Does the age of quantum computing mean a brighter future for physicists?

In summary, quantum computing reminds us of the development of classical computing and the sputnik alert, and this makes physicists highly demanded. However, the age of quantum computing does not guarantee a better future for physicists as most new jobs will be developed by computer scientists and not physicists.
  • #1
55
22
The arrival of quantum computing reminds me of "the manhattan project" and "the sputnik alert" when physicists are highly demanded.
And this makes me wonder if the age of quantum computing means the better future for physicists since the development of quantum computers needs at least graduate-level knowledges of QM?

-Is there any employment documentation about this?
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
It’s too soon to know what a QC job will be like. Right now it’s all research.

However:

I imagine one job might be translating a real world problem into its QC equivalent like programmers of today on classical machines or even just identifying whether a QC can help and what steps are needed to solve it. Just as there are some problems that can’t be parallelized, there are problems that can’t be done on a QC.

Another job might be that of a QC diagnostician, one who figures out why the QC isn‘t getting the right answer. Could there be some loss of entanglement before the calculation is completed? Could there be some external contamination?

Another would be the QC hardware engineer who would make sure the machine is functioning at spec, who might maintain and repair the classical to QC interface.

of course, all these jobs might be replaced with an AI and a robot or by engineering of qubits into easily replaceable chips For a technician type of job.
 
Last edited:
  • #3
I don't see any reason it will produce a large number of jobs that require a physics specialty. Right now I'm sure having a couple of team members with a strong physics background is required for those groups working to improve the quality and number of qubits in their QC.

But once you figure out how to build the QC people want, it'll be largely engineering scaling up production and programmer types doing the programming. Not that physicists can't do either of those things, but typical PhD/masters types don't have those skills.

The research path to get a useful QC, which will likely take decades*, should be a fun ride for the physicists involved though.

*Not counting annealing or other semi-quantum computers, a la d-wave
 
  • #4
When we talk about QC, we do need to distinguish between two types of research:

(1) the hardware engineering component of building a physical quantum computing device, and

(2) the algorithmic (aka algorithms that incorporate features of quantum theory to solve specific problems, and the theoretical properties of said algorithms).

Even assuming that (1) above becomes a practical reality within my lifetime doesn't guarantee a host of new jobs for physicists. Sure, some physicists could see themselves developing hardware for new quantum computers, but not many.

For (2), I see whatever new jobs related to that aspect to be primarily led by computer scientists, particular theoretical computer scientists specializing in QC algorithms.

On the more general question of a brighter future for physicists on the job front -- the future is reasonably bright for those who leave physics research.

For example, those with physics backgrounds should be able to find employment in areas like software development, finance, geology, medical physics, nuclear reactor work, data science, public policy, patent law, teaching (elementary & secondary school), etc. (perhaps also in areas like photonics or solid state in some engineering companies).

But I don't see much reason for optimism for increased job opportunities in physics research any time soon, either in academia or in industry.
 

1. What is quantum computing and how does it differ from classical computing?

Quantum computing is a type of computing that uses quantum-mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data. This differs from classical computing, which uses classical bits (either 0 or 1) to represent and process information.

2. How does the age of quantum computing impact the field of physics?

The age of quantum computing has the potential to greatly impact the field of physics. It allows for more complex and accurate simulations of quantum systems, which can help physicists better understand and predict the behavior of particles at a fundamental level.

3. Can quantum computing solve problems that are currently unsolvable with classical computing?

Yes, quantum computing has the potential to solve problems that are currently unsolvable with classical computing. This is because quantum computers can perform calculations much faster and more efficiently for certain types of problems, such as prime factorization and optimization problems.

4. How will quantum computing affect other fields of science?

Quantum computing has the potential to impact a wide range of fields, including chemistry, biology, materials science, and cryptography. It can provide new insights and solutions to complex problems in these fields, leading to advancements and breakthroughs in research and technology.

5. Are there any challenges or limitations to the development and use of quantum computing?

Yes, there are currently several challenges and limitations to the development and use of quantum computing. These include the fragility of quantum systems, the difficulty of building and maintaining quantum computers, and the high cost of research and development. However, with advancements in technology and continued research, these challenges can be overcome.

Similar threads

  • STEM Career Guidance
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
665
  • Quantum Interpretations and Foundations
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • Quantum Interpretations and Foundations
Replies
8
Views
360
  • Quantum Physics
Replies
2
Views
1K
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • STEM Educators and Teaching
Replies
7
Views
1K
  • Electrical Engineering
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • STEM Career Guidance
Replies
33
Views
1K
Back
Top