The fastest supercomputers available today are millions of times slower than quantum computers, which have the potential to revolutionize everything from medical research to the way we address climate change issues. Despite the billions invested in them, the wait for these machines has been lengthy.
Investors have not been deterred by the uncertainties and the poor stock performance of publicly traded quantum computer startups, such as Rigetti Computing Inc (RGTI.O). While they wait, others are turning to startups that are switching to employing powerful CPUs to execute software inspired by quantum mechanics on conventional computers.
These firms are creating a new type of software that is inspired by algorithms used in quantum physics, a branch of research that analyzes the fundamental constituents of nature, because there aren’t any quantum computers available for customers to use right now to gain an advantage over classical computers.
These algorithms, which were once too complex for standard computers, are now finally being used, according to business executives who spoke to Reuters.
Software firm QC Ware, which has funded more than $33 million and was once primarily interested in developing software for quantum computers, claimed it had to shift course and focus on providing clients with immediate solutions while waiting for the development of quantum machines.
Therefore, QC Ware CEO Matt Johnson stated that the company turned to Nvidia Corp’s graphic processing units (GPU) in order to “figure out how can we get them something that is a big step change in performance… and build a bridge to quantum processing in the future.”
Originally designed to process video for gaming, GPUs have grown to be so powerful that they now handle the majority of AI work. They are also also utilized in quantum development.
A software platform called Promethium, developed by QC Ware, will be shown this week. It will simulate chemical molecules on a conventional computer using GPUs to examine how they interact with things like proteins.
According to Robert Parrish, head of quantum chemistry at QC Ware, the program may reduce simulation times for molecules with 100 atoms to minutes from hours and for molecules with 2000 atoms or more to hours from months.
The future is backed by well-known financiers and firms, including former Alphabet Inc. chairman Eric Schmidt, asset management T. Rowe Price (TROW.O), Samsung Ventures, and the venture arm of U.S. intelligence agencies. In-Q-Tel.
The firms benefiting from the generosity claim they are able to make money because consumers are lining up to get ready for the “iPhone” moment of quantum computing. This is subsequently attracting investors.
According to data company PitchBook, quantum software businesses including SandBoxAQ, an Alphabet offshoot, raised approximately $1 billion over the previous 18 months. This technology is still in its infancy, therefore these firms will have a tough time persuading some potential customers.
According to Jack Hidary, CEO of SandBoxAQ, AI chips were only able to simulate millions of chemical interactions at once 24 months ago.
It created a Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), a quantum-inspired algorithm for biopharma simulation that is currently profitable, on Google’s AI chip. In February, SandBoxAQ informed Reuters that it had raised $500 million.
Jason Turner, who established Entanglement Inc. in 2017 with the intention of being a “quantum only lab,” grew frustrated with the glacial progress being made in quantum hardware.
He said, “It’s been ten years away for, what, 40 years now, right?” After some hesitation, he finally gave in and asked Silicon Valley AI chip startup Groq to assist him in running a cybersecurity quantum-inspired algorithm.
In the end, according to William Hurley, CEO of Austin-based quantum software firm Strangeworks, software inspired by quantum physics won’t function properly on quantum computers without some alterations.
Nevertheless, he stated that businesses that begin employing them will have engineers “learning about quantum, the phenomenon, and the process, which will better prepare them to use quantum computers at the point they do so.” He warned that the moment might come suddenly.
Strangeworks collected $24 million last month from investors including IBM. It also runs a cloud with over 60 quantum computers on it.