‘UK a quantum computing leader’ - CEO of Cambridge Quantum

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

The CEO and founder of an independent quantum computing company based in Cambridge has said the UK is a quantum computing “leader”.

Speaking this week at the Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS) in London, Ilyas Khan, CEO of Cambridge Quantum, said that while the quantum computing sector has witnessed significant advances in the last few years, fully fledged and error-free machines are still some way from becoming a reality.

However, he also predicted that machines will reach a quantum volume in the millions of qubits within the next 12 months. Quantum volume is a metric that measures the capabilities and error rates of a quantum computer i.e. its performance. To date, the highest measurement has been 2,046 – set by Honeywell’s Quantinuum H1-2 in December last year – but Khan predicts that machines will hit one million within 12 months.

“I think that a view that is any more aggressive than that could be misleading, but a view that is more conservative than that is equally misleading,” Khan said.

Khan also predicted that there will be Financial Technology, or FinTech, quantum applications within the next three to five years.

Boasting far more power than traditional computers, quantum machines are expected to revolutionise areas such as financial modelling, drug discovery and supply chain optimisation.

Another potential use for quantum computers is natural language processing, with the ultimate goal being to develop a computer that can truly understand speech.

“Siri and Alexa don’t have a bloody clue what you’re talking about, or what red is, it doesn’t know what an Apple is,” said Khan. “I think that we are likely to have a device that actually is meaning aware and is capable of interacting with human beings in the way that we’re all interacting now,” he added.

Khan said this could be within the next 10 or 20 years.

Other UK quantum computing companies include Cambridge-based Riverlane, Oxford-based PQShield and Brighton-based Universal Quantum.

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