Sunday, December 30, 2018
Book Review: 'Quantum: Computing Nouveau: The Technological Step Change That Could Foster Scientific Discovery, Break Blockchains, and Trigger a Global Cybersecurity Arms Race' by Jason Schenker
‘Quantum is a new way of analyzing data.’
Texas author/editor Jason Schenker earned a Master’s in Applied Economics from UNC Greensboro, a Masters in Negotiation from CSU Dominguez Hills, a Masters in German from UNC Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor degree in History and German from The University of Virginia. He also holds a Certificate in FinTech from MIT, a Certificate in Supply Chain Management from MIT, a Certificate in Professional Development from UNC, and a Certificate in Negotiation from Harvard Law School. He is the world’s top ranked Financial Market Futurist. As the President of Prestige Economics, he advises executives, corporate boards, public corporations, private companies, central banks, and governmental bodies. He also directs forecasting, risk management, strategic projects, and has been ranked the #1 forecaster in the world for his forecast accuracy in 23 categories, including for his forecasts of the Euro, the British Pound, the Swiss Franc, the Russian Ruble, the Brazilian Real, crude oil prices, natural gas prices, gold prices, industrial metals prices, agricultural commodity prices, and non-farm payrolls. Jason is also the Chairman of The Futurist Institute, which helps analysts and economists become futurists. His books include COMMODITY PRICES 101, ELECTING RECESSION: THE IMPACT OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS ON FINANCIAL MARKETS AND THE ECONOMY, JOBS FOR ROBOTS, ROBOT- PROOF YOURSELF, RECESSION-PROOF: HOW TO SURVIVE AND THRIVE IN AN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN, THE ROBOT AND AUTOMATION ALMANAC 2018, A GENTLE INTRODUCTION TO AUDIT AND DUE DILIGENCE, and now QUANTUM COMPTING NOVEAU.
While the topic of this book may be challenging to the lay reader, Jason shares its purpose in a well written Introduction: ‘In this book, we will look at a critical new technological step change for computers, computation, and data analysis called quantum computing. This type of computing — called quantum for short — is based on quantum mechanics, a field of physics focused on particles1 that grew out of the early part of the twentieth century and that challenged traditional physics concepts. But quantum computing is about a lot more than physics. Quantum computing will have significant implications for all kinds of scientific research, and it is likely to prove critical for businesses, cryptography, communication, and the government. So, how is quantum likely to be important and impactful? It’s all about its computational power. In short, quantum computing represents a potential step change in computing, data processing, and analytics technology. That step change could make computers significantly faster by making them more efficient when performing various kind of data analysis, computations, and other work. But aside from the value of the step change that is quantum, it is important to consider that there is also a real need for a step change in computational processing power. In other words, quantum computing isn’t just something that would be nice to have. It is something that we might be unable to live without. I discuss the need for this step change in Chapter 2. And the subject of how quantum computing will be a technological step change is something I discuss in Chapter 4. As with many different kinds of new and emerging technologies, quantum computing threatens to disrupt traditional business operations, and it is likely to have significant use cases across industries where data is abundant. Plus, there are cryptographic, cybersecurity, and national security considerations that are cornerstones of quantum computing’s theoretical potential. But quantum is different than a lot of new technologies because it represents a change in hardware — not just a change in software and
programming. This means that the move to quantum is more like the adoption and acceleration of research in robotics rather than the development of the next app — or the use of blockchain, which is not about hardware but which is a software and programming interface that functions as a form of complex accounting software with specialized permissioning, records, tracking, and visibility. Unlike a lot of overhyped technology developments, quantum computing actually is a new kind of computing. It is a new kind of computer. It not just the next Uber or the next Airbnb. It is a fundamental step change. This makes quantum a new physical technology that also has some important physical and mechanical limitations. I discuss these challenges in Chapter 10. For most people, the change in the hardware and software that eventually comes with quantum computing may not be noticeable in a significant way. But that doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from them. In fact, there are significant benefits to quantum computing, and I discuss three major initiatives to push quantum computing up the S-curve of development toward commercialization and a realization of those benefits in Chapter 5.’
What follows is a series of discussions that address all aspects of Quantum Computing. Putting it mildly, this book is illuminating – information we once was the purview of science fiction animated movies is ‘walking among us’ right now. The views stated in this informative book are both startling and reassuring. Take time to absorb and learn that advantages of this change. A taste of tomorrow.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.