It’s oft said, but bears repeating: The money in the ‘49er Gold Rush was made by the suppliers much more than the miners. Enduring companies were built by selling picks, shovels and blue jeans.
The story plays out again today. Behind each breakthrough in quantum computing qubit-counts is a large collection of laboratory test equipment. Signal generators, arbitrary waveform generators, digitizers, oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers and network analyzers are vital as quantum players coax ions, photons and superconducting qubits into calculating problems.
Quantum computer R&D ramping up
Thoughts along this line piqued our interest as we took part in the quantum computing portions of Keysight Technologies’ online Keysight World Innovate conference, held recently. Keysight, and competitors such as Anritsu and Tektronix, are busy coming up with tooling to scale the quantum cliffs.
“There’s a lot of excitement about this technology and governments all around the world are investing in the research and development required to scale this up,” Shohini Ghose, Ph.D., a quantum physicist at Wilfrid Laurier University, said in a keynote at Keysight World.
“It’s a very exciting time, [but] it’s not quite clear where this technology will go,” she said.
Ghose’s emphasis on large-scale investment is borne out by the numbers. Estimates of government and private efforts to spur quantum science and technology, according to Quantum Resources and Careers (QURECA), point to current worldwide investments reaching almost $30 billion, with the overall global quantum technology market projected to reach $42.4 billion by 2027. …