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Right now there are PetaFLOPS constantly spent solving systems of linear equations. Actually millions of CPU cores is a better measure--the limit on performance is access to large memories. Modern CPU cores spend lots of time waiting for memory access when doing linear algebra (LA).

A better variant on a previous quantum computing algorithm for solving LA systems was just published: When practical quantum computers come along, this means that there will be a large demand for such systems. (I'm assuming that practical here means can solve LA problems much faster/cheaper than current servers and supercomputers.)

What is the answer? I have no idea. Just remember this when someone comes along with a practical quantum computer. Note that history says that often it is not the first company to market with a product which hauls in the big bucks. But history says that if you buy a few hundred shares of each of the first dozen QC vendors, your biggest regret will be selling some too soon.

Yes, I know that Bernard Baruch famously said: "I made my money by selling too soon." What he really did was to reduce his investments in a stock or commodity to take profits and what today is called re-balancing his portfolio.* Translation if you buy a stock for $10/share and it goes up to $80, selling 25% locks in a sure profit. Will you have some regret if the stock keeps going up, or drops to the basement? Sure. But either is a nice position to be in, compared to selling or holding all respectively.

Or to look at your whole portfolio. If you buy ten QC stocks and half go bankrupt, a few double, and one goes up 10,000%, you can forget the losers.

* He also got rid of mistakes fast, rather than hold on waiting for a recovery.
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