Quantum computers – practical applications

2 min.

Summary

The quantum computer is now finding its way into the business world and its practical applications and is leaving the purely scientific realm. The quantum computer will enable us to face previously unsolved challenges in the field of artificial intelligence and diverse simulations. In all areas where large amounts of data and parallel processing are necessary.

Miniaturization of transistors reaches its limits today

On a chip of 2 * 2 cm there are 18 billion transistors. Now the physical limits of production are reached with a transistor size of 10 nanometers. The transistor represents the well known characteristic 0 and 1 (1 bit).

The previous manufacturing process using ultraviolet light is now reaching its limits. With transistors in these small sizes (a few atoms large), the electrons jump over the barrier in the transistor (pass through the closed transistor) and the transistor loses its effect of representing 0 or 1 because the electrons become independent. This effect is called quantum mechanical effect.

How does a quantum computer work?

Exactly this effect is used for the production of quantum computers. Because a quantum computer no longer uses only one bit (i.e. 0 and 1; “either or”), but a qubit (0, 1 and 0/1; 2both as well as”). The qubit thus allows 2 states (0 and 1) to be taken simultaneously. This property is called superposition. If now the state of the transistor is measured, this qubit “colabrates” in a clearly defined probability 1 or 0.

With classical bits, four different combinations are represented in the transistor: 00, 11, 01 and 10. With a qubit, all four combinations can be used simultaneously. Thus it is possible to represent N bits for N qubits = 2 high. In addition, parallel arithmetic operations are also possible due to the superposition. These multiply exponentially with each additional qubit.

Furthermore there is another quantum mechanical effect of the “entanglement” = linking of one qubit with another qubit. A qubit reacts automatically to the change of its partner qubit.

The weakening of the Moorschen law (every 18 months a doubling of the computing power) should be stopped again with the development of quantum computers in many applications.

Sensible applications of the quantum computer

Therefore, the quantum computer can perform parallel computations better and is therefore very well suited for searching databases, decrypting encryptions and simulations. The quantum computer does not play an advantage in sequential computations and here the classical computer (digital computer) will certainly continue to be used for cost reasons until further notice.

Examples for simulations can be:

  • simulations of molecule cooling in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries
  • traffic simulations
  • quantum algorithms in artificial intelligence
  • cryptography

The quantum computer is now moving from the scientific research niche into the business world and its practical applications.

How do you program a quantum computer?

The algorithms to be used differ from the algorithms of the digital computer to use entanglement and superposition. Several arithmetic operations, so-called quantum gates, are used to entangle, read or modify the qubits described above. Special algorithms for prime factor decomposition (in crypotography) and special search algorithms (for database query) have existed for a long time, but are now used in business environments.

Subscribe to blogs

1 Minute

Summary


I was asked how best to “follow” my blog. Social networks like Linkedin, Facebook, XING etc. don’t always show all posts of all people you follow. Would also be too much of a good thing. Because you don’t want to see each post divided x times more than once. How do I make sure that I don’t miss an important post?

Why do I not see all contributions?

LinkedIn and Co. only show a selection of my posts on your timeline. There you will preferably see those posts that have been commented, marked as interesting or clicked.

Subscribe to blog posts sensibly

I know the following meaningful and free ways. The first alternative is to subscribe to my newsletter and the subscriber receives 1-2 times a month a mail with all articles of my blog.

The second alternative is to install an RSS app on your mobile phone or to choose a free provider like TheOldReader.com and add my RSS feed there.

The third alternative is to use the free service IFTTT to make a query on my blog and then directly save the results to Pocket (see also “Self-organization“) or another service.

Do you know other good alternatives? Please add them in the comment below.

Self-Organisation

4 min.

Summary

I’m always asked how I organize myself with regard to my private and business tasks and how I manage my information. This article gives a brief overview of the tools and principles I use every day.

Task Management

I manage my tasks depending on my project environment. If I am in a smaller team, I mainly work paper-based regarding my task management. The basic principle of this system is based on Stephen Covey’s weekly planning from [The 7 Ways to Effectiveness*]. I created the week plan in this file and I print a DIN A4 sheet landscape for each week of the year. I place the sheets in the lovingly configured Roterfaden-Taschenbegleiter. The principle behind the Covey template is first to note the important things / strategic goals and the associated tasks in the weekly plan (left column). Appointments and the derived tasks then turned into the daily planning. It is important to work with pencil, because rescheduling is often in demand.

While working in larger teams, I exclusively use an electronic task management system such as MS SharePoint (task lists with MS Office Integration) or Trello (Kanban Board), because task delegation and mutual transparency are very important there. I then manage my personal tasks in Todoist*. With this app my tasks on desktop, the tablet and the mobile phone are relatively easy to create (because that is the most important feature!). If you first have to open an app for a long time or something similar it takes too long and the thought is often already lost. At home I linked my Amazon Echo* with Todoist, both for the shopping list and especially for the to-do list.

I find the change (depending team size) every couple of months between paper-based and electronic systems beneficial, because it “cleanses” the process and promotes a renewed awareness of the principles. In general, my recommendation is to start with the paper-based system in any case, because the principles are easier to apply and graphically more conscious (because the overarching goals are noted directly next to the daily tasks).

Document Management

I scan my paper documents, which are important/I need to keep, with my ScanSnap IX500* (very fast double-side multi-feed scanner) and with a press of a button I place the documents directly into Evernote* and also into Dropbox*. I don’t just trust the proprietary Evernote system (who knows if this provider will still exist in 20 years), but I also automatically save the files locally and in the cloud. The advantage with the ScanSnap Scanner is that the documents are also scanned directly via OCR and therefore the saved documents can be searched directly via full text search. When I am on the road, I scan the documents on my mobile phone with the app Scanbot (also with OCR-function also for multi-page documents) and save them in both places. Application for mobile scanning are mostly warranty receipts when shopping or receipts for travel expense accounting. I put the important paper documents classically in folders, because I don’t know if I can still use Evernote, PC or something similar in my old age. All not important but already scanned paper documents go directly into the trash.

For people who don’t want double coverage, I recommend the purchase of a Bates Numbering*. Apply the consecutive number with the stamp to each document before scanning, then filing by number and not by subject area in folders. Then it is ensured that as few physical folders as possible are needed and that the document will probably be found faster (via the consecutive number) compared to my structured filing. As I said, in this case you always have to search for the document first on your PC or in Evernote and then for the paper document using the number. Since I’m not sure if I can always ensure that, I have a structured paper file as a backup, which is admittedly more time-consuming.

I also save important internet pages in Evernote. Then I can always access them with a full text search. Alternatively I use the app Pocket, if I just want to save the pages for a short time, in order to read them later once.

Sort Thoughts

To sort my thoughts, also for such blog articles I use SimpleMind Pro on the desktop and on mobile phone and tablet. It’s nice that you can synchronize all mind maps to e.g. dropbox. What I especially like about SimpleMind is the completely free positioning of the “branches” of the mind maps. This is not always so easy with other mapping programs. In addition, the price for the apps is acceptable.

An interesting combination of possible task management tool and thought structuring tool is workflowy.com* for all “who think in lists”. Here you can record meeting minutes, ideas, tasks and everything else (also divisible in the team). In my opinion the ideal tool for the list thinkers mentioned. A mobile app is also available.

Meetings And Workshops

Timing in meetings and workshops: Here I use a real TimeTimer* or the original app.

To look up sketch notes I also use the app “Visual Helferein” and “Iconfinder” in workshops.

So much for the approaches and tools I use. Probably I didn’t think of everything. Have I not covered a task? Then comment below and I’ll be happy to complete the article.

The links marked with an asterisk (*) are so-called affiliate links. If you click on such an affiliate link and buy through this link, I get a commission from the relevant online shop or provider. The price does not change for you.

Project Manager in the year 2030

5 min.

Summary:

Does the project manager still exist in 2030 – as we know him today? The answer in a nutshell: No. The tasks of the project managers will change in the areas of leadership, organization and project implementation.

I was tempted to take part in the German Projektmagazin’s blog parade. Because on the one hand we are talking here about a term “project manager” that has come under intense discussion (especially in the German speaking project manager community using terms project managers and project leaders slightly differentiated) and on the other hand about a period of time that is very long even for futurologists. The researchers do not believe to be capable to define changes in this time dimension.

The project manager as a term

Both parts of the word project manager are currently in great discussion as to whether they are meaningful or even contemporary. Projects as such like in BI unit of Otto are no longer seen as necessary. The (project) leader or project manager is not intended in the pure agile set. Here, leadership will be given an even more important focus than it already is today. Managers in the sense of controlling and directing will become less and less relevant due to the already visible developments.

It is problematic to give a future statement about the project manager in 2030, if already today the term as such no longer has the anchoring, as perhaps in the preceding decades. Let us dare an attempt.

Time as a yardstick

It’s 12 years till 2030. Appears long. If you think about what the world looked like 12 years ago, backwards from today 2018: There was no iPhone, no Android, no app stores, no Youtube, no Spotify, no Kindle, no Tablet, no digital full format sensor in a serial camera (to put my hobby into context). One recognizes it happens more in 10 or 12 years than one assumes. That’s why futurologists don’t calculate in years, but in weeks in order to emphasize the short-term nature and to evaluate future models and statements faster and make them more comparable. The futurologist assumes 50 weeks per year. How many weeks have passed since New Year’s Eve? Three. So less than 50 weeks to New Year. In these three weeks not many things happened according to the human feeling. In the best case, you have planned three weeks and reflected them three times. But the “cross-week” tactical themes don’t seem significant. Nevertheless, project managers, Scrum Masters or one-man companies are working on the revolutionary aspects of the future. In the next 597 weeks until the year 2030.

What will the project environment look like in 500 weeks?

What will the world look like in 500 weeks? It seems pretty certain that in 500 weeks I and 70% of the German population will no longer own a car. In 500 weeks we won’t have any smartphones anymore. In 500 weeks we will no longer be using a supermarket. In 500 weeks we will produce more electricity in our households than we consume. In 500 weeks we will eat meat bred in laboratories. In 500 weeks we will receive ears for people from the 3D printer as medical spare parts. In 500 weeks robots will support the care of elderly people. In 500 weeks, 40% of the German population will have intelligent non-medical implants. In 500 weeks …

All these endeavors – let’s call them projects here for simplicity’s sake – are accompanied by people. This is not about generating ideas, but about implementing them. The fact that the creation, definition and implementation of ideas should be close to each other in terms of personnel is supported by some and criticized by others.

Requirements for today’s project managers in 2030

What impact does this have on me and all the other project managers from 2018? The visionary project manager who drives this one idea will no longer exist. We can already see today how complex the world of work and the world as such has become. This can no longer be united by one person. So it will have to be more and more a team effort. Which is good. This naturally has an effect on the aspect of leadership. We recognize trends already in agile beginnings which do not represent however yet the end of the road. The following generations have and demand a different attitude to work. I have experienced this many times myself and already talk like my grandfathers (“The young people today”). But also this change is good, because …

“No change, no development.”
Birgit Ramlow (*1948), employee and hobby aphorist

Transformation vs. Revolution

And now a much criticized term from the business economics: Transformation. When I think in weeks and design endeavors in a manageable time frame, there are transformation aspects. It is revolutionary when we experience a complete technological or paradigm shift. The smartphone was not a revolution, but a courageous and creative combination of available technologies. The push came somewhat delayed by the apps. But even these are not a classic revolution, but a further development on another platform and therefore used by more users. Why was the smartphone ultimately perceived as revolutionary and has this outward appearance? Well, my thesis is that managers of competitors like Nokia and Siemens weren’t brave enough and didn’t listen to the market. Imagination and creativity were not lacking. Because carmakers are also being predicted the whole development today and the reactions to it are, in my opinion, too hesitant. In development periods of 4 years per real model change, i.e. 200 weeks, you can no longer act today. So what can we deduce from this for the project manager?

He will work a lot in transformation projects and will contribute to the revolution by quickly placing new projects with courageous and fast acting managers.

Company management or committees in 2030

The biggest changes will certainly be one level higher in the hierarchy (if you want to talk about it at all – today at least one level higher) required at the portfolio board, at the product owners or however a company implements strategic decision making for itself. At Otto in the product area, in the agile environment by the product owner – as a representative for the management or the portfolio board in classical project management. These committees will certainly have to meet the defined requirements even more than in my article, written in 2016, in order to enable the timing between the transformations to revolutions. And let’s be honest, in the ~ 60 weeks since this article was written, the claim is still not fulfilled. So there is a need for action.

Different demands on the project managers

Will the development depend on the type of project?

There will no longer be a project manager who can manage projects universally in all industries and project types. At least today’s challenging attitude will be less and less correct.

In the area of software development, agile approaches and hybrid mix forms will develop for large programs. A design of these hybrid forms is material for another blog post.

Investment projects will continue to be similarly organized as today. And thus also the role and tasks of the project manager. Even if today’s examples, such as Berlin Airport, are not promising.

The young project manager in 2030

But what about the young project manager who will manage projects for the first time in 2030? He starts with a handicap. Because he himself, but also his IT architects and other colleagues, will not have experienced any more “journeyman years” here in Germany, since all “journeyman activities” were already relocated from the last century nearshore or offshore in the 1990s. It will no longer be so easy to start a career as a project manager, however shaped it may be. This can be observed today in environments that have changed for some time, such as the textile industry. Here in Germany today there are often problems to find qualified seamstresses for the sample collection. For this reason, companies themselves have to relocate business-critical areas such as design and sample collection abroad. This will also be the case with the project managers of the future. In the virtual world, with the supporting technologies, it will always be easy to carry out projects here in Germany. But also the proximity to the customer is less and less important due to the virtual support technologies. This means that in 2030 it will also be possible to carry out projects completely from a remote location (including project managers) without missing customer proximity in Germany.