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The Quantum Computing Era Is Here. Why It MattersAnd How It May Change Our World. – Forbes

IBM Q System One

Hyper-accurate long-term weather forecasting. Life-saving drugs discovered through deep study of the behavior of complex molecules. New synthetic carbon-capturing materials to help reverse climate change caused by fossil fuels. Stable, long-lasting batteries to power electric vehicles and store green energy for the utility grid.

It may read like an ambitious wish list. But many scientists predict that the emerging era of quantum computing could lead to breakthroughs like these, while also tackling other major problems that are beyond reach of our current computing regime.

Quantum computing is not a new idea. But its only been in recent years that workable technology has begun to catch up to the theory.

IBM in 2016 made a quantum computer available to the public by connecting it to the clouda true turning point in the development of this technology by enabling outside researchers and developers to explore its possibilities. And the industry took a major stride in September 2019 with the opening of IBMs Quantum Computation Center. That fleet of 15 systems includes the most advanced quantum computer yet available for external use.

Scientists are tantalized by the possibilities. One analyst predicted quantum will be as world altering in the 2020s as the smartphone was in the decade just ended.

The Quantum Computation Center offers about 100 IBM clients, academic institutions and more than 200,000 registered users access to this cutting-edge technology through a collaborative effort called the IBM Q Network and the rapidly growing community around Qiskit, IBMs open-source development platform for quantum computing. Through these efforts, IBM and others are exploring the ways quantum computing can address their most complicated problems, while training a workforce to use this technology.

Facilitating education and developing the next-generation workforce is a big focus for IBM. That includes spurring access to Qiskit and educational tools like the Coding With Qiskit video series that has generated more than 1.5 million impressions and over 10,000 hours of content consumed by users.The company has also released an open source textbook written by experts in the field, including several from IBM Research, as well as professors who have used some of the material in their own university courses.

Q Network partners include ExxonMobil, Daimler, JPMorgan Chase, Anthem, Delta Airlines, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Georgia Tech University, Keio University, Stanford Universitys Q-Farm program and Mitsubishi Chemical among dozens of others.

Last year IBM announced partnerships with the University of Tokyo and the German research company Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, which will greatly expand the companys already broad network of quantum researchers globally. The history of computing tells us that creative people around the world will find uses for these systems that no one could have predicted.

Katie Pizzolato

At this stage, its difficult to predict what kind of impact quantum will have on employment or the economy. But the research firm Gartner projects that, by 2023, 20 percent of organizations will be budgeting for QC projects, up from less than 1 percent in 2018.*

How do we get to the quantum future? asks Katie Pizzolato, Director of Applications Research within the IBM Q Network. By building the most advanced quantum systems and a developmental platform and making it available to the world.

How does quantum differ from classical digital computing? Conventional computers use transistors that can only store information in two electrical statesOn or Offwhich binary computer code represents as 1 or 0. These are the binary digits, or bits, of classical computing.

Quantum computing is an altogether different beast. It derives its origins from the field of quantum physics, which emerged in the early 20th century when scientists began studying the behavior of subatomic particles.

What they discovered shocked many of them. Simply put, subatomic particles can exist in two places, or two states, at the same time, defying previously accepted laws of the physical world. The term for this is superposition. Researchers also discovered that particles separated by distances are able to share information instantaneously, faster than the speed of light. This is called entanglement.

If this sounds strange and implausible, thats because it is. Niels Bohr, one of the scientists who pioneered the field of quantum mechanics, quipped that anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory doesn't understand it.

This subatomic reality has profound implications for computing. The binary bits used by conventional computersthose 0s and 1slimit the kind of task classical computers can perform, and the speed at which they can do those tasks.

Qubits are the basis for quantum computers. They transcend this 1 or 0 binary limitation. Unlike bits, qubits can exist in multiple states simultaneously. This gives them the potential to processexponential amounts ofinformation.

A quantum machine with just a couple of qubits can process only about as much information as a classical 512-bit computer. But because of the exponential nature of the platform, the dynamic changes very quickly. Assuming perfect stability, 300 qubits could represent more data values than there are atoms in the observable universe. This opens the opportunity to solve highly complex problems that are well beyond the reach of any classical computer.

Dario Gil

A beauty of quantum computers is that they will offer a more subtle way of thinking about problems that goes beyond binarythat goes beyond simple 0 or 1, Yes or No, True or False, says Dario Gil, the Director of IBM Research. That doesnt mean there wont be specific answers in the end. But quantum computing will make it possible to confront many of the worlds most complex problems that are beyond the ability of classical binary computing to quickly solve.

What can quantum computing do for us?

Quantum computers will be orders of magnitude more powerful than anything we have today. But what problems will they solve? What are scientists doing with them now?

Its generally agreed that most important quantum applications are years away. But researchers say some promising applications stand out:

Climate change

Quantum computing could lead to a novel yet ambitious plan to reverse the negative impacts of climate change, by helping find efficient ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

To do that, scientists require a better understanding of the carbon atom and how it interacts with other elements. Researchers need to be able to observe and model the way each carbon atoms eight orbiting electrons might interact with the electrons of an almost infinite variety of other molecules, until researchers find the combination that can best bind the carbon.

Batteries to store more electricity for clean-energy uses

One fundamental building block of our clean-energy future will be batteries. Todays batteries lose power too quickly.They also cant hold enough charge to meet increasing demands. And at times, theyre unstable. Todays most-used battery type, lithium-ion, is dependent on cobalt, a metal whose global supplies are dwindling.

Well need better batteries for applications like powering electric vehicles. Utility companies will need them to store solar and wind energy, for example, for use when the sun isnt shining or the wind isnt blowing.

We need to find a fundamentally different chemistry to create the batteries of the future, Pizzolato says. Quantum computing could let us effectively peer inside the batteries chemical reactions, to better understand the materials and reactions that will give the world those better batteries.

New insights into chemistry

Learning more about chemical reactions on the atomic level could also lead to breakthroughs in pharmaceuticals, or materials like energy-efficient fertilizer (currently a massively energy-intensive endeavor, and a major contributor to carbon emissions).

The catalysts that spark these sorts of discoveries are the essence of nearly all progress in chemistry. But because of the infinitely complex ways in which atoms interact with each other, almost all chemistry breakthroughs have come about through accident, intuition or exhausting numbers of experiments. Quantum computing could make this work faster and more methodical, leading to new discoveries in medicine, energy, materials and other fields.

Portfolio management

Its no surprise that that financial institutions are exploring the use of quantum to balance portfolios and pricing options, the instruments used for hedging risk. Because of the complexity of processing a large number of continually changing variables it often takes a full day to come to a correct price.

Quantum promises to make such calculations in a matter of minutes, meaning these derivatives could be bought and sold in near real time. Some banks, like JPMorgan Chase, are already testing quantum computing for this very purpose.

For consumers, whether saving for a home, nurturing a college-savings plan, or building assets for a secure retirement, the peace-of-mind benefits of lower-risk and higher-profit financial products could be significant.


Cryptography is a field that has attracted considerable attention in the quantum conversation. So far, much of the discussion has involved the perceived perils of a new class or code breakers. But the counter argumentnew types of more secure data privacy systemscould prove just as compelling.

Either way, true breakthroughs are probably not coming soon.

The most sophisticated data security software now uses complex algorithms to generate passwords that would take classical computers a long time to break. Quantum threatens to completely overturn this paradigm, making current encryption effectively useless. A quantum computer algorithm created a quarter-century ago, called Shors algorithm, could theoretically crack even the most powerful of todays forms of encryption. But Shors algorithm would require fault-tolerant quantum computers that dont yet exist and might still be many years away.

Still, the possibility that current cybersecurity standards could be made obsolete has drawn the attention of governments. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, for example, has a competition to develop new encryption tools resistant to the potential danger.

What Must Happen To Fulfill Quantums Promise?

Despite the flurry of activity and rapidly growing interest in quantum computing, major breakthroughs with real-world applications are probably years away.

One reason is the fickleness of subatomic matter. Qubits are extremely delicate, and even a small disturbance knocks particles out of quantum state. Thats why quantum computers are kept at temperatures slightly above absolute zero, colder than outer space, since matter becomes effectively more stable the colder it gets. Even at that temperature, qubit particles typically remain in superposition for only fractions of a second.

Figuring out how to keep qubits in a prolonged state of superpostition is a major challenge that scientists still need to overcome.

A next major benchmark, Pizzolato says, will be the successful implementation of logical qubits that can maintain a quantum state longer than is now technologically possible. Logical qubits are necessary for fault-tolerancethe true test of quantum computings utility. Like others at IBM, Pizzolato is reluctant to predict a timeline but says the logical qubit is likely to arrive sometime in the next decade.

Another open question is economic: How will the arrival of the Quantum Age impact the number, categories and quality of jobs in the decades to come? Its difficult to say right now how big an industry quantum computing will eventually be. But currently, a major skills gap has left nearly every quantum organization struggling to find qualified recruits.

The National Quantum Initiative, signed into law in early 2019, is meant to provide federal funds to bridge this skills gap. But practical training of the sort made possible by the IBM Q Network will be crucial to a long-term solution.

While the quantum era may develop slowly, its worth remembering that the Internetor an early version of itwas around for decades before it was established as the truly revolutionary force it would become. But like the Internet, the work researchers are doing now on quantum computing lead to a world we cant now imagine.

Only by doing the hard work on quantum computing that we and our partners around the world are doing now, says Pizzolato, can we hope to solve the big global problems that well be facing together in the years ahead.

*Gartner, Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019: Quantum Computing, March 2019

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The Quantum Computing Era Is Here. Why It MattersAnd How It May Change Our World. - Forbes

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AlphaZero beat humans at Chess and StarCraft, now it’s working with quantum computers – The Next Web

A team of researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark let DeepMinds AlphaZero algorithm loose on a few quantum computing optimization problems and, much to everyones surprise, the AI was able to solve the problems without any outside expert knowledge. Not bad for a machine learning paradigm designed to win at games like Chess and StarCraft.

Youve probably heard of DeepMind and its AI systems. The UK-based Google sister-company is responsible for both AlphaZero and AlphaGo, the systems that beat the worlds most skilled humans at the games of Chess and Go. In essence, what both systems do is try to figure out what the optimal next set of moves is. Where humans can only think so many moves ahead, the AI can look a bit further using optimized search and planning methods.

Related:DeepMinds AlphaZero AI is the new champion in chess, shogi, and Go

When the Aarhus team applied AlphaZeros optimization abilities to a trio of problems associated with optimizing quantum functions an open problem for the quantum computing world they learned that its ability to learn new parameters unsupervised transferred over from games to applications quite well.

Per the study:

AlphaZero employs a deep neural network in conjunction with deep lookahead in a guided tree search, which allows for predictive hidden-variable approximation of the quantum parameter landscape. To emphasize transferability, we apply and benchmark the algorithm on three classes of control problems using only a single common set of algorithmic hyperparameters.

The implications for AlphaZeros mastery over the quantum universe could be huge. Controlling a quantum computer requires an AI solution because operations at the quantum level quickly become incalculable by humans. The AI can find optimum paths between data clusters in order to emerge better solutions in tandem with computer processors. It works a lot like human heuristics, just scaled to the nth degree.

An example of this would be an algorithm that helps a quantum computer sort through near-infinite combinations of molecules to come up with chemical compounds that would be useful in the treatment of certain illnesses. The current paradigm would involve developing an algorithm that relies on human expertise and databases with previous findings to point it in the right direction.

But the kind of problems were looking at quantum computers to solve dont always have a good starting point. Some of these, optimization problems like the Traveling Salesman Problem, need an algorithm thats capable of figuring things out without the need for constant adjustment by developers.

DeepMinds algorithm and AI system may be the solution quantum computings been waiting for. The researchers effectively employ AlphaZero as a Tabula Rasa for quantum optimization: It doesnt necessarily need human expertise to find the optimum solution to a problem at the quantum computing level.

Before we start getting too concerned about unsupervised AI accessing quantum computers, its worth mentioning that so far AlphaZeros just solved a few problems in order to prove a concept. We know the algorithms can handle quantum optimization, now its time to figure out what we can do with it.

The researchers have already received interest from big tech and other academic institutions with queries related to collaborating on future research. Not for nothing, but DeepMinds sister-company Google has a little quantum computing program of its own. Were betting this isnt the last weve heard of AlphaZeros adventures in the quantum computing world.

Read next: Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed to September (thank goodness)

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AlphaZero beat humans at Chess and StarCraft, now it's working with quantum computers - The Next Web

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The dark side of IoT, AI and quantum computing: Hacking, data breaches and existential threat – ZDNet

Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and quantum computing have the potential to transform human lives, but could also bring unintended consequences in the form of making society more vulnerable to cyberattacks, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has warned.

Now in it's 15th year, the WEFGlobal Risks Report 2020 produced in collaboration with insurance broking and risk management firm Marsh details the biggest threats facing the world over the course of the next year and beyond.

Data breaches and cyberattacks featured in the top five most likely global risks in both 2018 and 2019, but while both still pose significant risks, they're now ranked at sixth and seventh respectively.

"I wouldn't underestimate the importance of technology risk, even though this year's report has a centre piece on climate," said John Drzik, chairman of Marsh & McLennan Insights.

SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity(ZDNet special report) |Download the report as a PDF(TechRepublic)

The 2020 edition of the Global Risks Report puts the technological risks behind five different environmental challenges: extreme weather, climate change action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, and human-made environmental disasters.

But that isn't to say cybersecurity threats don't pose risks; cyberattacks and data breaches are still in the top ten and have the potential to cause big problems for individuals, businesses and society as a whole, with threats ranging from data breaches and ransomwareto hackers tampering with industrial and cyber-physical systems.

"The digital nature of 4IR [fourth industrial revolution] technologies makes them intrinsically vulnerable to cyberattacks that can take a multitude of formsfrom data theft and ransomware to the overtaking of systems with potentially large-scale harmful consequences," warns the report.

"Operational technologies are at increased risk because cyberattacks could cause more traditional, kinetic impacts as technology is being extended into the physical world, creating a cyber-physical system."

The report warns that, for many technology vendors, "security-by-design" is still a secondary concern compared with getting products out to the market.

Large numbers of Internet of Things product manufacturers have long had a reputation for putting selling the products ahead of ensuring they're secure and the WEF warns that the IoT is "amplifying the potential cyberattack surface", as demonstrated by the rise in IoT-based attacks.

In many cases, IoT devices collect and share private data that's highly sensitive, like medical records, information about the insides of homes and workplaces, or data on day-to-day journeys.

Not only could this data be dangerous if it falls into the hands of cyber criminals if it isn't collected and stored appropriately, the WEF also warns about the potential of IoT data being abused by data brokers. In both cases, the report warns the misuse of this data could be to create physical and psychological harm.

Artificial intelligence is also detailed as a technology that could have benefits as well as causing problems, with the report describing AI as "the most impactful invention" and our "biggest existential threat". The WEF even goes so far as to claim we're still not able to comprehend AI's full potential or full risk.

The report notes that risks around issues such as generating disinformation and deepfakes are well known, but suggests that more investigation is needed into the risks AI poses in areas including brain-computer interfaces.

A warning is also issued about the unintended consequences of quantum computing, should it arrive at some point over the course of the next decade, as some suggest. While, like other innovations, it will bring benefits to society, it also creates a problem for encryption in its current state.

SEE:Cybersecurity in an IoT and Mobile World (ZDNet sepcial report)

By dramatically reducing the time required to solve the mathematical problems that today's encryption relies on to potentially just seconds, it will render cybersecurity as we know it obsolete. That could have grave consequences for re-securing almost every aspect of 21st century life, the report warns especially if cyber criminals or other malicious hackers gain access to quantum technology that they could use to commit attacks against personal data, critical infrastructure and power grids,

"These technologies are really reshaping industry, technology and society at large, but we don't have the protocols around these to make sure of a positive impact on society," said Mirek Dusek, deputy head of the centre for geopolitical and regional affairs at member of the executive committee at the World Economic Forum.

However, it isn't all doom and gloom; because despite the challenges offered when it comes to cyberattacks, the World Economic Forum notes that efforts to address the security challenges posed by new technologies is "maturing" even if they're still sometimes fragmented.

"Numerous initiatives bring together businesses and governments to build trust, promote security in cyberspace, assess the impact of cyberattacks and assist victims," the report says.

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The dark side of IoT, AI and quantum computing: Hacking, data breaches and existential threat - ZDNet

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Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology – HPCwire

TORONTO,Jan. 16, 2020 Xanadu, a Canadian quantum hardware and technology company has received a$4.4 millioninvestment from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). The investment will expedite the development of Xanadus photonic quantum computers and make them available over the cloud. This project will also further the companys overall progress towards the construction of energy-efficient universal quantum computers.

Canadian cleantech entrepreneurs are tackling problems acrossCanadaand in every sector. I have never been more positive about the future. The quantum hardware technology that Xanadu is building will develop quantum computers with the ability to solve extremely challenging computational problems, completing chemical calculations in minutes which would otherwise require a million CPUs in a data center, saidLeah Lawrence, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

Despite efforts to improve the power efficiency of traditional computing methods, the rapid growth of data centres and cloud computing presents a major source of new electricity consumption. In comparison to classical computing, quantum computing systems have the benefit of performing certain tasks and algorithms at an unprecedented rate. This will ultimately reduce the requirements for electrical power and the accompanying air and water emissions associated with electricity production.

Xanadu is developing a unique type of quantum computer, based on photonic technology, which is inherently more power-efficient than electronics. Xanadus photonic approach uses laser light to carry information through optical chips, rather than the electrons or ions used by their competitors. By using photonic technology, Xanadus quantum computers will one day have the ability to perform calculations at room temperature, and eliminate the bulky and power-hungry cooling systems required by most other types of quantum computers.

The project will be undertaken by Xanadus team of in-house scientists, with collaboration from theUniversity of Torontoand Swiftride. The project will be carried out over three years and will encompass the development of Xanadus architecture, hardware, software and client interfaces with the overall goal of expediting the development of the companys technology, and demonstrating the practical benefits of quantum computing for users and customers by the end of 2022.

We are thrilled by the recognition and support that we are receiving from SDTC for the development of our technology. We firmly believe that our unique, photonic-based approach to quantum computing will deliver both valuable insights and tangible environmental benefits for our customers and partners, said Christian Weedbrook, CEO of Xanadu.

About Xanadu

Xanadu is a photonic quantum hardware company. We build integrated photonic chips that can be used in quantum computing, communication and sensing systems. The companys mission is to build quantum computers that are useful and available to people everywhere, visit http://www.xanadu.aior follow us on Twitter@XanaduAI.

About SDTC

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is a foundation created by the Government ofCanadato advance clean technology innovation inCanada by funding and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises developing and demonstrating clean technology solutions. Follow Sustainable Development Technology Canada on Twitter: @SDTC

Source: Xanadu

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Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology - HPCwire

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‘How can we compete with Google?’: the battle to train quantum coders – The Guardian

There is a laboratory deep within University College London (UCL) that looks like a cross between a rebel base in Star Wars and a scene imagined by Jules Verne. Hidden within the miles of cables, blinking electronic equipment and screens is a gold-coloured contraption known as a dilution refrigerator. Its job is to chill the highly sensitive equipment needed to build a quantum computer to close to absolute zero, the coldest temperature in the known universe.

Standing around the refrigerator are students from Germany, Spain and China, who are studying to become members of an elite profession that has never existed before: quantum engineering. These scientists take the developments in quantum mechanics over the past century and turn them into revolutionary real-world applications in, for example, artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, cryptography and medicine.

The problem is that there is now what analysts call a quantum bottleneck. Owing to the fast growth of the industry, not enough quantum engineers are being trained in the UK or globally to meet expected demand. This skills shortage has been identified as a crucial challenge and will, if unaddressed, threaten Britains position as one of the worlds top centres for quantum technologies.

The lack of access to a pipeline of talent will pose an existential threat to our company, and others like it, says James Palles-Dimmock, commercial director of London- and Oxford-based startup Quantum Motion. You are not going to make a quantum computer with 1,000 average people you need 10 to 100 incredibly good people, and thatll be the case for everybody worldwide, so access to the best talent is going to define which companies succeed and which fail.

This doesnt just matter to niche companies; it affects everyone. If the UK is to remain at the leading edge of the world economy then it has to compete with the leading technological and scientific developments, warns Professor Paul Warburton, director of the CDT in Delivering Quantum Technologies. This is the only way we can maintain our standard of living.

This quantum bottleneck is only going to grow more acute. Data is scarce, but according to research by the Quantum Computing Report and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on one day in June 2016 there were just 35 vacancies worldwide for commercial quantum companies advertised. By December, that figure had leapt to 283.

In the UK, Quantum Motion estimates that the industry will need another 150200 quantum engineers over the next 18 months. In contrast, Bristol Universitys centre for doctoral training produces about 10 qualified engineers each year.

In the recent past, quantum engineers would have studied for their PhDs in small groups inside much larger physics departments. Now there are interdisciplinary centres for doctoral training at UCL and Bristol University, where graduates in such subjects as maths, engineering and computer science, as well as physics, work together. As many of the students come with limited experience of quantum technologies, the first year of their four-year course is a compulsory introduction to the subject.

Rather than work with three or four people inside a large physics department its really great to be working with lots of people all on quantum, whether they are computer scientists or engineers. They have a high level of knowledge of the same problems, but a different way of thinking about them because of their different backgrounds, says Bristol student Naomi Solomons.

While Solomons is fortunate to study on an interdisciplinary course, these are few and far between in the UK. We are still overwhelmingly recruiting physicists, says Paul Warburton. We really need to massively increase the number of PhD students from outside the physics domain to really transform this sector.

The second problem, according to Warburton, is competition with the US. Anyone who graduates with a PhD in quantum technologies in this country is well sought after in the USA. The risk of lucrative US companies poaching UK talent is considerable. How can we compete with Google or D-Wave if it does get into an arms race? says Palles-Dimmock. They can chuck $300,000-$400,000 at people to make sure they have the engineers they want.

There are parallels with the fast growth of AI. In 2015, Ubers move to gut Carnegie Mellon Universitys world-leading robotics lab of nearly all its staff (about 50 in total) to help it build autonomous cars showed what can happen when a shortage of engineers causes a bottleneck.

Worryingly, Doug Finke, managing editor at Quantum Computing Report, has spotted a similar pattern emerging in the quantum industry today. The large expansion of quantum computing in the commercial space has encouraged a number of academics to leave academia and join a company, and this may create some shortages of professors to teach the next generation of students, he says.

More needs to be done to significantly increase the flow of engineers. One way is through diversity: Bristol has just held its first women in quantum event with a view to increasing its number of female students above the current 20%.

Another option is to create different levels of quantum engineers. A masters degree or a four-year dedicated undergraduate degree could be the way to mass-produce engineers because industry players often dont need a PhD-trained individual, says Turner. But I think you would be training more a kind of foot soldier than an industry leader.

One potential roadblock could be growing threats to the free movement of ideas and people. Nations seem to be starting to get a bit protective about what theyre doing, says Prof John Morton, founding director of Quantum Motion. [They] are often using concocted reasons of national security to justify retaining a commercial advantage for their own companies.

Warburton says he has especially seen this in the US. This reinforces the need for the UK to train its own quantum engineers. We cant rely on getting our technology from other nations. We need to have our own quantum technology capability.

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'How can we compete with Google?': the battle to train quantum coders - The Guardian

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Quantum Computing and Israel’s Growing Tech Role | Sam Bocetta – The Times of Israel

Its time to adjust to a world that is changing from the digital landscape that we have grown accustomed to. Traditional computing is evolving as quantum computing takes center stage.

Traditional computing uses the binary system, a digital language made up of strings of 1s and 0s. Quantum computing is a nonbinary system that uses the qubit which has the ability to exist as both 1 and 0 simultaneously, giving it a near-infinite number of positions and combinations. This computational ability far exceeds any other similar technology on the market today.

This new technology threatens to outpace our efforts in cyber defense and poses an interesting challenge to VPN companies, web hosts, and other similar industries that rely on traditional methods of standard encryption.

While leading tech giants all over the globe continue to implement funding that pours hundreds of billions of dollars into their R&D programs for quantum computing, Israel is quick to recognize the importance of the emerging industry. The Startup Nations engineers can be found toiling away in the fight to be at the frontier of the worlds next big technological innovations.

Quantum computing provides unmatched efficiency at analyzing data. To understand the scope of it, consider the aforementioned classical computing style that encodes information in binary. Picture a string of 1s and 0s about 30 digits long. This string alone has almost one billion different combinations. A classical computer can only analyze each possibility one at a time. However, a quantum computer, thanks to a phenomenon known as superposition, can exist in each one of those billion states simultaneously. To match this unparalleled computing power, our classical computer would need 1 billion processors.

Consider how much time we spend using applications on the internet. Our data is constantly being stored, usually in large data centers far from us thanks to the ability of cloud computing, which allows information to be stored at data centers and analyzed at a great distance from the user.

Tech ventures, such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS, compete for the newest developments in this technology knowing the positive effects it has on the web users experience, such as access to the fastest response times, speedy data transfer, and the most powerful processing capabilities for AI.

Quantum computing has future applications in almost every facet of civilian life imaginable, including pharmaceuticals, energy, space, and more. Quantum computers could offer scientists the ability to work up close with virtual models unlike any theyve had before, with the ability to analyze anything from complex chemical reactions to quantum systems. AI, the technology claiming to rival electricity in importance and implementation, is the ideal candidate for quantum computing due to it often requiring complex software too challenging for current systems.

Really, the world is quantum computings oyster.

The next Silicon Valley happens to be on the other side of the world from California. Israel has gained the attention of major players in the tech sector, including giants such as Intel, Amazon, Google, and Nvidia. The Startup Nation got its nickname due to a large number of startups compared to the population, with approximately 1 startup for every 1,400 residents. In a list of the top 50 global cities for the growing tech industry, Tel Aviv, Israel comes in at #15. Israel is wrapping up the year of 2019 with an astonishing 102% jump in the number of tech mergers and acquisitions as compared to the previous year, with no signs of slowing down.

Habana Labs and Annapurna Labs, both created by entrepreneur Avigdor Willenz, were recently acquired by Intel and Amazon respectively to further their development in the realm of quantum computing and more powerful processors. Google, Nvidia, Marvell, Huawei, Broadcom, and Cisco have also invested billions of capital into Israeli prospects.

One of Googles R&D centers located in Tel Aviv is actively heading the research on quantum computing. Just this year Google announced a major breakthrough that made other tech giants pick up the pace. They hinted at a computer chip that, with the power of quantum computing, was able to manage and analyze in one second the amount of data that would take a full day for any supercomputer.

While Israel is reaping the benefits of its current exposure thanks to big tech firms, an anonymous source is skeptical about the long-term success of Israels foray into the tech world without the increased education and government support to keep up with the demand. Similar to other parts of the world, Israel has a shortage of the necessary engineers to drive development.

Recognizing the need to act fast, in 2017 Professor Uri Sivan of the Technicon Israel Institute of Technology led a committee dedicated to documenting the strengths and weaknesses of the current state of Israels investment in quantum technology research and development. What the committee found was a lag in educational efforts and a need for more funding to keep pace with the fast growth of the industry.

In response to this need for funding, in 2018 Israels Defense Ministry and the Israel Science Foundation announced a multi-year fund that would dedicate in total $100 million to the research of quantum technologies in hopes that this secures Israels global position as a top contributor to new technologies.

Classic cryptography relies on the symbiotic relationship between a public-key, a private key, and a classical computers inability to reverse-engineer the private key to decrypt sensitive data. While the algorithms used thus far have proved too complex for classical computing, they are no match for the quantum computer.

Organizations are recognizing this potential crisis and jumping to find a solution. The National Institute for the Standards of Technology requested potential postquantum algorithms in 2016. IBM recently announced its own system for handling quantum encryption methods, known as CRYSTALS.

Current encryption methods are the walls in place that guard our personal information, from bank records and personal documents stored online to any data sent via the web, such as emails.

Just about any user with access to the web on a regular basis can benefit from the security that a VPN offers. A VPN not only protects the identity of your IP address but also secures sensitive data that we are wont to throw into the world wide web. To understand how this works, consider the concept of a tunnel. Your data is shifted through this VPN virtual tunnel that acts as a barrier to unwanted attacks and hackers. Now, this tunnel exists using standard encryption to hide your data. Quantum computing abilities, as they become more accessible and widespread, is going to essentially destroy any effectiveness provided by industries that rely on standard encryption.

Outside of the usual surfing and data-exposing that we do on the web, lots of us are also taking advantage of opportunities to create our own websites. However, even the best web hosts leave us high and dry with the new age of quantum computing abilities and the influx of spyware and malware. WordPress, one of the more popular web hosts, can easily fall vulnerable to SQL injections, cross-site scripting attacks, and cookie hijacking. The encryptions that can be used to prevent such attacks are, you guessed it, hopeless in the face of quantum technologies.

The current state of modern technology is unsurprisingly complex and requires cybersecurity professionals with strong problem-solving skills and creativity to abate the potential threats well be facing within the next decade. In order to stay ahead of the game and guarantee an effective solution for web-users, top VPN companies and web-hosts need to invest in the research necessary to find alternatives for standard encryption. ExpressVPN has taken it a step further with a kill switch if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly and also offers VPN tunneling.

The ability for constant advancements in any field related to science and technology is what makes our world interesting. Decades ago, the abilities afforded by quantum computing would have sounded like an idea only contingent within an Isaac Asimov novel.

The reality of it is that quantum computing has arrived and science waits for no one. Professionals across digital industries need to shift their paradigms in order to account for this young technology that promises to remap the world as we know it.

Israel is full to the brim with potential and now is the time to invest resources and encourage education to bridge the gap and continue to be a major player in the global economy of quantum computing.

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Quantum Computing and Israel's Growing Tech Role | Sam Bocetta - The Times of Israel

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