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Quantum computing in logistics: Balancing innovation and expectations

Quantum computing in logistics: Balancing innovation and expectations
Quantum computing in logistics: Balancing innovation and expectations

The realm of what quantum computing is capable of is still largely unexplored. The scope of this includes benefits such as discovering new medicines and optimizing logistics

On the other hand, there are several sinister scenarios – like the ability to crack the encryptions that protect our personal data (including banking information). 

Quantum computing in logistics

From improved route optimization and analyzing inventory requirements to reducing operational costs and even predicting natural disasters, the benefits sure seem to outweigh the disadvantages. Especially since the logistics industry still relies heavily on manual operations.

But despite the significant excitement about the potential of quantum computing in logistics, some experts lean towards a more measured view. 

Utilizing data effectively 

The most significant (and the easiest) application of quantum computing in logistics would involve managing vast quantities of data. 

When applied ethically, quantum computing could redefine the logistics sector by tracking large quantities of parcels and containers, through all stages of the supply chain. It can process and analyze data faster than a supercomputer, and provide actionable, real-time insights. 

VP of global enterprise computing solutions at Unisys, Sean Tinney, says the biggest challenge is getting existing industry knowledge (ie. data) “out of a person’s head and into a format where” it can practically be applied in quantum computing. 

“When something goes wrong, and you have to crunch thousands upon thousands of potential scenarios instantaneously. The introduction of quantum computing can power those models and allow someone to get the best answer of what they should do,” Tinney explains.

Realistic approach needed

However, an industry expert who requested anonymity, expressed skepticism about the short-term impact of quantum computing outside the realm of cryptography, “where people are preparing to make systems secure from far-future quantum attacks since attackers could be saving encrypted data now for future decryption with a quantum computer.”

The expert says we are still far from quantum supremacy – when “quantum computers vastly outperform classical supercomputers on useful problems.”

Since quantum supremacy is still a far-off hypothetical scenario, “there isn’t much more than hype on offer in the future – in terms of what quantum computers can really do.”

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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