Computer hardware and software giant IBM has been a leader in the quantum computing ecosystem. One of the notable achievements made by the company is the installation of on-premises IBM Quantum Systems in The US, Japan, Germany and S. Korea—all of which happened within the past five years.
Even as IBM was making such monumental moves, several countries in Asia including Japan, China and India were already making breakthroughs in the industry.
In fact, China has been one of the US’ biggest rivals in recent years. US-China tensions are at their highest level in decades, with the two countries at odds over trade, human rights concerns, and espionage concerns. In response to China’s demonstration of the Micius satellite in 2017, American politicians invested hundreds of millions of dollars into quantum information science through the National Quantum Initiative.
President Biden also seeks to take the initiative a notch higher which he pledged before the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. “As new technologies continue to evolve, we’ll work together with our democratic partners to ensure that new advances in areas from biotechnology, to quantum computing, 5G, artificial intelligence, and more are used to lift people up, to solve problems, and advance human freedom — not to suppress dissent or target minority communities,” he said.
Additionally, the US government seeks to fund quantum information science through proposed legislation such as the Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, which would provide $1.5 billion for research into communications, including quantum technology.
Meanwhile, India is also committing a top dollar as it seeks to strengthen its capabilities in this nascent technology. India’s massive investments in quantum computing are expected to have a significant impact in defense, manufacturing, banking and high-tech areas, with defense and manufacturing accounting for over a third of India’s quantum market, according to Swapnil Bhatnagar, senior research director of Avasant as reported by ComputerWeekly.
“The Indian quantum computing push is very unique in the world, especially with strong moves by government agencies, and a robust and versatile startup ecosystem that is looking at different facets, along with parallel work from service providers and academia,” Bhatnagar said.
According to James Sanders, an analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, governments around the world have become more interested in quantum computing in recent years.
In a report Sanders released in March, governments have pledged funding for quantum research totaling $4.2 billion. An example is South Korea’s $40 million investment. and Singapore’s Ministry of Education’s funding of a research center, The Center for Quantum Technologies.
However, quantum computing still has limited applications in today’s tech environment despite its clear and vast strategic future potential.
“Areas where you have HPC [high-performance computing] are areas where we will be seeing quantum computers having an impact. It’s things like material simulation, aerodynamic simulation, these kinds of things, very high, difficult computational problems, and then machine learning artificial intelligence,” Savoie told CNBC.