This story was originally published here.
As the name implies, quantum computing is where the principles of quantum mechanics are used to build more powerful computers. The technology is still in the trial stage, and commercialization may be a ways away. But for investors who have a long view on things, there are some interesting quantum computing stocks to consider.
Yes, the technology can be complicated and there are a myriad of approaches. But at a high level, quantum computing is about processing huge amounts of data to come up with probable solutions — fast. While a traditional computer’s central processing unit will have information encoded as either the number 1 or 0 (bits), a quantum structure will store the information as a blend of values from 0 to 1 (called qubits). This requires sophisticated processes like cryogenics and superconductivity.
“For most tasks, the boost from quantum computing will be modest,” said Mark Zhandry, who is the senior scientist at NTT Research and an assistant professor at Princeton University. “But for a few tasks, the speedup is truly enormous: Tasks that would take longer than the lifetime of the universe to solve on a conventional computer may become instantaneous on a quantum computer. Quantum computing has not reached this milestone yet, but rapid progress is being made. One such task is simulating chemical interactions, which is an important part of developing new drugs and materials. This simulation is therefore likely to be one of the biggest commercial applications of quantum computers.”
Then what are some of the interesting quantum computing stocks you can buy? Well, let’s take a look at seven top names now:
Quantum Computing Stocks: Microsoft (MSFT)
When it comes to investing in quantum computing stocks, the focus is often on the hardware side of things. But this really misses the big picture. No doubt, software will be critical for success.
A company that is poised to benefit from this is Microsoft. After all, when Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded the company in the mid-1970s, their first products were computer languages.
So it should be no surprise that Microsoft has been moving aggressively into quantum development tools. At the heart of this is Q# (pronounced Q sharp). This open-source language helps create sophisticated quantum algorithms. But it also has extensions for machine learning, simulations and data processing. Q# code can also be run as a standalone app or from Python or .NET.
“Microsoft appears to be making longer term plays,” said Rafal Janik, who is the head of product at Xanadu Quantum Technologies. “… Q# seems to be focusing on what quantum computers will be in the future more than what hardware actually exists today.”
Note that Microsoft is investing heavily in hardware as well. The platform is called Azure Quantum and has customers like Toyota Tsusho and Jij.
So while the cloud will likely be the main catalyst for MSFT stock, the focus on quantum computing could be another long-term driver.
Editor's Note: Click here to keep reading.
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