The (use) case for quantum computing

When it comes to computer development, Moore’s Law held firm for 50+ years.

More recently, some feel it’s slowing down – or even dead. Here’s the thing: many of the challenges facing the world won’t wait for Moore’s Law to catch up.

Enter quantum computing.

The reason why quantum computing is so transformative is because of its ability to create simulations. With unprecedented levels of scale and complexity. Where instead of carrying out real-world examples, quantum computing can understand every possible reaction of how molecules behave,  and come up with the answer faster, more predictably, and at much less cost.

We’ve explored the reasons behind the growth in quantum computing. Now let’s look at some of the potential use cases.

sea waves
There are more molecules in a cup of water, than there are cups of water in the world’s oceans

Machine learning

Harnessing machine learning requires sufficiently large data sets. Along with the computational power to crunch this data and recognise patterns. Quantum computers will enable this – at an accelerated rate. Meaning that machines will get smarter in a shorter space of time, and making new developments likely to happen at a faster rate..


To develop new drugs, scientists need to test how molecules react and respond to one another. Mapping the human genome, for example, was a major breakthrough. Scientists are now faced with the challenge of modelling the 20,000+ proteins encoded in the human genome, to understand how they’ll react to particular drugs and treatments. Traditionally, this has been time-consuming, involving major investment, with no guarantee of success at the end of it. Quantum computers will make it possible to simulate molecular structure, dramatically speeding up processes and finding cures.

Combating global warming

Algorithmic development can focus on carbon capture. Working out where and what point carbon emissions can be captured and removed from the Earth’s atmosphere. Furthermore, quantum computers also use something called quantum tunnelling. This has the environmental benefit of reducing power consumption by a factor of 100 to 1,000.


Creating fertiliser is an energy-intensive process, responsible for around 2% of all global CO2 emissions. Yet, the earth does it naturally, using plant bacteria and a molecule – nitrogenase. Analysing this molecule is impossible for the most powerful computers around today. However, it’s something well within the capabilities of a quantum computer.


The world has never had so much access to so much data. In fact, more data has been generated over the past two years than throughout all of human history. Quantum computers offer a solution that goes beyond simply extracting the value hidden within the volumes. They can not only crunch data sets, but also calculate and create new data sets, to reveal new insights. Will it be a case of data centre to digital centre to quantum centre?

Smart cities

Late last year Volkswagen Group announced a partnership with Google to explore practical applications of quantum computing. The German carmaker intends to research and build up knowledge for areas including ‘traffic optimization, material simulations especially for high-performance batteries for electric vehicles and new materials, and new machine learning processes’.

What else?

The truth is, many use cases can’t even be conceived yet. That’s because quantum developers and programmers are in short supply. What’s more, quantum systems redefine the physics of computing. Which means that many use cases will only become apparent once the technology is deployed. Although one thing is for sure. It will be many years before quantum computers feature on office workstations.

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