DARPA release highlights difficulty in developing quantum finance solutions

The NFT Unicorn c74c0506-cb88-4e8f-9d00-8189b60db9fd DARPA release highlights difficulty in developing quantum finance solutions Crypto News

Researchers from a number of prestigious laboratories throughout the United States, including MIT’s Lincoln laboratory, NASA, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, recently collaborated with a government program to identify and benchmark key areas for quantum computing researchers to focus on. 

The U.S. government’s military think tank, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) led the research. Its purported purpose was to provide an overview of current and future quantum computing capabilities in areas such as chemistry and material science. But, in the field most related to future finance and fintech applications, the team wasn’t able to determine if quantum computing could provide a clear advantage.

Quantum computing for finance

Scientists believe quantum computing will one day demonstrate a clear advantage (called “quantum advantage” or “quantum supremacy”) over classical, binary computers in a variety of different computations.

One particular area of interest for many quantum computing researchers is in developing algorithms and hardware capable of processing “non-linear differential equations.”

Many scientists theorize that quantum computers will offer significant speedup in processing these kinds of equations. This would, hypothetically, lead to substantial improvements in related forecasting and simulation systems including both weather and financial prediction models.

If successfully developed and implemented, quantum computers capable of running the most complex non-linear differential equations would (theoretically) predict market movements beyond the global scale with accuracy far greater than that achievable by the most powerful supercomputers, and in a fraction of the time.

Enter DARPA

The DARPA research mentioned above makes the idea of a quantum computer capable of accurately predicting the stock, commodities, and cryptocurrency markets seem a bit more out of focus than many research labs may have predicted.

Quantum computing remains in its infancy, but the threat of quantum attack (the use of quantum computers to break modern encryption methods) has made it a priority for governments around the world and the U.S. government is no exception.

According to documents published by DARPA, this new research shows “that it is plausible that quantum computers will provide advantage for economically valuable applications in certain chemistry, quantum materials, and materials science applications.” Unfortunately, the documents also state that, per the research:

“It is unclear, at this point, whether any advantage can be achieved for applications in nonlinear differential equations.”

While this certainly represents a blow to the idea that we’re on the cusp of creating quantum computers that’ll make us all rich playing the markets, it bears mention that DARPA isn’t the end-all, be-all of the quantum computing world.

Companies such as Rigetti and Microsoft (the former was involved in this study and the latter has partnered with DARPA on numerous occasions) have made independent advancements in quantum computing with the government and others, such as Google and IBM, have made independent advancements in the area of “quantum advantage.”

Related: WEF warns CBDCs could be vulnerable to quantum computer attack