Virtual Network Centre on Quantum Computing
Part of: Prelims and GS-III: Awareness in the fields of IT
Context: India and Finland will establish an Indo-Finnish Virtual Network Centre on Quantum Computing
- Will attempt to stimulate innovative research and development projects to address needs of both nations.
- The Indian side has identified three premier institutes, IIT-Madras, IISER-Pune and C-DAC-Pune for the same.
USA and China are taking lead in quantum computing. The need to invest in quantum computing researches is realized by India which has unveiled a programme called Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST).
- A rapidly-emerging technology that harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for classical computers.
- Quantum computing is a new type of computing that relies on quantum physics unlike traditional computing which is based on binary processing of information.
- It uses ‘qubit’ built by the way of some objects behave at the subatomic level or at extremely cold temperature.
- Exploiting the principles of quantum mechanics, quantum computing help computers to easily tackle computational problems that may be tough for the classical computer as the size of the numbers and number of inputs involved grows bigger. It uses the fundamental laws of quantum physics to perform an incomprehensible number of calculations simultaneously.
Potential applications of Quantum computing:
- Research: Classical computers are limited in terms of the size and complexity of molecules they can simulate and compare (an essential process in early drug development). If we have an input of size N, N being the number of atoms in the researched molecules, the number of possible interactions between these atoms is exponential (each atom can interact with all the others).Quantum computers will allow much larger molecules to be simulated. At the same time, researchers will be able to model and simulate interactions between drugs and all 20,000+ proteins encoded in the human genome, leading to greater advancements in pharmacology.
- Diagnostics: Quantum technologies could be used to provide faster, more accurate diagnostics with a variety of applications. Boosting AI capabilities will improve machine learning – something that is already being used to aid pattern recognition. High-resolution MRI machines will provide greater levels of detail and also aid clinicians with screening for diseases.
- Treatment: Targeted treatments, such as radiotherapy, depend upon the ability to rapidly model and simulate complex scenarios to deliver the optimal treatment. Quantum computers would enable therapists to run more simulations in less time, helping to minimise radiation damage to healthy tissue.
- Automated, high-frequency trading: One potential application for quantum technologies is algorithmic trading – the use of complex algorithms to automatically trigger share dealings based on a wide variety of market variables. The advantages, especially for high-volume transactions, are significant.
- Fraud detection: Like diagnostics in healthcare, fraud detection is reliant upon pattern recognition. Quantum computers could deliver a significant improvement in machine learning capabilities; dramatically reducing the time taken to train a neural network and improving the detection rate.
- Quantum computers will have the ability to aggregate and analyse huge volumes of consumer data, from a wide variety of sources.
- Big data analytics will allow commerce and government to precisely target individual consumers, or voters, with communications tailored to their preferences; helping to influence consumer spending and the outcome of elections.
- With so many variables to consider, accurate weather forecasts are difficult to produce. Machine learning using quantum computers will result in improved pattern recognition, making it easier to predict extreme weather events and potentially saving thousands of lives a year.
- Climatologists will also be able to generate and analyse more detailed climate models; proving greater insight into climate change and how we can mitigate its negative impact.
- Improved data analysis and modelling will enable a wide range of industries to optimise workflows associated with transport, logistics and supply-chain management.
- The calculation and recalculation of optimal routes could impact on applications as diverse as traffic management, fleet operations, air traffic control, freight and distribution.
- Disaster Management
- Tsunamis, drought, earthquakes and floods may become more predictable with quantum applications.
- The collection of data regarding climate change can be streamlined in a better way through quantum technology. This in turn will have a profound impact on agriculture, food technology chains and the limiting of farmland wastage.
- Secure Communication
- China recently demonstrated secure quantum communication links between terrestrial stations and satellites.
- This area is significant to satellites, military and cyber security among others as it promises unimaginably fast computing and safe, unhackable satellite communication to its users.