Quantum computing market to reach $1 trillion by 2035

15 April 2020 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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Quantum computing technology will have a global market value of $1 trillion by 2035, according to a new report. Businesses in the sectors most likely to take advantage of these new capabilities should therefore set up a strategy now to make the most of the future opportunities.

Quantum computing is the use of quantum-mechanical phenomena such as superposition and entanglement to perform computation. In general, it is believed that quantum computers will help immensely with problems related to optimisation, which play key roles in everything from defence to financial trading. At the same time, it is said to be more power efficient than modern computing, through the use of quantum tunneling, something expected to reduce power consumption from 100 to 1000 times – meaning companies could deploy them to decrease their carbon footprint and energy spending.

According to a new report from McKinsey & Partners, in partnership with the Viva Technology show, the technology will have a global market value of $1 trillion by 2035. Illustrating the possibly transformative nature of the advance, one of the report’s co-authors pointed to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Distribution of quantum-computing use case

Following the release of the study, Alexandre Ménard, Senior Associate Director at McKinsey commented, "If we had these capabilities today, we could deal with the Covid-19 epidemic more effectively. Quantum computing makes it possible to develop vaccines and drugs several dozen times faster than with techniques. It is to be hoped that the technology will be ready by the next health crisis.”

The value of quantum computing will come from four main fields of application: quantum simulation, optimisation of multivariate problems, factorisation of prime numbers, and quantum machine learning. The first sectors to benefit from this will be finance, logistics and advanced manufacturing – which will lead to the production of a range of machines powerful enough to help the creation of new molecules in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and materials science industries.

Quantum machine learning will come later. McKinsey sees this, among other things, as a way to accelerate the training of autonomous driving systems. Finally, the factorisation of very large prime numbers, which will allow for the “breaking” of current encryption algorithms, will not be possible at best until the very end of the decade.

The research suggests that use of quantum or pseudo-quantum computers to solve optimisation problems will begin between 2022 and 2026. The uptake of these functionalities could then move very quickly, with the analysts suggesting that there could be between 2,000 and 5,000 quantum computers worldwide by 2030.

However, the firm warns of the complex hardware and software ecosystem that will be required to exploit this technology. According to Menard, actions to harness the future potential of the technology must therefore be taken sooner, rather than later.

There are a number of entities which will play a vital role in completing the value chain of quantum computing which will need putting into place in the present day. These include the suppliers of cooling technologies or the materials necessary for the manufacture of these devices, but are not only preoccupied with the material production. Support will also be needed in the development of a quantum computing business strategy – something which will see consultants play an important role too.

“The key positions are taken today and the technological battles are won today,” Menard concluded. "The value chain is complex. Some elements of the chain are in hardware, others in software, others are in the business."