Simple quantum-computational machines exist today, however, when people say ‘quantum computer’ they really mean a full-fledged device capable of running all their favorite programs. Those don’t exist. Not quite yet.

Researchers are optimistic that fully-functional commercial quantum computers will be produced in our lifetimes. However it is extremely difficult to predict the rate at which breakthroughs will be made. We are very close however, in 2017 D-Wave released a 2,000 qubit quantum-computer.

We can already tell that there is huge promise in quantum computers. For instance, quantum computer company D-Wave has raised over $200 million and Rigetti Computing has raised nearly $70 million.

Other than D-Wave and Rigetti, there are, of course, many major technology companies invested in the pursuit of quantum technology, namely Microsoft, Google, IBM, Intel and others. Additionally there are many other smaller firms and start-up companies.

We can be sure that significant investments and advancements in quantum computing will continue to be made in the future. However, it is unclear what the impact of quantum computing will be on our lives. Yet, given the astronomical increases in processing power that are theoretically possible, quantum computers seem poised to take over the computing industry. And, as such, quantum-computers are bound to permeate our lives as much as, well, regular computers have. Perhaps even more.

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF QUANTUM-COMPUTING AND QUANTUM-COMPUTERS?

The potential of quantum computing was first recognized in the second half of the twentieth century. Researchers realized that simulating quantum phenomena using quantum computers would be much easier than with classical computers.

In 1994, Peter Shor developed Shor's algorithm, an efficient factoring-algorithm for large numbers. Shor’s algorithm ran in polynomial time, while the most efficient known classical computers could only compute this problem in sub-exponential time, considerably slower.

Additionally, Shor's algorithm could be used to break public-key cryptographic codes used for internet communication. This discovery provided evidence that quantum computers could be used for tangible problems. Shor's algorithm kicked-off the field of quantum computing.

Following this discovery there have been many other well-structured problems that quantum computers have solved.

In 1999, D-Wave was founded and became the world’s first quantum-computing company. It took 11 years, but in 2010 they released the first commercial quantum computer, the D-Wave One™.

Being so early in the technology’s life-span, the history of quantum-computing is really still being written today (and will be for a long time now).

Today, we are only at the beginning, the very beginning, of quantum computing technology!

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF QUANTUM COMPUTING?

Researchers are still trying to find the hardware that will be able to facilitate quantum algorithms. There is no definitive answer for the material the qubit should be made of, which would then dictate the method for the application of operations.

Below is a list of the current qubit candidates, however, it is possible that a working quantum computer will utilize a combination of these candidates rather than one type of candidate.

In addition, the candidate that wins for quantum computing may not even have been found yet.

Further, it is highly likely that a user of a quantum computer will not be operating directly on the device. Instead, cloud-based quantum computing would allow people to access simulators or processors through the cloud.

WHO NEEDS A QUANTUM COMPUTER?

Anyone who needs massive processing power!

Quantum computers, especially ones running on qudits instead of qubits, will allow for exponential increases in processing power in the very near future. So, anyone who runs software-programs that require absolutely insane numbers of computations will be the early-adopters of quantum-computing technology (universities, scientific research, artificial intelligence, etc...).