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Quantum Computing

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • Quantum computing has garnered substantial attention in the past decade due to its transformative potential across diverse fields.
About Computing

·       A bit, the fundamental unit of information in classical computing, is a binary digit represented as either 0 or 1.

·       Classical computers rely on bits, which are physical systems usually characterized by high or low voltage configurations.

·       Gates in computer circuits perform operations that change the states of these bits, and the speed of these gates determines the overall speed of the computer.

About Quantum Computing

  • Quantum computing is a revolutionary paradigm rooted in the principles of quantum mechanics.
  • Quantum computers use qubits, which can exist in a state of superposition, representing both 0 and 1 simultaneously.
  • The unique property of superposition allows quantum computers to perform certain calculations exponentially faster than classical computers.

 Applications of Quantum Computing

  • Drug discovery can benefit from quantum computing by simulating complex molecules, leading to the accelerated development of new drugs and materials.
  • In financial modelling, quantum computers can optimize portfolios and manage risk with unparalleled accuracy and speed.
  • Quantum computing has implications for cryptography, both in breaking existing encryption methods and developing new, quantum-resistant ones.
  • Machine learning can be revolutionized by training algorithms on massive datasets much faster, leading to breakthroughs in natural language processing, computer vision, and more.
  • Materials science can benefit from designing novel materials with superior properties like high-temperature superconductors or efficient solar cells.

 Challenges in Quantum Computing

  • Quantum computers face hardware limitations as qubits are fragile and prone to errors, making it challenging to build large, stable quantum computers.
  • Quantum algorithms are fundamentally different from classical algorithms, requiring specialized programming languages and techniques, posing a challenge in software development.
  • The cost and accessibility of quantum computers are significant hurdles, as they are currently expensive and often not accessible to the general public or smaller research institutions.
  • Security concerns arise from the potential of quantum computers to break existing encryption methods, necessitating the development of quantum-resistant cryptography.

 Measures to Address Challenges

  • Governments and private companies are investing heavily in research and development to advance both quantum hardware and software technologies.
  • Developing error correction techniques is crucial for building reliable quantum computers, as qubits are prone to errors.
  • Building quantum ecosystems involves creating platforms and tools to make quantum computing more accessible and user-friendly for developers and researchers.
  • To address security concerns, international collaboration is essential in establishing standards and protocols for quantum-resistant cryptography to ensure secure communication in the future.

 Government Initiatives in India

  • The National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NM-QTA) in India, announced in the Union Budget of 2020, covers various areas of quantum technologies with a proposed budget of 8000 crores.
  • The Quantum Computing Applications Lab (QCAL), a joint initiative by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), provides researchers and developers with access to cloud-based quantum computing resources for experimentation and application development.
  • Quantum-enabled Science and Technologies (QuEST), supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), funds research projects and collaborations in quantum computing.
  • The I-HUB Quantum Technology Foundation (I-HUB QTF), also established by the DST, collaborates with research institutions to foster the development and commercialization of quantum technologies.

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