Doing My Best Doc Brown, I’ll Take You Back to 2017, and then Forward to 2018 Looking for the Most Popular and Interesting Topics in Quantum Computing.

2017 was a very interesting year for quantum computing, and I was lucky enough to cover quite a bit of it. As I looked back on the year, I wondered what the most popular posts were. What did you, my valued visitors, care about? Well, the interviews were big hits, so I promise there will be lots more of those coming in 2018. But Microsoft came out of nowhere to take the top two spots on this year’s list.

The Five Most Popular Posts of 2017

Here are this year’s top five.

5. ARL’s Dr. Brian La Cour Discusses Quantum Emulation and Childhood Ambition

I was psyched a couple of weeks ago to share an interview with Dr. Brian La Cour, Director of the Center for Quantum Research at the University of Texas’s Applied Research Laboratories (ARL). Apparently a lot of you shared that feeling, as Dr. La Cour’s interview jumped to the top of the charts and came in as the fifth most popular post of the year.

4. The Quantum Sensei: Dr. Hidetoshi Nishimori Discusses Quantum Annealing

Out of all the interviews I did this year, I was never more excited than when Dr. Hidetoshi Nishimori agreed to talk about quantum annealing. If you’ve never heard of Dr. Nishimori, get thyself to Google forthwith. His 1998 theory of quantum annealing has been studied and tested extensively on real machines, paving the way for much of the progress in the field to date.

3. Diving into Quantum Computing with Helmut Katzgraber to Get a Clearer Picture

When I met Texas A&M’s Helmut Katzgraber in Japan, he instantly became one of my favorite people in quantum computing. In addition to being one of the leaders in the field, he’s also an avid underwater photographer. We got to discuss both in his candid interview.

2. Microsoft Plays Quantum Computing in the Key of Q#

Microsoft made a splash (and a hit with our readers) when they took a shot at making quantum computing accessible to developers with a new Visual Studio/Q# preview. This was a bold move, and many supported it. Personally, I thought this was an awesome first step. As you can see in our top post of the year, not everyone felt that way.

1. Three Reasons Why the Claims that Microsoft’s Quantum Computing Efforts are “Vaporware” are #FAKENEWS

So, there was this Forbes opinion piece that questioned Microsoft’s decision to preview its quantum computing software, referring to the effort as “vaporware.” Though I regret it (sort of), I couldn’t help myself from using #fakenews, because I take exception to the author’s reasoning. Read the full post to see why.

2018 Quantum Computing Forecast

I’ll get right to it. I believe that 2018 will see the most significant advances in quantum computing to date. I believe that materials science and software development will drive those advances. That’s not to discount all of the progress companies like IBM, Microsoft, Google, and Rigetti Computing will be making on the hardware side. Nor does it diminish the efforts of Q-Ctrl, QCware, and our friends at 1QBit (who just scored a $45M investment to close out their year).  I just happen to think that those two areas are positioned to make great strides.

Here are three more predictions for 2018.

1. Fortune 50 Companies Will Start Adopting Quantum Computing

From Apple, to Amazon, to Johnson and Johnson, I believe that 2018 will be the year that leading companies with big data will dip their toes into quantum computing. This will be tempered by the availability of quantum computers and current technical challenges (e.g., decoherence), but I predict they will adopt and stick with quantum computing as the pace of innovation accelerates.

2. There Will Be More Quantum Breakthroughs in 2018 than in All the Previous Years Combined

There have been some pretty incredible events in the history of quantum computing, but I predict they will pale in comparison to what happens in 2018. Increased VC funding, the entry of an entirely new set of developers into the field, new tools, and growing interest will drive some amazing developments.

3. Someone Will Demonstrate Quantum Supremacy

I’m not placing a bet on who exactly will climb the mountain. Google has put a lot of weight behind it, but IBM has also been making tremendous progress. Whoever steps up, I believe we will see a demonstration of quantum supremacy within the next 12 months, and I believe that this event will accelerate the interest, investment, and adoption of quantum computing.

Here’s to a great 2018.  Happy New Year, everyone!