What is the point of Quantum?

by | Feb 3, 2019 | Voxxed Days Bucharest 2019

James Birnie has been working on commercial software since the late 1990s. Back then TDD was something you studied but never did, pipelines were something that carried oil and agile and lean were words used to describe gymnasts. In 2006 he joined a startup and worked there for 9 years which included at least 3 major rewrites, cloud migrations and an Agile transformation.

In 2015 he joined ThoughtWorks and he’ve since worked on several major projects on several very different technology stacks. Every day in his job he sees things that surprise, shock, disappoint and sometimes delight him!

Rigetti’s quantum advantage prize has injected interest into the race to make a commercial quantum proposition. But what problems will it solve? James will demonstrate how quantum will solve problems in chemistry and cryptography that are currently out of reach. Best of all, you can try this code now! 

This is the evolution of talks he has given at beginner level on quantum computing throughout 2018. He knows enough now to create some much more complete, and useful, demonstrations using IBM Q and Q#. Hopefully it will be interesting for the audience to both understand the class of problems that will become solvable (the biggest thing he’s been asked is “what will quantum be useful for?”) and how we may go about solving them.

Q# already provides a reasonably rich library of quantum functions that enable us to implement Shor’s algorithm and Grover’s algorithm with Microsoft’s trademark attention to detail. For fun, and to try to understand the maths better, he’s also started implementing his own quantum simulators using Clojure – this may or may not be in an appropriate state (or perhaps a superposition of inappropriate and appropriate) to be demonstrated soon.