Unlocking the Quantum Advantage: How Quantum Computing is Revolutionizing Industries from Supply Chain Optimization to Finance and Beyond

Quantum computing is a rapidly advancing field of technology that has the potential to revolutionize various industries, including finance, cryptography, drug discovery, materials science, and optimization problems. Although quantum computers are still in the early stages of development and have not yet mastered to solve real-world problems better than classical computers, significant progress has been made in recent years and experts expect quantum advantage in the next years. In this article, we outline how different industries will be impacted by the rise of quantum computing.

What is quantum computing?

Quantum computers operate using the principles of quantum mechanics, which allow them to perform calculations that are currently infeasible for classical computers. They use quantum bits, or qubits, which can exist in a superposition of multiple states simultaneously, and can be „entangled“ with each other, enabling powerful parallel processing and increased computational capacity.

Quantum computers with a small number of qubits, known as noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) computers, are already available for experimentation and research purposes. These early-stage quantum computers are being used to explore potential applications and develop quantum algorithms.

Several technology companies, research institutions, and governments around the world are investing heavily in quantum computing research and development. For example, the German government has initiated funding programs and strategies to support research and development in this field. The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) has supported the PlanQK research project (Platform and Ecosystem for Quantum Applications) since 2019.

PlanQK provides the technological foundation to connect different players across the quantum value chain and was highlighted in a 2023 published position paper by BITKOM e.V. as a possible solution to overcome fragmentation and combine different research projects in one holistic platform. Built on this success the BMWK also has initiated further projects like the Quantum Computing Initiative of the German Center for Aerospace (DLR), SeQuenC that provides integration between classical High-Performance Computing and Quantum Computing hardware or the project AutoQML that provides tooling for developers. These research projects are intended to provide valuable building blocks along the entire value chain and can become part of the PlanQK ecosystem.

Can quantum computers be used today?

There are still areas of improvement to tackle before quantum computers can achieve a real quantum-advantage over classical computers for different use cases. Leading organizations are working to solve these challenges such as improving the stability and error rates of qubits, developing efficient quantum error correction codes, and creating practical quantum algorithms that already offer an advantage on NISQ hardware. While there is no exact timeline for when quantum computers will have enough power to solve real-world use cases, experts, such as IBM, estimate first breakthroughs in quantum processors as soon as in 2030, resulting in a new era of scaling and providing a clear path to 100,000 qubits and beyond.

Examples of potential use cases

So, while it is not clear yet when the breakthrough happens, it will happen, and it will bring significant changes for industries with it. We have listed some potential use cases across industries.

Do you need help to identify relevant use cases, or do you need a partner to build expertise within your company? Reach out to us, we are happy to help you.