CBA has engaged Washington DC-headquartered firm QxBranch to deliver a quantum computing simulator.

The tool, which emulates the functions of future quantum computers, will be used by CBA via the cloud and onsite to develop software and algorithms.

QxBranch chief executive Michael Brett said quantum computing harnesses the unusual phenomena that occur in the quantum world.

“Quantum computers harness the unique behaviours of the ‘very, very small’ and use them to do computational work,” Mr Brett told Fintech Business.

The application of quantum computers will be problem-dependent, but for the right problem, they will be “exponentially faster” than classical computers, he said.

Aside from the ‘speed-ups’, one of the unique properties of quantum computers is that they function based on probabilities, making them ideal tools for machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“Humans interpret the world through probabilities and recognising patterns and anomalies in our environment, so thats part of our intelligence, Mr Brett said.

“So having quantum computers as part of the toolkit will enable artificial intelligence development to harness a similar kind of behaviour to the way that our own brains work.

“There are many quantum computers under development throughout the world. One of the leading groups is the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communications Technology in Sydney led by UNSW.”

“CBA has been heavily involved with that group. What weve done with CBA is rather than wait for the hardware to be available in a few years time to start programming, weve built a simulator that emulates the behaviour of that future hardware,” Mr Brett said.

Along with hastening the arrival of machine learning and artificial intelligence, quantum computers could also change the way financial institutions approach risk management and trading, he added.

At the moment, banks calculate their total risk position overnight on large computational farms’, but the ‘speed-ups’ of quantum computers could mean those calculations are conducted on an hourly basis.

“That allows people to make smarter decisions and be more confident about their trades and their positions,” Mr Brett said.

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