinese scientists are also exploring the potential applications of quantum technology in other fields, such as eCommerce, medicine and finance. China's advancements in quantum research are not only limited to hardware and communication but also extend to international collaborations and diverse applications. With its continued investments and dedication to pushing the boundaries of quantum technology, China is poised to play a leading role in shaping the future of this revolutionary field.

University-Led Quantum Research Initiatives

Besides industry giants, universities worldwide are driving quantum computing research forward with their innovative projects and collaborations. From designing novel quantum algorithms to developing new hardware architectures, these institutions play a crucial role in shaping the future of quantum computing.

Institutions such as MIT, Caltech, and ETH Zurich are conducting cutting-edge research, contributing to the fundamental understanding of quantum mechanics and developing quantum algorithms. Collaborations between academia and industry players foster an environment where theoretical advancements can be translated into practical quantum computing applications.

Furthermore, the University of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing is renowned for its work on quantum information theory and quantum secure communication. The institute's researchers have made remarkable contributions to the field, including developing quantum key distribution protocols that ensure secure communication channels. These protocols utilise the principles of quantum mechanics to establish unbreakable encryption keys, making it virtually impossible for eavesdroppers to intercept or decipher sensitive information.

By harnessing the power of quantum computing, these researchers aim to tackle complex computational challenges currently beyond classical computers' reach.

Converging AI and Quantum Computing for Transformative Breakthroughs

In the future, the convergence of quantum computing and artificial intelligence will play a pivotal role in redefining how we approach data and computational challenges. By leveraging the power of quantum computing's parallel processing and AI's capacity for pattern recognition, researchers aim to tackle complex optimisation problems, accelerate drug discovery, optimise financial portfolios, and improve machine learning algorithms.

Quantum computing's immense processing power can significantly accelerate AI algorithms, enabling more efficient data analysis, pattern recognition, and optimisation tasks. Conversely, AI algorithms can contribute to the advancement of quantum computing by assisting in error correction processes and optimising quantum circuits.

This convergence will require cross-disciplinary collaboration and the development of hybrid algorithms that leverage classical and quantum computing capabilities. The potential applications are vast and encompass various sectors, including healthcare, finance, logistics, and materials science.

One of the key areas where the convergence of AI and quantum computing holds immense promise is in the field of healthcare. With the ability to process vast amounts of data and identify patterns at an unprecedented speed, this powerful combination can revolutionise medical research and drug discovery. Imagine a world where diseases are diagnosed and treated with unparalleled accuracy, thanks to the synergy between AI algorithms and quantum computing's computational prowess.

Illuminating Quantum: The Room-Temperature Photonic Leap

Traditionally, the quantum computing arena, dominated by titans like Google and IBM, has been entangled in the complexities of qubit generation and entanglement, striving to protect these delicate units of quantum information from external perturbations. Enter the innovative photonic approach: it promises operation beyond the frigid confines of near-zero temperatures. It introduces inherently error-correcting logical qubits created from laser pulses, marking a significant stride toward simplifying quantum computations.

The implications of this research stretch far beyond the laboratories; they touch upon our fundamental understanding of quantum mechanics and its potential to revolutionise industries. By transcending the conventional qubit conundrum with a laser pulse that embodies a logical qubit, researchers unveil a realm where quantum computing could become more intuitive, robust, and, perhaps crucially, more integrated into our everyday technological landscape.

Use Cases for Quantum Computing

The transformative synergy between AI and quantum computing will unfold in various sectors. Quantum computing represents a ground-breaking leap in computational capabilities, harnessing the principles of quantum mechanics to process information in ways that classical computers cannot match. As such, you would argue that plenty of use cases exist. 

Google thinks differently, and despite quantum's prowess in outrunning classical computers in niche arenas, the hunt is on to find use cases that have a tangible impact. That’s why Google recently started a competition with a $3 million grand prize to stir imaginations; the deeper quest is to decipher whether these nascent giants of computation will forge tools of profound utility or remain ensconced in labs, their promise perennially on the cusp of realisation.

Despite the lack of tangible use cases, quantum computing comes with many promises for various sectors. For example, the financial sector benefits greatly from the convergence of AI and quantum computing. With the ability to optimise portfolios and predict market trends with greater precision, financial institutions can make more informed decisions and mitigate risks. This can lead to more stable markets and improved economic outcomes for individuals and businesses alike.

The logistics industry can experience a significant transformation by integrating AI and quantum computing. By leveraging AI's ability to optimise supply chain operations and quantum computing's computational power, companies can streamline their processes, reduce costs, and improve overall efficiency. This can result in faster delivery times, reduced environmental impact, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Moreover, quantum computing promises a deeper understanding of the universe by mirroring its quantum foundations. As researchers like IBM's Dario Gil articulate, we must employ machines that resonate with its intrinsic quantum symphony to comprehend nature's quantum choreography. In these endeavours, quantum computers are envisioned as cosmic interpreters, translating the esoteric language of subatomic particles into insights that could revolutionise our approach to medicine, energy, and beyond. These devices delve into realms beyond the reach of classical computing, offering new perspectives on the universe's fabric and potentially unravelling phenomena like dark matter or the intricacies of quantum gravity.

Lastly, the materials sciences can benefit from combining AI and quantum computing. Researchers can accelerate the development of new materials with tailored properties by utilising AI algorithms to predict material properties and quantum computing to simulate and analyse their behaviour at the atomic level. This can lead to advancements in various industries, such as electronics, energy, and manufacturing.

As we look ahead, the convergence of AI and quantum computing holds the promise of transformative breakthroughs across multiple sectors. With cross-disciplinary collaboration and the development of hybrid algorithms, we can harness the power of these technologies to address complex challenges and unlock new possibilities. The future is bright, and the innovation potential is limitless.


The field of quantum computing is rapidly evolving, driven by significant advancements made by industry leaders and academic institutions worldwide. As we venture into this intricate tapestry of quantum milestones and aspirations, I invite you to join me in envisioning a future where the realms of possibility are limitless and the quantum world unfolds in all its intricate majesty and profound impact.

With further research, innovation, and collaboration, quantum computing has the potential to reshape industries, solve previously intractable problems, and drive the next wave of technological innovation.

 Images: Midjourney

Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Dr Mark van Rijmenam is The Digital Speaker. He is a leading strategic futurist who thinks about how technology changes organisations, society and the metaverse. Dr Van Rijmenam is an international innovation keynote speaker, 5x author and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Datafloq and the author of the book on the metaverse: Step into the Metaverse: How the Immersive Internet Will Unlock a Trillion-Dollar Social Economy, detailing what the metaverse is and how organizations and consumers can benefit from the immersive internet. His latest book is Future Visions, which was written in five days in collaboration with AI. Recently, he founded the Futurwise Institute, which focuses on elevating the world’s digital awareness.