What is quantum computing and how will quantum computers change the world?

Depending on who you ask, some say that quantum computers could either break the Internet, rendering pretty much every data security protocol obsolete, or allow us to compute our way out of the climate crisis.

These hyper-powerful devices, an emerging technology that exploits the properties of quantum mechanics, are much buzzed about.

Only last month, IBM unveiled its latest quantum computer, Osprey, a new 433 qubit processor that is three times more powerful than its predecessor built only in 2021.

But what is all the hype about?

Quantum is a field of science that studies the physical properties of nature at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles.

Proponents of quantum technology say these machines could usher in rapid advances in fields like drug discovery and materials science – a prospect that dangles the tantalising possibility of creating, for example, lighter, more efficient, electric vehicle batteries or materials that could facilitate effective CO2 capture.

With the climate crisis looming, and technology with a hope of solving complex issues like these are bound to draw keen interest.

Little wonder then, that some of the largest tech companies in the world – Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and, of course, IBM to name a few – are investing heavily in it and angling to stake their place in a quantum future.

How do quantum computers work?

Given these utopic-sounding machines are drawing such frenzied interest, it would perhaps be useful to understand how they work and what differentiates them from classical computing.

Take every device that we have today – from the smartphones in our pockets to our most powerful supercomputers. These operate and have always operated on the same principle of binary code.

Essentially, the chips in our computers use tiny transistors that function as on/off switches to give two possible values, 0 or 1, otherwise known as bits, short for binary digits.

These bits can be configured into larger, more complex units, essentially long strings of 0s and 1s encoded with data commands that tell the computer what to do: display a video; show a Facebook post; play an mp3; let you type an email, and so on.

But a quantum computer?

These machines function in an entirely different way. In the place of bits in a classical computer, the basic unit of information in quantum computing is what’s known as a quantum bit, or qubit. These are typically subatomic particles like photons or electrons.

The key to a quantum machine’s advanced computational power lies in its ability to manipulate these qubits.

“A qubit is a two-level quantum system that allows you to store quantum information,” Ivano Tarvenelli, the global leader for advanced algorithms for quantum simulations at the IBM Research Lab in Zurich, explained to Euronews Next.

“Instead of having only the two levels zero and one that you would have in a classical calculation here, we can build a superposition of these two states,” he added.


Superposition in qubits means that unlike a binary system with its two possible values, 0 or 1, a qubit in superposition can be 0 or 1 or 0 and 1 at the same time.

And if you can’t wrap your head around that, the analogy often given is that of a penny.

When it is stationary a penny has two faces, heads or tails. But if you flip it? Or spin it? In a way, it is both heads and tails at the same time until it lands and you can measure it.

And for computing, this ability to be in multiple states at the same time means that you have an exponentially larger amount of states in which to encode data, making quantum computers exponentially more powerful than traditional, binary code computers.

Quantum entanglement

Another property crucial to how quantum computing works is entanglement. It’s a somewhat mysterious feature of quantum mechanics that even baffled Einstein in his time who declared it “spooky action at a distance”.

When two qubits are generated in an entangled state there is a direct measurable correlation between what happens to one qubit in an entangled pair and what happens to the other, no matter how far apart they are. This phenomenon has no equivalent in the classical world.

“This property of entanglement is very important because it brings a much, much stronger connectivity between the different units and qubits. So the elaboration power of this system is stronger and better than the classical computer,” Alessandro Curioni, the director of the IBM Research Lab in Zurich, explained to Euronews Next.

In fact, this year, the Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to three scientists, Alain Aspect, John Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger, for their experiments on entanglement and advancing the field of quantum information.

Why do we need quantum computers?

So, in an admittedly simplified nutshell, these are the building blocks of how quantum computers work.

But again, why do we necessarily need such hyper-powerful machines when we already have supercomputers?

“[The] quantum computer is going to make, much easier, the simulation of the physical world,” he said.

“A quantum computer is going to be able to better simulate the quantum world, so simulation of atoms and molecules”.

As Curioni explains, this will allow quantum computers to aid in the design and discovery of new materials with tailored properties.

“If I am able to design a better material for energy storage, I can solve the problem of mobility. If I am able to design a better material as a fertiliser, I am able to solve the problem of hunger and food production. If I am able to design a new material that allows [us] to do CO2 capture, I am able to solve the problem of climate change,” he said.

Undesirable side effects?

But there could also be some undesirable side effects that have to be accounted for as we enter the quantum age.

A primary concern is that quantum computers of the future could be possessed of such powerful calculation ability that they could break the encryption protocols fundamental to the security of the Internet that we have today.

“When people communicate over the Internet, anyone can listen to the conversation. So they have to first be encrypted. And the way encryption works between two people who haven’t met is they have to rely on some algorithms known as RSA or Elliptic Curve, Diffie–Hellman, to exchange a secret key,” Vadim Lyubashevsky, a cryptographer at the IBM Research Lab in Zurich, explained.

“Exchanging the secret key is the hard part, and those require some mathematical assumptions which become broken with quantum computers”.

In order to protect against this, Lyubashevsky says that organisations and state actors should already be updating their cryptography to quantum-safe algorithms ie. ones that cannot be broken by quantum computers.

Many of these algorithms have already been built and others are in development.

“Even if we don’t have a quantum computer, we can write algorithms and we know what it will do once it exists, how it will run these algorithms,” he said.

“We have concrete expectations for what a particular quantum computer will do and how it will break certain encryption schemes or certain other cryptographic schemes. So, we can definitely prepare for things like that,” Lyubashevsky added.

“And that makes sense. It makes sense to prepare for things like that because we know exactly what they’re going to do”.

But then there is the issue of data that already exists which hasn’t been encrypted with quantum-safe algorithms.

“There’s a very big danger that government organisations right now are already storing a lot of Internet traffic in the hopes that once they build a quantum computer, they’ll be able to decipher it,” he said.

“So, even though things are still secure now, maybe something’s being transmitted now that is still interesting in ten, 15 years. And that’s when the government, whoever builds a quantum computer, will be able to decrypt it and perhaps use that information that he shouldn’t be using”.

Despite this, weighed against the potential benefits of quantum computing, Lyubashevsky says these risks shouldn’t stop the development of these machines.

“Breaking cryptography is not the point of quantum computers, that’s just a side effect,” he said.

“It’ll have hopefully a lot more useful utilities like increasing the speed with which you can discover chemical reactions and use that for medicine and things like that. So this is the point of a quantum computer,” he added.

“And sure, it has the negative side effect that it’ll break cryptography. But that’s not a reason not to build a quantum computer, because we can patch that and we have patched that. So that’s sort of an easy problem to solve there”.

Source: What is quantum computing and how will quantum computers change the world? | Euronews

Top edge computing platforms in 2022

Edge computing helps reduce latency of data processing. See which edge computing platform is right for your business.

As modern technology continues to advance in ways that satisfy the human desire for instant gratification, consumers are placing more emphasis on speed as a key feature when choosing their product vendors.

Whether you choose to blame this on the world’s introduction to old-school instant messaging or Amazon’s two-day shipping, at the end of the day, the demand for speed affects businesses and organizations like it never has before. But, this demand also means that businesses and organizations must step up their operations to keep up with the competition.

Software solutions that can enable companies to pick up the pace and complete their processes at a faster rate are highly favored, with this feature valued second only to reliability. Fortunately, organizations looking for a way to advance in their data processing can adopt edge computing technology in order to carry out their operations quickly but still trust that their data is secure.

Top edge computing products

Azure Stack Edge

Azure Stack Edge is a hardware as a service that enables organizations to access, utilize and analyze their applications and data locally.

Users can run their containerized applications at the edge location where data is generated and gathered. From there, the data can be analyzed, transformed and filtered, and users can control the data that they choose to send to the cloud. Their edge device also serves as a cloud storage gateway for easy data transfers between the cloud and the edge location.

Working with Azure’s edge solution makes it easy to utilize Azure’s other integratable products, so organizations can generate and train their machine learning (ML) models in Azure and benefit from quick data analysis and insight access.

Azure has several versions of their edge devices within their Azure Stack Edge Pro Series, granting users and organizations more options with a greater selection of features and capabilities to choose from, so they can get the tool that suits their needs.

HPE Edgeline

HPE Edgeline supports edge computing and processing through its various converged edge systems. Its systems provide IT functionality optimized for edge operating environments, enabling users to benefit from edge storage, computing and management.

Their solutions are purpose-built for the edge, with autonomous operations, local decision-making in real-time, and easy scaling across sites and locations. As for security, HPE Edgeline Integrated System Manager provides IT-grade security to support the deployment and operation of their Edgeline systems.

The HPE Edgeline Converged Edge systems serve as a distributed converged edge compute model, so users can manage their operations and data in real time, even without an internet connection. In addition, its systems connect open standards-based operations technology (OT) data acquisition and control technologies directly to the user’s organizational IT system, reducing latency and saving space.

HPE has various enterprise-class converged edge system tools for customers to choose from, with features optimized for different use cases. Additionally, HPE’s Edgeline OT Link Platform software is also offered and supports users’ edge activities like data flow and integration management.


ClearBlade’s technology works to streamline edge data by connecting device sensors or event data and transporting it into cloud data lakes, enterprise systems or artificial intelligence (AI) tools through built-in integrations. Its software can connect via REST, MQTT and sockets in addition to its prebuilt connections for third-party systems.

The solution lets users choose to keep their functions local within their edge locations or transfer them within cloud storage and vice versa. Users can also complete various data processes at the edge, including data analysis, modification, routing, storage and management.

ClearBlade keeps users’ data secure with encryption, authentication and authorization of application programming interface (API) access. It enables connections across all user clouds, gateways and devices with various protocols.

Another aspect of its edge computing technology is offline continuity, which ClearBlade advertises as a perk to its software. Even when an internet connection is lost, all edge devices are able to continue their real-time behaviors.

Eclipse ioFog

The Eclipse Foundation’s Eclipse ioFog is an edge computing platform for processing enterprise-scale data and applications at the edge. By processing users’ data at the point of creation with an edge-centric compute architecture, users can gain more functionality and greater security for all of their data and application processes.

ioFog’s universal edge computing platform enables users to create and remotely deploy their microservices to their edge computing devices by providing a common computing platform that lets software run on any device.

Users can deploy and manage their multiple edge devices at once as an edge compute network, which ioFog manages automatically. ioFog can manage and transfer any data type and supports native Geofencing of users’ data, notes and routing.

To secure users’ edge activities, each node within the edge compute network is part of a distributed trust network and is constantly validating security protocols with all of the other nodes, monitoring for deviations. The data transfer and communications between notes occur via session-based MicroVPNs, which ioFog creates as a method of enforcing security for its users.

Google Distributed Cloud Edge

Google Distributed Cloud Edge users can now maintain their data use and storage according to their workload needs and requirements by utilizing any of Google’s 140+ network edge locations worldwide or their own localized, customer-owned edge locations. Google also supports Google Distributed Cloud services across the customer’s operator’s edge network and customer-owned data centers.

Users can use the open-source platform Anthos on their Google-managed hardware at their edge location to run their applications securely on a remote services platform. This way, they can locally process their data and transfer or modernize their applications with Google Cloud services.

By leveraging the capabilities of Google Distributed Cloud Edge, users can run local data processing, modernize their on-premises environments, run low-latency edge compute workloads and deploy private 5G/LTE solutions.

The software also connects with third-party services, granting greater accessibility within customers’ own environments.

Alef Private Edge Platform

Alef’s Edge API Platform enables organizations to manage their applications at the edge through mobile connections. In addition, users can develop their own private mobile LTE networks with API connections and firewall protection.

The APIs allow users to manage their mobile connectivity for Industry 4.0 applications. Additionally, deploying mobile networks as a service at the edge can allow users to create an easy-to-use private LTE network without on-site mobile network installation.

Alef’s system increases speed for users, as connecting to their edge enables them to access services within 50 milliseconds of any U.S. enterprise. Furthermore, by simplifying network complexities, Alef has reduced the time to launch to 60 minutes. And by orchestrating their operations and workloads at the edge with their core IP, organizations benefit from lowered latency for their applications.

Finally, leveraging Alef’s edge solutions means being able to connect to any spectrum, any EPC (Evolved Packet Core) and any cloud. Users can connect to 5G/4G/3G spectrums or their own Wi-Fi and manage data traffic across any cloud provider. And Alef is agnostic, so organizations can partner with their EPC or choose to bring their own.

Cisco Edge Computing Solutions

Cisco offers several edge computing solutions for users to deploy their services on their own developed edge computing infrastructure.

Users can design an edge computing infrastructure for their workloads that enable them to separate their network functions and optimize their resources with software-centric solutions that they can procure separately. Additionally, their fixed edge and mobile networks can share 5G core-based infrastructure coverage for greater efficiency in their operational processes.

Application developers can benefit from using Cisco’s open-edge computing model. IT can enable them to mitigate congestion in the core and meet local demands, as applications can access information about local conditions in real time. Additionally, close proximity to subscribers and real-time network data access can enable a better application user experience.

Cisco’s edge computing model can deliver high-quality data and application performance and security. By distributing the users’ computing capacity to the edge, users can benefit from lower latency to end devices, greater network efficiency with edge offloading and reduced costs for data transportation.

Infiot ZETO (Netskope Borderless WAN)

Infiot, recently acquired by Netskope, is a secure access service edge (SASE) platform that provides edge intelligence with AI-driven components. Netskope Borderless WAN will now integrate Infiot’s ZETO technology to further its edge functionalities for Netskope customers.

The combined technology of Infiot and Netskope will now be able to provide further built-in routing, policy-based traffic control, wired and wireless networking, and integrated network security functions for edge deployment.

Furthermore, Netskope customers will be able to utilize cloud-first networking through the use of Netskope SASE Gateways for secure connections between any enterprise location.

The solution’s developments will help improve Netskope customers’ performance speed, cloud visibility and application activity with the addition of this technology.

What is edge computing?

Edge computing is the process of utilizing a software system to process data closer to the data’s source and use location. Processing data with this solution can reduce the time it would take to analyze the data compared to having first to transfer it to a data center or cloud. This is because it shortens the latency time that would be required to move the data back and forth.

How do edge computing products benefit users?

Organizations that choose to store and leverage their business data are constantly increasing their data volumes. The ever-increasing volume and complexity of this data have caused the need for more space and have led to latency issues. However, edge computing software is capable of more significant amounts of data with reduced latency, which means more easily accessible data insights for organizations.

However, an edge computing solution can do more than just reduce the data processing time compared to cloud computing. Organizations can gain a vast range of additional benefits by processing data at a location at the edge of a network and utilizing systems at those physical locations.

Organizations that utilize cloud-based data analysis tools across all of their business enterprises can increase their risk of security breaches and potential data loss, as an attack on a connected solution could affect all of their organizational operations. With edge computing, a security breach would have less impact on the entire organization, and only the transferred data could be affected.

Conducting on-site data analysis with edge computing devices also means that the analyzed data is safeguarded by the localized firewalls that protect the enterprise.

Edge computing can also allow organizations to control their data flow and storage that takes place within their edge locations, enabling them to manage their data in a way that lowers data redundancy, reduces bandwidth and lowers operation costs.

Edge computing is also arguably more reliable than cloud computing. Using edge devices to save and process data locally can mean having greater access to data than entrusting remorse data storage location, as edge device users won’t need to worry about their internet connectivity issues when trying to process and access their data. Regardless of connectivity issues, organizations can have access to their network data stored in their edge solutions.

Primary features to look for in edge computing software

There are several features and capabilities that are common in edge computing products. Edge computing software solutions generally provide features that enable real-time access to local information to support immediate action. In addition, many edge computing software solutions will provide automated features that can occur regardless of unreliable or inaccessible internet connectivity.

To keep users’ data and applications secure edge computing software should come with security features. Common security features of these solutions may include on-premises security, isolated operating environments, edge device monitoring and authorizations, authentication, and encryption layers. Alternatively, edge software solutions may support connections with third-party security services.

Other beneficial features of edge computing systems should support the management of the organization’s data storage, analysis and transfer processes. This can include features that provide users with visibility into their data center and operations and even cloud operations.

In addition, granting users greater control over their data flows can help them facilitate easy scaling across locations, supported by an easily manageable and configurable architecture.

Source: Top edge computing platforms in 2022 | TechRepublic