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Financial Firms Seek Edge in Algorithms Inspired by Quantum Computing

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Quantum computers today are far from ready for large-scale commercial operation. Qubits, the quantum version of a computer bit, are delicate, easily disrupted by changes in temperature, noise, or frequency.

Credit: Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Quantum computing, which promises to significantly increase processing speeds, is still years away from full-scale commercial deployment, but some financial-services firms are turning to quantum-inspired technology for interim benefits.

Traditional computers store information as either zeros or ones. Quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, which represent and store information in a quantum state that is a complex mix of zero and one. Machines capable of supporting this quantum state have the potential to sort through vast numbers of possibilities in nearly real time, potentially allowing them to solve problems beyond the grasp of today's most advanced computers.

Quantum-inspired technology is a broad term that relates to using certain algorithms that typically run on quantum computers on fast-processing classical computers instead. These types of algorithms are well suited to solving optimization problems, which are common in the financial-services sector and include things like risk analysis and derivative pricing, according to Carl Dukatz, quantum program lead at Accenture PLC.

Interest in quantum-inspired technology has grown as executives hear about developments in true quantum computing, analysts said. Firms including HSBC Holdings PLC, Ally Financial Inc. and Spanish multinational bank BBVA are looking to quantum-inspired technology for near-term advantages.

From The Wall Street Journal
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