Artificial Intelligence-Enhancing Quantum Computing Coming in Near Future, Expert Says

Networks need to be more resilient, reliable and flexible for ‘unimaginable’ applications.

Artificial Intelligence-Enhancing Quantum Computing Coming in Near Future, Expert Says
Photo of Jim Ingraham of EPB

ORLANDO, August 22, 2023 – Quantum computing, which can enable advances in technologies including artificial intelligence and virtual reality, is coming in the near future, said a representative from Chattanooga, Tennessee’s smart city provider during a Fiber Connect address Tuesday.

Quantum computing refers to the technology that uses principles of physics to solve complex problems not solvable by computers. According to Jim Ingraham, representative for EPB, the provider of energy and connectivity for smart city in Chattanooga, Tennessee, quantum computing is the “new future.” Technology is evolving, is real and is well-invested, he said, claiming that it behooves the industry to be aware of coming demands on broadband networks because of it.

Networks need to be more resilient, reliable and flexible for coming adoptions, stated Ingraham. Networks have to be clean, affordable and implement advanced computing on a fiber system.

“The rate of innovation and adoption is accelerating, there is no doubt about that,” said Ingraham. “It is happening more rapidly, rapidly, rapidly.” Already, quantum computers are available, and innovators are continuing to improve their processes, he continued.

“Right behind [quantum computers] is coming a quantum network,” said Ingraham. “It will take time. Quantum internet will evolve… we will stop talking about kilobits, megabits, even gigabits. We will start talking about qubits.” Qubits process data not in a linear way, but instantaneously, he explained.

Thus, quantum computing can make unimaginable applications possible for the future, he said. He predicted that virtual reality will evolve to become a 360-degree, holographic-based world in which virtual reality blends seamlessly with reality. “it will not be an equipment based system,” he said, referring to new virtual reality headsets released earlier this year by Apple.

Chattanooga, Tennessee is considered by some as the country’s best connected smart city when it became the first U.S. city to offer fiber internet through EPB’s fiber network. EPB announced in November its partnership with Qubitekk, a provider of quantum optic-based cybersecurity solutions, to launch the nation’s first commercially available quantum network.

Quantum networks, like traditional networks, transmit information between nodes. Instead of sending classical bits, however, quantum networks send quantum bits – or qubits – each of which is comprised of a single photon. Unlike the classical binary bit, which is limited to a “1” or a “0”, a qubit has unlimited values.

“Today we have what we believe to be the country’s first quantum communications network that is commercial,” said Ingraham. “We believe that this can be an engine for innovation in this new quantum world.”

He added that total annual quantum start-up investment hit the highest level of all time in 2022 at $2.4 billion, though it only grew one percent year over year.

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