Quantum Technology Glows Into View With Surprising Speed
Quantum technology snapped into view with surprising speed over the past two years, advancing in computing, sensing and secure communications. Powered by the mind-bending rules of quantum physics, this counterintuitive field is opening up vast new possibilities for business and science.
Among the many exciting applications emerging from this research are adaptive radiotherapy and route optimization for smart-city traffic management systems. In financial services, investors may harness quantum to better understand market volatility and improve trading strategies.
Quantum computing leverages the mind-bending properties of quantum physics, including entanglement and superposition, to perform calculations far faster than traditional computers. Its power grows exponentially with the number of qubits, while classical computers only increase in speed linearly.
Companies are already testing and buying quantum computers from the likes of IBM, Google, Rigetti, D-Waves Systems, Alibaba, and Daimler and Volkswagen. They’re using them to simulate chemical compositions of materials, help develop new batteries and electric cars, and discover drug compounds.
However, these powerful machines require a great deal of energy to protect the qubits from external interference – either by physically isolating them or cooling them to near-absolute zero temperature and zapping them with precisely controlled pulses of electricity. This leaves a significant environmental footprint that should be taken into account by organizations seeking to deploy these technologies. Building technology literacy for all employees will also be essential. This includes leaders and workers up and down the supply chain, in marketing, IT infrastructure, finance, and more.
Quantum photonics is a field that uses light to encode, process and transmit quantum information. It relies on the special properties of photons, which are less prone to decoherence than atoms or ions. This makes them a more suitable medium for quantum information processing. It can also exploit quantum entanglement, which allows for the exchange of information between photons.
In addition to quantum computing, this technology has applications in quantum metrology and quantum communications. It can be used to protect data against hacking and eavesdropping by using quantum cryptography. This technology is becoming increasingly important as cyber threats continue to grow.
Researchers are studying the fundamental aspects of quantum photonics, including superposition and entanglement. They are also investigating how to integrate quantum materials into classical devices. This is an important step as it will allow for a seamless transition from research to commercialization. However, the research is not without its challenges. Some of the main obstacles include data privacy, intellectual property, export controls, safety regulations, and standards and interoperability.
Many companies involved in quantum communications have commercialized their technologies and participate in standardization efforts. For example, SK Telecom has rolled out QKD networks and offers QRNG-as-a-service to secure online transactions. Meanwhile, ID Quantique is developing quantum-safe cryptography to protect cloud services and mobile communication networks.
The world’s leading economies are investing heavily in quantum technologies such as QKD and QC, which use quantum physics to make information hard to intercept or hack. These technologies are expected to boost security and enhance computation, digital communication, sensor technology, and other applications.
Another quantum technology, quantum simulation, can enable new capabilities in fields such as air foil aerodynamics, battery and fuel cell design, and space mission optimization. Capgemini combines scientific expertise with software craftmanship to develop and implement advanced quantum technologies for our clients. These technologies will create breakthroughs in their respective fields and help shape a quantum future. This includes leveraging quantum computing and communication (QComm) to interconnect multiple quantum computers to yield even more powerful processing power.
With technologies like unhackable secure networks and computers billions of times faster than today’s supercomputers on the horizon, cybersecurity is becoming an integral part of our modern lives. However, with the advent of quantum computing comes new security challenges. Quantum technology has the potential to break current encryption methods, and it will be critical for businesses to update their systems with quantum-safe cryptography.
To address these concerns, the National Institute of Standards and Technology ran a worldwide competition to encourage top scientists and engineers to develop cryptographic algorithms that are quantum-safe. The winners were recently announced, and they represent a significant milestone in the development of quantum-safe cryptography.
The first step in migrating to quantum-safe cryptography is to understand your existing PKI infrastructure. This involves knowing what cryptographic algorithms you have in place, where they reside and how data flows through your organization. It also includes conducting a post-quantum cryptography self-assessment to see what areas of your business are currently ready for quantum computing and which are hampering cyber-agility.