Moores law states that the complexity of transistors on computer chips doubles at regular intervals of one to two years. This is often taken to mean that the processing power of modern computers grows in a similar, linear context. While many experts fear that this trend cannot continue infinitely due to financial and technical limitations, researchers and developers all over the world are searching for alternatives. Such new technologies are often based on multivalent logicssuch as graph theory, spintronics or quantum mechanics.
Using the technologies mentioned above, Google has – according to media reports – recently succeeded in making a breakthrough. Although the original article was quickly removed from the net, Google's development of a powerful quantum computer is currently the subject of heated debate. According to the published document, this computer can solve a well-known mathematical problem within three minutes and 20 seconds, while today's computing structures would take an estimated 10,000 years.
Binary position and superpositions
But how is this even possible? While normal processors based on the binary principle only take into account two permissible states (electricity either flows or does not flow; either one or zero), the qubits of a quantum computer can also exist in so-called superposition states or even superpositions. According to quantum physical theories, this can be interpreted in such a way that the qubits hold both states until someone finally looks at them and "decides" upon one state. In this abstract way, complex quantum computers can be constructed which are capable of solving concrete tasks much faster than classical computers, and can thus reach "quantum supremacy".
Although the commercial use of such computers is still a long way off, the immediate consequences for industry and society would be cataclysmic. Most performance-based algorithms and associated software products would become obsolete due to the (virtually infinite) computing power available. In addition, quantum processors are particularly well suited for so-called optimization problems, which mostly rely on machine learning. Coupling such neuronal networks with quantum computers would make the heart of many science fiction fans beat a little faster: machines that are capable of fast learning, but will hopefully not take over the world.
Data security and the digital “quantum apocalypse“
Another serious problem linked with usable quantum computers lies in the field of data security. In particular, safe communication via the internet would be jeopardized, as with a sufficient quantity of qubits, current encryption algorithms could be cracked within seconds. Even if the underlying cryptographic procedures were continuously strengthened, only a few “quantum-safe” algorithms exist. The active search for and timely introduction of such encryption methods is of fundamental importance if we are to avoid a “quantum apocalypse”.
Of course, security guarantees are also an important topic for adesso insurance solutions, as appropriate encryption algorithms are integrated in particular when dealing with sensitive customer data. However, the already high computing speed of our software products could be employed in an even better way by using quantum computers. In general, the specialist application of products from the in|sure family would offer some advantages, such as the ability to perform thousands of actuarial extrapolations and simulations within seconds.
But data security is and remains an important topic, regardless of the branch in question. Whether we are dealing customer-specific data belonging to an insurance company or encrypted information from the security services – equipped with such knowledge, quantum computers would certainly be a few steps closer to world domination.