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Quantum Computing in Finance and Banking: Crunching Numbers through Quantum Physics

Quantum computing Superman

By current supercomputer standards, Summit is a behemoth. Located in Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and sporting a massive 250 petabytes storage capacity, Summit is capable of 200 quadrillion calculations per second. As per John Kelly, IBM’s SVP for Cognitive Solutions and Research: “Supercomputing is the Formula One of computing. It’s where companies test bleeding-edge technology at an unprecedented scale.” You might be wondering what a supercomputer like this is good for. That answer is quantum computing in finance and banking. But really, when it comes to the multitude of possibilities in quantum computing, Summit is good for a lot.

With the emergence of quantum computing, processing capabilities have leaped forward, substantially benefiting industries and consumers alike. For instance, the application of quantum computing in finance and banking offers potential value in portfolio optimization, machine learning & artificial intelligence, and data security & encryption.

Undoubtedly, quantum computing in finance and banking is just one of its potential applications. Various sectors such as industrial goods, pharmaceuticals, energy, and technology are currently testing quantum computing. The possibilities of quantum computing are boundless and its capabilities are now beginning to unfold.

Quantum Computing Versus Classical Computing

While a full-blown shift to quantum computing may not be happening just yet, the use of the technology, alongside classical computers, is gathering momentum. Fundamentally, this hybrid utilization ushers in a new age in computing technology. Hence, it is crucial to understand the interplay of technologies and how their core structure differs and complements each other.

A classical computer processes and stores information in bits – short for binary digits, in distinct values of either 0 or 1. On the other hand, a quantum computer uses quantum bit or qubit as its basic unit of information. In a classical computer, inputs go through logic gates and information is translated based on the output as either 0 or 1. Additionally, classical computers process calculations in a sequential manner.  With quantum computing, qubits can be an overlay of a 0 or 1 by assuming a superposition. Along with another property called entanglement, superposition gives qubits the capacity to be in various states – properties which give quantum computers the freedom to do parallel calculations. With more calculations occurring at the same time, quantum computers can arrive at desired outputs in a shorter span of time.

Application of Quantum Computing in Finance and Banking

For decades, quantum computing has attracted the attention of academic and research institutions. Recently, a number of industries and private companies have positioned themselves as players in the quantum computing field. Quantum computing in finance and banking is one of these recent developments.

  1. Financial institutions tap on the high-powered processing capabilities of quantum computing and optimize for big data analytics. Incorporating quantum computing in finance and banking helps speed up transactional activities and grouping of seemingly incongruent assets.
  2. Quantum computing in finance and banking supports portfolio analysis, asset appraisal, and high-frequency trading. By creating algorithms built on possibilities in quantum computing, banks and financial institutions can mine more value from big data. It is for this reason that Barclays and JP Morgan Chase has joined IBM’s Q network, exploring the possibilities in quantum computing within the industry.
  3. Product development, risk analysis, and consumer engagement use machine learning and artificial intelligence. Using quantum computing, the data gathered from a customer can be used as a valuable input to improve customer service and develop financial products that are built upon the core utility to move money, store value and access credit.
  4. Quantum computing in finance and banking will pave the way for next-generation cryptography to safeguard confidential data. Security measures such as stronger encrypted personal key and faster detection of fraud and anomalies. These add up to more possibilities in quantum computing.

Innovative Companies at the Forefront of Computing Revolution

Private-funded research such as the one conducted by Morgan Stanley in 2017, substantiates the fact that quantum computing will continue to increase its relevance years from now. The impact of quantum computing will be significant and will establish new avenues. It will redefine computing across sectors.

Leading the quantum computing revolution, IBM launched the IBM Q System One, “the world’s first fully integrated universal quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use.”

  • Creating the world’s biggest quantum computing chip embedded in a 10-foot tall computer, called D-Wave 2000Q, Canadian technology company D-Wave joins the race in paving possibilities in quantum computing.
  • Rigetti Computing, a technology company based in California, offers Forest™ a downloadable software development kit that can be used in writing and testing programs on our quantum-classical hybrid computers.
  • Canada-based quantum computing software company 1QB Information Technologies, Inc. (1Qbit) developed a software development kit that provides the necessary tools to develop and test quantum computing applications.
  • NASA, Google, and Universities Space Research Association (USRA) have collaborated on a project dubbed as Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (QuAIL). Through this project, NASA aims to address problems relating to aeronautics, Earth and space sciences, and space exploration.

Quantum physics first entered the realm of computing in the 80s through the works of Paul Benioff, Yuri Manin, and Richard Feynman. Currently, experts and researchers are working on addressing quantum computing challenges such as decoherence and building commercially-viable quantum computers. While developments have emerged in the last decades, the field of quantum computing is still in its infancy stage. Along with other technologies spawned by the fourth industrial revolution, quantum computing brings forth answers that can, therefore, help solve some of humanity’s perennial problems.

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