The Government of Canada announced $360 million in funding in Budget 2021 as part of its commitment to developing a National Quantum Strategy.
Subsequent calls for public consultation and engagement identified a number of mandates, including the need to invest in research to foster commercialization, adopting a partnership approach across academia, the private sector, and government, and promoting quantum technology adoption to help realize its economic potential and ability to address complex problems, such as logistics and supply chain management. Current events and a recent survey discussed below, further amplify these priorities and the need for Canada to implement a strong National Quantum Strategy.
A recent Hyperion Research survey commissioned by D-Wave explores “enterprise attitude and appetite with regard to quantum computing”. The survey includes over 400 responses from key decision makers “integral to their company’s strategic technology planning and procurement processes in North America, Europe, South Korea, and Japan” with over half of respondents identifying as a CTO, CIO, or IT Director, and 60% of respondents identifying as having decision making power in procuring enterprise technology for their business.
The survey provides a number of key takeaways, perhaps most notably that almost 70% of respondents indicated they already have “some form” an in-house quantum computing program, demonstrating that enterprises are already at the forefront of adopting and commercializing quantum computing technology.
Of the enterprises surveyed, 38% indicated benefits arising from quantum computing highly correlated with intellectual property, underscoring the important role of patents and trade secrets in developing and protecting quantum computing innovation. In particular, 21% of the enterprises surveyed identified improving research capabilities and 17% identified driving innovation, as the greatest opportunity that quantum computing can offer their organization. While another 21% of enterprises surveyed identified increasing revenues as the greatest opportunity that quantum computing can offer their organization, further highlighting the demand to exploit quantum computing’s commercialization potential.
Other key takeaways include, perhaps unsurprisingly, that optimization problems are the leading category of tasks for quantum computing solutions. Notably, 47% of respondents identified logistics/supply chain problems and 36% of respondents identified staffing/scheduling problems as among the strongest candidates for needing improved solutions. Demand for such solutions may also be expected to increase as the persistent COVID-19 era continues to disrupt supply chains and labour practices along with natural disasters, such as the recent unprecedented flooding in British Columbia, also causing significant supply chain disruption.
Refreshingly, the key takeaways from the survey indicate that enterprises and the Government of Canada align along many of the priorities set forth in the National Quantum Strategy, suggesting Canada is on the right path to researching, innovating, and commercializing quantum technology. For now however, quantum enthusiast will have to wait and see when and how Canada implements its National Quantum Strategy and solidifies its stake in the quantum future.