The Quest to Develop Quantum Computers, Who is Winning the Race?

by August 6, 2018 0 comments

For the last several decades, tech giant USA has led the world in cutting-edge technology propelling its economy and national security. Today, the United States is pitched against China and the European Union to develop the next technological breakthroughs based on the power of quantum science.

IBM and Microsoft, the prominent names in the Fortune 500 list are spearheading USA’s quest to develop Quantum Computing, not far behind, Chinese universities have also joined the bandwagon to develop the technology of the future.

 

Quantum Computing Will Be the Trend of the Future

Quantum computing deploys the movement of subatomic particles to process data in amounts that today’s modern computers cannot handle. The Quantum computing concept, mostly theoretical now, is expected to execute calculations at a speed that will make today’s computers look akin to an abacus! Intrigued? Read on further.

Though fully functioning quantum computers may be 10 years away from being into reality, new industries and new jobs working on this technology are just over the horizon. Quantum computing offers greater advancements in data security, precise long-range weather forecasts, electronic communications, and in the research and development of new medicines and materials.

 

Quantum Computing is Based on the “Quantum Superposition” Concept

A traditional computer, like the laptop or tablet used today, employs small electronic “on-off” switches in their CPUs, known as binary, 1 and 0, where 1 is “on,” and 0 is “off.” The super-computers of this generation which can perform calculations at higher speeds also follow the same “on-off” patterns.

A quantum computer employs “qbits” which are the subatomic particles that follow the concept of “quantum superposition,” that can be “on” and “off” at the same time. This permits a quantum computer to work on complex calculations at a speed of millions of times faster than the most advanced super-computers that we have today.

 

The Debate on Quantum Computing: Who Wins the Race?

Investments into Quantum Computing have reached new heights. China and the European Union have invested billions of dollars into new research facilities and equipment for quantum efforts. China, in particular, has elevated its Quantum Computing initiatives to a national goal to surpass the US in the next decade.

The overall investments by China into Quantum Computing initiatives are unknown, however as reports suggest the Chinese government is building a US$10 billion National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences in Hefei, Anhui province, which is due to open in 2020. According to a July 2016 government report, US-funded research into quantum computing is about US$200 million a year, a figure some researchers and companies do not believe is enough investment.

 

The National Quantum Initiative Act

In a recent development, The U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee have approved the National Quantum Initiative Act on 27th July 2018. The National Quantum Initiative Act explains the dominant role quantum science will play in the future. This bill ensures the funds; resources and support are available to make the US a global leader in quantum technology by creating a 10-year program to advance quantum development and technology applications in the U.S.

The National Quantum Initiative Act supports basic research, education and standards development among multiple federal agencies by addressing fundamental research gaps, creating a stronger workforce, and developing ways to give the US companies and workers an enduring competitive advantage into Quantum Computing.

 

China is Not Left Behind in the Quantum Race to Finish

According to a report by the US Trade Representative, Quantum physics is a domain where the Chinese government, through its Ministry of Science and Technology, is strengthening its technological prowess alarming the US agencies. According to the data released by Patinformatics (a leading, full-service advisory firm specializing in patent analytics) China Academy of Sciences and Peking University are among the prominent Chinese research firms seeking more patents on quantum information technology.

In the quest to beat other nations, the Chinese government has invested billions of dollars by the way of by sponsoring companies and researchers to replicate what developments are done in Quantum Computing at the US and elsewhere. The Chinese have indeed come a long way.

Based on their patent applications, the Chinese researchers are focused on encryption technologies. China’s state news agency reports that the Chinese government has launched the world’s first quantum communications satellite that has claimed to have sent the first unbreakable code from space in 2017.

 

Quantum Computing: The Path Ahead

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, created by the US Congress in 2000 in its most recent report stated that China has closed the technological gap with the US in quantum information science, which is a sector Americans have long dominated. Chinese researchers and industries are fast marching ahead, aided by R&D funding and government support. In the times to come it will be interesting to watch who wins the ultimate Quantum Computing battle to dominate in the Quantum Revolution.

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