Dr Arvind, professor (Physics) and coordinator(Outreach) at Indian Institute of Scientific Education and Research (IISER) speaks to The Indian Express about the Quantum Computing project undertaken by the union government.
What is the quantum computing project?
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) Govt of India launched a 300 crore networked program on Quantum Science and Technologies (QuST) this year which is aimed at providing an impetus to India’s research and development activities in this important and emergent research area. It is very important that India builds expertise and trained manpower in the broad area of quantum technologies and quantum computers.
How can people benefit from quantum technologies? What change will it bring to the computing world?
Quantum computers can do computational tasks that classical computers can never do, such as hack into conventional encryption systems which are used around the world today. This includes accessing military intelligence data, consumer bank transfers, credit card payments, email encryption etc. These qualitatively different computers are expected to be deployed in a wide array of cutting-edge technologies to solve problems in medicine biotechnology, agriculture, weather forecasting and climate change, space research, defense, big data and artificial intelligence. On the communications side, quantum communication protocols are needed for systems security at all levels. The indigenous development of these technologies is essential for self-reliance of the nation’s security.
What role does IISER play in developing the technique?
IISER Mohali has one of the largest group of scientists working in this area in the country, including theoretical and experimental physicists. The quantum technologies being used by researchers at IISER Mohali to address these problems include NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance), optics and superconducting devices. IISER Mohali is the coordinating institute for one of the major themes (Photonics) of the project. I am on the National Drafting Committee of the initiative, where a national mission is being launched to develop this area of quantum science and technology.
Tell us about the conference to be held at IISER.
IISER Mohali is organising an international conference on “Quantum Foundations, Technology and Applications QFTA2019” from October 18-21, 2019. The conference has around 150 participants and around 30 eminent scientists from India and abroad will deliver expert lectures on their research. The expert talks will focus on a broad spectrum of themes in quantum information processing, ranging from foundations of quantum mechanics, quantum entanglement and contextuality, quantum simulations and quantum algorithms, to physical implementations of quantum information processing protocols using various quantum technologies.
What other countries are working on the same technique?
The nation which is able to control the future of quantum information technology will become the “Information Superpower” and that is why several developed and developing nations are in the race to develop quantum technologies. China, USA, Europe, Russia, Australia and Israel are among the countries that have already invested several million dollars in building networked national research initiatives in quantum
information and technologies.
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