How one stock could change the world
Tuesday, 24 December 2019
By Bernd Struben
With just a few hours to go until the clock strikes Christmas, I’ll keep my part short today.
First, a quick spot of housekeeping.
On the public holidays over the coming week we won’t be sending out the Port Phillip Insider. On the other weekdays prior to 2 January, I’ve lined up some great guest essays from our wealth preservation pro, Vern Gowdie. You’ll hear from me again on 2 January.
On that note I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year’s Eve.
And, of course, a very prosperous 2020.
Now read on for the latest look into the opportunities coming in the world of quantum computing, from tech expert Sam Volkering.
But first a look at the markets.
Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 96.44 points, or 0.34%.
The S&P 500 closed up 2.79 points, or 0.087%.
In Europe the Euro Stoxx 50 index closed up 0.100 points, or 0.0026%. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 gained 0.54%, and Germany’s DAX closed down 17.92 points, or 0.13%.
In Asian markets Japan’s Nikkei 225 is up 4.48 points, or 0.019%. China’s CSI 300 is down 1.25%.
The S&P/ASX 200 is up 2.50 points, or 0.037%.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil is US$60.58 per barrel. Brent crude is US$66.59 per barrel.
Turning to gold, the yellow metal is trading for US$1,485.52 (AU$2,144.69) per troy ounce. Silver is US$17.44 (AU$25.18) per troy ounce.
One bitcoin is worth US$7,310.79
The Aussie dollar is worth 69.24 US cents.
Now over to Sam.
This Stock Could Change the World
By Sam Volkering
[Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the 16 December Revolutionary Tech Investor stock alert. I’m afraid I can’t share the stock with you. That’s just for subscribers. Revolutionary Tech Investor will open to new subscribers early in 2020. Stay tuned…]
In 2018 IBM unveiled their most advanced computer ever, a quantum computer. While functional, it lived in a laboratory and wasn’t fit for commercial purpose. Nonetheless it was still a real quantum computer.
Then at the CES tech show in Las Vegas in January 2019 they came out with the IBM Q System One.
It was the world’s first circuit-based, commercial quantum computer with a capacity of 20-qubit. It was an elegant, beautiful design. Everything you’d expect from a giant of tech.
But there was still a problem. While ready for commercial use, it still wasn’t exactly ready for the home market. The Q System One exists in a nine-foot cube. In other words, you wouldn’t get it through the front door…or any door at home.
But it is commercial grade, modular and ready for customers. Just not the home. And there’s very good reason why it’s not ‘home ready’ yet. In fact, there’s a good reason why quantum computers won’t ever be ‘home ready’ unless one massive problem gets fixed.
However, we think we’ve uncovered what we believe to be the only publicly listed quantum computing stock in the world that’s even close to releasing the tech that will take quantum computing out of the laboratory and warehouses of tech giants, and into billions of homes around the world.
The quest for supremacy
IBM isn’t alone in their pursuits. Google has also been frantically working on quantum computing. And that’s a good thing because we know that progress is often driven by competition. Therefore it’s beneficial to us all to have tech giants battling it out for ‘quantum supremacy’.
Now that term ‘quantum supremacy’ isn’t exactly what you might think it is. It’s actually a term used to describe a quantum computer able to solve problems that no supercomputer on Earth would be able to solve.
It’s not that one particular company reigns supreme over all others. It’s a milestone that quantum computing reigns supreme over all other binary computing systems.
In other words, it would mark the dawn of a whole level of computing power.
And it seems as though we’re on the cusp of ‘quantum supremacy’. According to Google, in September 2019 they had achieved quantum supremacy with their ‘Sycamore’ quantum computer.
According to New Scientist:
‘Google’s quantum computer tackled a task called a random circuit sampling problem. In such a problem, after a series of calculations each qubit outputs a 1 or 0. The aim is to calculate the probability of each possible outcome occurring.
‘Google says Sycamore was able to find the answer in just a few minutes – a task it estimates would take 10,000 years on the most powerful supercomputer.’
However, before we start losing our minds that Google is about to take over the world for real this time, let’s take a step back.
You see, Google’s quantum computer consisted of 56 qubits. IBM’s System One latest iteration is just 53 qubits.
These are their ‘commercial’ level quantum computers. In the lab they’re both getting over 70 qubits. Google’s ‘Bristlecone’ chip is getting 72 qubits to be precise. An impressive leap so far.
|What is quantum computing? It’s worth pointing out why quantum computers are such a game changer. Quantum computing is so advanced because it allows a machine to compute ‘superposition’. A normal computer computes in binary. It will compute a 1 or a 0 but individually, not together. It’s very logical. A normal computer operates and calculates using ‘bits’ short for binary digits.
However, a quantum computer can compute the grey area that exists in between the 1 and 0. It’s a third outcome which is the 1’s and the 0’s together and everything in between.
This quantum ‘superposition’ allows it to compute incredibly hard calculations that would take a normal binary computation system a lot longer to do. These quantum bits (qubits) enable a multitude greater processing capacity than any normal binary system might achieve.
Now, we’re very used to traditional computers. We’ve had them around our lives for decades now.
And the speed at which they’ve developed is something that we’ve become accustomed to as well. Every year or two a new set of computer hardware comes out that’s faster and better than the previous versions.
That’s why we have supercomputers and incredibly small and fast computers in the home, in our devices, everywhere today.
Quantum computing seeks to upend a lot of that. It holds the key to unlocking some of the world’s most difficult, complex problems that we can’t compute using even the best classic computers or supercomputers today.
And what we see today does appear, on the face of it, to represent how the classic computer developed. Initially, classic computers were huge, bulky items that were slow, only good at a few specific tasks.
Ultimately they got better, faster, and more complex. The introduction of new technologies took them from being mechanical beasts to form-fit compact powerhouses that we could all eventually get inside our own home.
To pay credit where it’s due, IBM was a huge part of getting classic computers from the lab into the home. And while we think they will be a huge part of making that happen again with quantum computing, there’s a few things they need to sort out first.
The biggest problem is temperature.
You see, to even get a qubit to exist, you need to run the quantum chip at approximately minus 273 degrees Celsius. For comparison, that’s roughly the same temperature as space!
But anything outside of this renders a quantum computer virtually useless.
A report in Engadget describes how IBM Research Vice President Jeffrey Welser explained the biggest challenge:
‘…is isolating the chip from unwanted “noise.” This includes electrical, magnetic and thermal noise — just the temperature of the room renders the whole machine useless.’
Now clearly that’s not something that’s going to be useful at home. For a start, I can’t imagine anyone is going to want to, or be able to, constantly operate their ‘Home QC’ at the temperature of space.
I’m guessing that’s also a little dangerous.
Hence in their current form, quantum computers aren’t ever going to be fit for purpose at home. That is, unless you can solve the temperature problem.
What if you could operate a quantum computer at room temperature. What if you could use qubits on a chip in the same way that you use bits on a chip in classic computers.
What you’d end up with is the foundation of a consumer grade, consumer friendly home quantum computer. Not only would that suddenly change the way quantum computers are manufactured. It would also open up a potential US$715 billion market opportunity as quantum computing charged to overtake classical computing industry.
And that’s exactly what your latest recommendation is doing. They’re developing a quantum computing chip that can operate at room-temperature. Their chip could become the most significant development in quantum computing we’ve ever seen and completely change the game.