Present-day computers are really fast, and they are getting very powerful, however they aren’t fast enough to perform all of the calculations that we need them to in a useful time frame.

Quantum computers use quantum mechanics to perform certain complex calculations in a smaller number of steps than an ordinary computer. However, not all algorithms run faster on quantum hardware – only certain ones with particular features. Identifying exactly which problems can benefit from quantum computing is an active area of research today.

Potential applications include machine learning, scheduling and logistical planning, financial analysis, stock market modelling, software and hardware verification, rapid drug design and testing, and early disease detection and prevention.

A 2020 report from CSIRO revealed that quantum computing in Australia has the potential to create 10,000 jobs and A$2.5 billion in annual revenue by 2040, while spurring breakthroughs in drug development, industrial processes, and machine learning.