I’ve studied quantum computing since college. I received my degree in computer science, with a focus on quantum computing from the University of Oxford in England. During my first years at McKinsey, I worked as a generalist consultant in digital transformation and strategy, and recently became a senior capabilities & insights analyst.
I began working on quantum computing as a side project and was offered an opportunity to move into it full-time. Now, I’m focused on research, building our internal knowledge and developing more capabilities and insights in quantum computing.
Invested in a game-changing technology
Quantum computing has been around for decades, but in the last five years, it’s built momentum. For the longest time, the topic was more theoretical. However, companies have started to figure out how to build a prototype, and we’re seeing investments in this topic skyrocket.
In a nutshell, quantum computing is a technology that will make use of the surprising features of quantum mechanics to perform computation, which is outside of our existing capabilities. We’re talking about solving problems in an hour that would take millions of years on a traditional computer.
In quantum mechanics, you have this weird phenomenon where things are not predetermined, and they have different potential values. With quantum computing, you can leverage that phenomenon and process a huge amount of data because instead of zero and one like in classical computing, you have zero and one and everything in between. It provides infinite data for solving business problems.
For example, one key application of quantum computing is the simulation of molecules, which is impossible to do with any reasonable accuracy right now. If we could do it well, we could eliminate most of drug testing and speed R&D. It could really revolutionize pharma, so we’re seeing investments from industry leaders in the space.
We believe quantum computing can become the next game changer for many industries. McKinsey is invested in quantum computing because of the impact it can have on the world.
Becoming thought leaders
While big tech players, such as Google and IBM have a prototype, and others are implementing their solutions in different industries, we all are years from wide-scale adoption.
As for my role—and McKinsey’s goals—we’re focused on deep scientific research because we want to be ahead of the curve and become experts on quantum computing before it arrives.
We are already consulting with clients on quantum computing. For example, we helped a pharma client develop a quantum computing strategy. We worked with a European government to assess the quantum computing market, and we currently support a client to improve access to finance for quantum technologies in Europe. My next project will be to help a big quantum computing player develop their commercial and operating model.
More about Linde
When Linde is not helping McKinsey build its expertise in quantum computing, she is the mother of one with her second child on the way. She resides in Amsterdam but is currently living in the United States. She is an acrobat who went to the world championships for wheel gymnastics, and she is looking forward to performing again as soon as she can.