The short answer is: Not quite yet. So why even think about it now? Because it’s coming up quickly. If you consider how fast technology has ‘snowballed’ since the 1960s, Quantum Computing will soon be at your door.

A scant few ‘old-timers’ in the IT Support Los Angeles Community have witnessed the evolution and ‘trickle down’ effect of computing technology since the early days when the IBM punch-card system first made its way into the public consciousness in the 1950s – decades after the system was introduced by IBM in 1928 for use in main-frame computers.

At the time, only the biggest corporations were using electronic computing, with an in-house IT services team to keep everything going. Now fast-forward to the invention of the microprocessor in 1972, which allowed computers to run faster and take up less space. At this point, many mid-sized businesses jumped into the fray and the first generation of the Time & Materials, or ‘Break & Fix’ (B&F) model for the IT Support industry was truly born, but with only a handful of outsourced IT Consulting Services available in any given major city. That was also when forward-looking high school and college kids started taking Computer Science classes, and it paid off – in spades.

It would be a decade later, when Personal Computers (PCs) began appearing on the scenes, that literally any sized business could afford to get them, and the B &F IT services world flourished. Now jump ahead to the advent of the internet, and the Managed IT Services model for IT Support and the IT HelpDesk  were born, and slowly took over as the dominant IT model over the next 30+ years. No longer would a ‘Break & Fix’ customer have to wait for their IT services ‘guy’ to show up, figure out what broke and then fix it – IT HelpDesk could now take care of it in a matter of minutes over the internet.

What is quantum computing and how does it work?

This is a small question with a huge answer. As might be guessed, it incorporates Quantum Physics with information theory and computer science. According to Investopedia:
“Quantum computing is an area of computing focused on developing computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory (which explains the behavior of energy and material on the atomic and subatomic levels). Computers used today can only encode information in bits that take the value of 1 or 0—restricting their ability.

Quantum computing, on the other hand, uses quantum bits or qubits. It harnesses the unique ability of subatomic particles that allows them to exist in more than one state (i.e., a 1 and a 0 at the same time).”

In ultra-simplified terms, while classic computing can manipulate, evaluate, and make determinations on one ‘reality’ or set of data at a time, Quantum computing can do the same with several ‘realities’ simultaneously. In examining one set, the basic component of Quantum computing – the qubit (rather than the classic bit) can immediately determine the attributes of any and all associated or ‘partner’ sets.

From LitsLink: “Let’s imagine a situation of having two bombs with identical fuses. According to rules of classical physics, they would explode at the same time. However, according to the laws of quantum physics, two identical radioactive atoms will explode at different times although they are indistinguishable. Quantum elements share a set of features that seem to be the verge of common sense like teleportation, time travel or an ability to be at two places simultaneously.”

If there was a nutshell definition it would be still be too long for this blog. It’s not unlike the difference between arithmetic and calculus - an entirely different way to compute, but it is reported to be 100 MILLION times faster than even the fastest Supercomputer when dealing with normal, day-to-day calculations.

Earlier this year, Quantum computing firm D-Wave Systems demonstrated that their Quantum computer solved a complex Quantum Magnetics problem 3 Million times faster than a classical computer. This Canadian company is one of several who are spearheading the drive to introduce Quantum Computing into the general business environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What kinds of problems is quantum computing suitable for?

A:  Literally, computing problems of any kind, but the two areas most immediately adapted to Quantum Computing are Encryption and its use in Cybersecurity. The mathematical problem at the heart of classic RSA encryption relies on the factoring of two prime numbers. Identifying the correct pair using classical computing takes literally forever. Quantum algorithms can do this factorization quickly.

Q: What is the biggest problem with quantum computing?

A: The controlling and removal of quantum ‘decoherence’ which can be viewed as the loss of information from a system into the environment (often modeled as a ‘heat or thermal bath’) since every system is loosely coupled with the energetic state of its surroundings.

As a result of decoherence, time-consuming tasks may render some quantum algorithms inoperable, as maintaining the state of qubits for a long enough duration will eventually corrupt the superpositions. Read more HERE.

Q: Why quantum computing can be important for information technology?

A:  Managed IT Services providers like IT Support LA who utilize Quantum Computing (whether their clients use it or not) will be able to predict and diagnose challenges within a network much faster. Attending to the proactive maintenance and repair needs of their end-users who do utilize Quantum Computing will remain pretty much the way it is now, although in the onsite setup will require safeguards – for example, Quantum computers need to be kept much colder than classic computers.

Instead of having two different realities for problem solving like current computers, quantum computing creates the ability to combine two realities, making the predictive abilities of the IT support team much more accurate and timely. This produces a far more efficient problem-solving technique. All computing systems rely on a fundamental ability of binary digits to store and manipulate information. The method by which either classic or Quantum computing is performed does not intrinsically alter the methodologies employed by the IT services provider.

Q: How expensive is a quantum computer?

A: D-Wave’s first commercially available Quantum Computer came with a hefty $10 Million dollar price tag. In February SpinQ, a start-up company in China unveiled a ‘home’ quantum computer costing $5 Thousand dollars. We suggest a very cautious ‘wait-and-see’ attitude with this product, for several reasons, not the least of which is the source.