2017 Has Been An Amazing Year. What Does 2018 Have In Store? Seven Quantum Computing Experts Predict the Future.

After yesterday’s Christmas wishes, I wanted to get some predictions for 2018 while I had such an illustrious group engaged. From a topological qubit, to machine learning, to demonstrating quantum advantage, I think you’ll enjoy their insights into where quantum computing is headed in the new year.

Will Zeng (Director, Software and Applications Rigetti Computing)

We’ll see quantum computers with enough qubits and enough coherence that it won’t be clear that they could be simulated by traditional supercomputers. It’ll be the first time we can try to compute things that couldn’t be computed anywhere else.

Bo Ewald (President, D-Wave Systems U.S.)

I think several big things will happen in 2018, but I think the most meaningful to the larger community will be that by the end of the year, we’ll have much better insight into what the two major quantum architectures (annealing and gate) will be best suited for. I think we’ll have more insight into real optimization, machine learning, and material science applications for our systems, and we’ll see what the gate model designs can do with limited error correction. But that’s the end of the year; at the start of the year, we’ll wish everyone happy holidays and all the best for the quantum new year!

Helmut Katzgraber (Professor, Texas A&M University)

A topological qubit.

Dr. Brian La Cour (Director, ARL:UT Center for Quantum Research)

I’m expecting that Google will make an announcement that they’ve finally demonstrated quantum supremacy (or whatever we decide to call it) with a 49-qubit device. One month later, Helmut Katzgraber will show that the results can be reproduced classically.

Dave Bacon (Staff Software Engineer, Google)

A previously unknown quantum algorithm will be discovered by people goofing off with newly accessible 50+ qubit quantum computers.

Dr. Hidetoshi Nishimori (Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Demonstration of “quantum advantage.”

Michael J. Biercuk (Founder, Q-Ctrl)

I’m looking forward to seeing a number of platforms come online with cloud-based offerings of their research-focused hardware, including Rigetti, Quantum Circuits, and IonQ. Greater diversity of the underlying hardware systems will be a very exciting thing to see. The fun emerging challenge for us is then learning how Q-Ctrl can support all of them.

Normally I wouldn’t put my opinions alongside these titans’ expertise. But since we’re just making predictions, I’m going to say that we’ll see an uptick in seed investment into quantum computing-related startups.  (Even though there has been an “implosion in early stage funding.”) I think we’ll see this primarily in software-based startups. But hey, what do I know?