CBA tries testing the future of quantum computers

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CBA tries testing the future of quantum computers
David Whiteing

Creates simulator based on university research.

The Commonwealth Bank has built a quantum computer simulator to enable bankers to see what might be possible in a decade’s time.

CIO David Whiteing said the bank was “building a quantum computing ecosystem that involves the right software, hardware and simulator".

“Part of that approach is using this simulator to kickstart the development of applications across several industries,” he said.

The simulator is said to be modelled on quantum computing hardware being developed at UNSW's Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T), into which CBA has tipped $15 million.

Comment has been sought from UNSW on how the simulator codified current research thinking.

The actual simulator was created with the help of QxBranch, a US company that has its engineering operations in Adelaide and is known to be targeting financial services firms.

Whiteing said the simulator was needed because quantum computing “involves a completely different way of thinking for programmers and analysts".

“It will be some time until the first quantum computer is built but the time for investment is now. It is important we are able to test and build today so we are ready for tomorrow,” he said.

“Getting involved and testing things out is absolutely our way of doing things.

“It allows us to avoid getting stuck in conceptual contemplation. More and more of what we do with emerging technology is about diving into the field and participating earlier in the process so we can build our understanding of what we need to do to make the most of this technology.”

An early possibility for quantum computing is to drastically cut the time taken to perform big data analytics processes.

While it waits for true quantum hardware, CBA is investing in intelligent robotic software and creating a centre of excellence capability to push that technology across its operations.

Fairfax reported that the simulator will begin operating on Thursday “with a hackathon featuring CBA and QxBranch staff and some of the UNSW quantum experts".

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