Quantum Computing Briefing Paper

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Business Brief

Quantum computing is the area of study focused on developing new computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory. Quantum theory explains the nature and behavior of energy and matter on the quantum (atomic and subatomic) level. Quantum computing is a new computer based technology that uses superposition, entanglement and other laws of quantum mechanics to process information.

In traditional computing, a bit is known as a single unit of data and has a value of 0 or 1. The values 1 and 0 are often represented as two-valued attributes such as, on/off, true/false, yes/no and +/-. In quantum computing units of information are stored in quantum bits, also known as qubits. Qubits can be in multiple states to perform tasks using all possible permutations simultaneously.

In classical computers, the millions of capacitors and transistors that the computer operates on can only be in one binary state at any given moment (1 or 0). As a result, classical computers will eventually reach their performance limits due to the constraints placed by the materials and nature. By contrasting, quantum computer provides enormous processing power through its ability of multiple states to go beyond of traditional computers limit. Quantum computers will be able to solve problems that are far beyond the bounds of classical computers. Quantum computing will enable humans to answer some of the world’s most difficult questions pertaining to all fields such as physics and business. For example, in the field of chemistry, quantum computers will be able to analyze complex molecular structures and interactions to generate new medicine and cure diseases. As quantum computing becomes more utilized, it will help advance other technologies such as artificial intelligence/machine learning.

Technical Brief

In nature, particles at the smallest levels behave in unpredictable ways. These particles can often exist in two states, a key property that quantum computers try to harness. As already stated, a classical computer that uses bits can only be a 1 or 0. However, due to the principle of superposition, the qubits that make up a quantum computer can exist as 1 and 0 simultaneously. Entanglement allows qubits in superposition to be perfectly correlated and interact in unison. These quantum particles hold a link so strong that they are not limited by the speed of light and remain perfectly correlated with each other no matter the distance.

In classical computers, the millions of capacitors and transistors that the computer operates on can only be in one binary state at any given moment (1 or 0). As a result, classical computers will eventually reach their performance limits due to the constraints placed by the materials and nature. To go beyond these limits, quantum computing opens a new way

Quantum computing is essentially based off two phenomena in quantum mechanics: superposition and entanglement. As previously noted, in quantum computing, superposition allows a qubit to exist in multiple states such as, on and off, up and down etc. This means a quantum computer is able to do exponentially greater computations in a given moment than classical computers (2n, where n is the number of qubits). As an example, imagine you are looking for ways to get to a certain destination with only one correct path. In a classical computer, the destination is reached in the way most people would attack the problem. Try one path, if you reach a dead end, go back and try another. With a quantum computer, you would be able to try all paths in one execution and determine the correct path.

In quantum physics, what entanglement is a property that allows qubits to have a correlation among each other so high that it is impossible for other particles to achieve. If two entangled qubits are separated and given to two participants, Alice and Bob, you would see that they are perfectly correlated. For instance, Alice measures her qubit, of which the value is perfectly random and receives an outcome. Now, if Bob does the same measurement he would see that although the value is perfectly random, both Alice’s qubit and his are correlated. Essentially, it means that the state or value of one qubit can depend on the value of another. These explanations provide brief overviews of the nature of quantum computing. Although quantum computing is complicated, it must be understood in order to further understand the countless benefits it can provide.

Industry Use

Industries ranging from transportation to health care and beyond are all going to be able solve their biggest problems due to quantum computing. Quantum computers harness the potential of quantum mechanics to address many aspects that can be critical in all industries.

Those in the financial industries will be able to identify and model risk factors for investments and projects. In medicine, quantum computers will be able to analyze molecular interactions to develop better medications with less side-effects. Quantum computing will be revolutionary for many industries that dedicate resources into analytics, big data analysis and other activities which rely on high computer processing power.

Quantum computing will also provide a huge boost in industries dedicated to creating new and improved technologies. For example, industries concerned with artificial intelligence will use quantum computing to develop machine learning technologies. Google for instance has created a lab named the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab where they investigate the benefits quantum computing can provide in their AI development. NASA has also explored the idea of quantum computing to search for planets outside our solar system.Quantum computing is a relatively new technology still in its infancy. As our knowledge of quantum computing advances, as will our data on the benefits and uses.

Canadian Government Use

Since the possible integration of quantum computers to the GC is still far down the horizon, the Canadian Government does not fully understand the possible benefits it can provide. The GC can use quantum computers to process information and huge databases at a level never seen before.

Implications for Departments

Shared Services Canada

Value proposition

One of the main goes for SSC is to deliver services to stakeholders, other departments and Canadians. Quantum computers can provide many benefits to better deliver services where classical computers have trouble. For example, the technology can provide quick and accurate data retrieval from millions of lines of information. This feat would take even the best computers and algorithms a lot of time, but can be accomplished instantly with quantum computers.


There are many challenges that come with such a powerful and complicated technology. To begin, the complicated nature makes quantum computers extremely hard to create and understand. Also, the capabilities of quantum computers may provide some security challenges. For example, the ability for quantum computers to easily factor large prime numbers may compromise a lot of the cryptographic security measures taken by many agencies. That is because a lot of security algorithms that encrypt information are based off the property that computers cannot feasibly factor large primes. As such, many tech companies such as Google, have already began developing new quantum algorithms to be able to handle attacks from quantum computers.

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