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2 Quantum Computing Breakthroughs Reveal the Technology's Commercial Potential

By Fortune

September 22, 2021

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Quantum computing is getting ever closer to realizing its potential as a transformative technology for many businesses. This past week a pair of announcements provided a glimpse of how two diverse sectors, steel manufacturing and finance, may be on the cusp of being able to do things with quantum computers that were until now impossible.

Cambridge Quantum Computing, a U.K.-based company that recently agreed to merge with the quantum computing arm of industrial giant Honeywell and spin out as a new publicly traded company, said it had worked with Japan's Nippon Steel Corporation, one of the world's leading steel producers, to simulate the behavior of iron crystals in two different configurations.

This chemical simulation is so complex scientists cannot perform it accurately on a conventional computer. In this case, Nippon Steel and Cambridge Quantum Computing used an IBM quantum computer, accessed over the Internet, and specialized algorithms, developed by Cambridge Quantum Computing, to run the simulation.

Scientists involved in the research said the techniques could eventually aid in the creation of new types of steel as well as help answer fundamental questions about what happens in the earth's solid iron core, where the metal is subjected to extreme heat and pressure.

Also on Tuesday, researchers from Goldman Sachs, IonQ (a company that builds quantum computers), and QC Ware, a startup that specializes in quantum computing algorithms, said they had demonstrated how a fundamental mathematical technique that underpins the pricing of financial risk can be run better and faster on a quantum computer than on conventional ones.

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