The transformative potential of quantum computing may take many years to fully realize. So why do these developments matter for investors now? Leaving aside the geopolitical implications, with China’s planned investment outstripping that of the U.S., quantum computing will affect industries ranging from asset management to transportation. Leading companies are already investing significant sums to stake out their quantum strategies, with a focus on solving challenges that traditional computing power cannot.
In this report, our contributors — Pathstone professionals and external industry experts — explore quantum computing, focusing in on its implications for sectors including asset management, cryptocurrencies, water technologies, chemicals, transportation, and healthcare. We also address the key question “Is quantum computing investable?”
Importantly, across many of the governments and leading companies investing in quantum technology and its potential applications, there has been an emphasis on targeting the most pressing environmental and social challenges of our day, as framed by the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. If this current collective focus continues to inform the progress of quantum, it truly will have transformational impact.
Please see below for summaries and links to each section, or click here to download the full report.
By Erika Karp, Pathstone
Applying the principles of quantum mechanics to computing offers the potential to solve complex challenges well beyond humankind’s current capacity. Governments and major corporations are investing significant sums and jockeying for position. Why does this matter for investors now?
By Mark Peters, CFA, Pathstone
What is this revolutionary and disruptive technology? Why is it so hard to comprehend? To attempt to understand quantum mechanics, you need to leap from classical mechanics to a new intellectual paradigm, one in which the old “normal” rules of reality don’t always apply. If you are puzzled, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
By John Workman, Pathstone
We can imagine both positive and more sinister ways in which quantum computing could change geopolitical dynamics. The current hierarchy of world power is led by the U.S., with China the closest rival. Will quantum computing power be the game– changer in terms of which of these two horses takes the lead, or might it be just the thing to jumpstart another nation, or group of nations, to become the unexpected winner?
By: Eric Hsueh, Pathstone
There has been an acceleration in interest from corporates in the past few years, with the number of companies actively budgeting for quantum computing expected to rise from around 1% in 2018 to 20% by 2023. We highlight the types of use cases most suited to quantum computing and how they might apply in different sectors, as well as key public companies leading the way.
By: Garvin Jabusch, Green Alpha Advisors
The asset management industry has made use of complex algorithms for years. However, the type of analysis required in a venture capital or private equity investment, or indeed for an actively managed equity fund with complex criteria, currently defies automation. Quantum computing could change that.
By: Jalak Jopanputra, Future Perfect Ventures
The intersection of blockchain technology, cryptoeconomics, data analytics, and artificial intelligence may lead to the creation of next–generation business models, similar to what the PC era did with hardware and software, and what the Internet era achieved with mobile applications and cloud computing.
By: Matthew Sheldon, KBI Global Investors
Quantum computing has the potential to increase the availability and affordability, and boost the operational efficiency, of water infrastructure globally. It may also help accelerate the adoption of new, more cost-efficient technologies.
By: Carly Anderson, Ph.D., Prime Movers Lab A
Quantum computers that can help us understand molecules larger than a handful of atoms are still 10-20 years away. Moreover, classical computing technologies have already facilitated major advances in drug discovery for decades. Nonetheless, there are exciting possibilities for quantum computing to tackle complex challenges that elude current capabilities.
By: Erika Karp, Pathstone
The travel and transportation sector offers an excellent example of quantum computing’s potential. There is limited logistical connectivity across modes of transportation, and it’s a major carbon emitter. In this section of our report, we explore the applications of quantum computing for supply chain and logistics optimization as well as managing carbon emissions in this critical sector.
By: Camilla Ozada, Dartmouth College
In this article we focus on how quantum computing might change the face of healthcare and save millions of lives in the process. Three key areas stand out: diagnostic advancement, precision medicine, and drug discovery.
By: Alexander Hart, AJ Levine, Pathstone
Quantum computing is a nascent investment opportunity that falls into two broad categories: 1) Investing in the technology and supply chain of the quantum computing industry; and 2) investing in companies that are early adopters and users of quantum computing power. The first category is an early but active opportunity, while the latter category will develop as the technology advances.
By: Jude Erondu, Pathstone
Quantum computers have the potential to accelerate the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations. We review five key goals – zero hunger, good health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, affordable, clean energy, and climate action – in the context of how quantum computing developments may aid in the effort.
Please see the PDF version of the full report for important disclosures.