What is Quantum computing?

Quantum computing works on something called qubits, where is a regular computer is guided by bits. The difference is that while a bit can only represent a one or zero, a qubit can represent a one, zero or both at the same time. This key ability makes quantum computers extremely powerful compared to conventional computers. In layman’s terms, quantum computing could resolve problems that may take thousands of years for conventional systems to work out.

A quantum computer is to a traditional computer what a light bulb is to a candle. Quantum computers, if and when they become viable, will solve in seconds problems traditional machines take thousands or millions of years to solve. The exciting news is that the era of quantum computers may not be too far.

Scientists at Google claimed they attained “quantum supremacy”. A term used to state that a quantum computer has solved a challenging problem a traditional computer would take thousands of years to resolve.

Google’s Sycamore computer attained quantum supremacy when it generated a random set of numbers that the fastest supercomputer in the world would take ten thousand years to produce. The era of quantum computing may be dawning. The potential of such computers is nearly limitless. Their possible creation begs the question of whether careers in quantum computing are viable.

Why is India Investing in Quantum Computing Research?

The Indian Government in its recent budget announced its plans to invest $1.12 billion in quantum computing research over the next five years.

Quantum technology is seen as the next step to make computers both faster and smarter. It is already laying the foundation for unbreakable codes, computers that can crunch numbers at an incredible rate, and super-speedy database searches. Such functionalities will also be important to deploy artificial intelligence at a larger scale.

Quantum technology is clearly the future, but how can it make our lives better? Quantum technology could spur the development of new breakthroughs in science, for example, medications to save lives, machine learning methods to diagnose illness sooner, new more efficient materials, and algorithms to quickly direct resources such as ambulances.

For a long time, the potential for quantum-related research was not really recognized in India. Yet, last year the Department of Science & Technology (DST), set up a research project named Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST), with ?80 crores ($11.2 million) in funding, at an institute in Hyderabad.

India’s new quantum mission, to be administered by DST, is a considerable increase in past commitments. The funding boost will ensure that India can make significant contributions to these disruptive technologies. The new mission will coordinate the work of scientists, industry leaders and government departments. One aim is to develop a 50-qubit computer within 4-5 years. This is ambitious but certainly achievable given the strengths of the Indian ICT sector. What may work in India’s favour is forging partnerships with like-minded countries to make progress.

Aerospace engineering, numerical weather prediction, secure communications, cryptography, financial transactions, cyber security, advanced manufacturing, health, and agriculture are examples of sectors where India would like to spearhead scientific breakthroughs and boost quantum technology-led economic growth.

The European Commission, US, China, Japan, Germany and Canada have all announced ambitious schemes to boost quantum computing programs.

In Sweden, Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology was launched in 2018. It’s a ten-year 1 billion SEK initiative to bring Swedish research and industry to the front of the second quantum revolution. The aim of the initiative is to build a 100-qubit superconducting quantum computer, thereby establishing long-term cutting-edge expertise in this field. The Centre is a coordinated effort by Chalmers University of Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Lund University, with support from Stockholm University and Linköping University.

It is obvious that quantum technology will transform several sectors from cryptography to healthcare to many others not yet foreseen. By focusing on the long-term collaboration between Sweden and India in quantum computing and by attracting the best young researchers (including from India) to Sweden, we can put Sweden on the quantum technology map in the long term.

Who has the fastest quantum computer in the world?

Quantum Computing

China

China’s quantum supremacy reigns supreme. A team of Chinese scientists has developed the most powerful quantum computer in the world, capable of performing at least one task 100 trillion times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputers.

The U.S. has been the front-runner of the world in various technologies, but in quantum technology, China is taking the lead.

How fast is quantum computing?

In 200 seconds, the machine performed a mathematically designed calculation so complex that it would take the world’s most powerful supercomputer, IBM’s Summit, 10,000 years to do it. This makes Google’s quantum computer about 158 million times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer.

Is India working on quantum computing?

India Inc’s deal activity up 3% to $13.2 billion in July

The Indian government had announced a Rs 8,000 crore National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications in the Union Budget last year. The government aims to spend the funds between 2020 and 2025 to build quantum technologies in India.

Which IIT is best for quantum computing?

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras is all set to collaborate with IBM on quantum computing education and research. As a part of the collaboration, IIT Madras faculty, researchers and students will get access to IBM’s quantum systems and tools over IBM Cloud.

Where can I study quantum computing in India?

Through IBM’s Quantum Educator Programme, the company will join hands with the faculty and students of Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER) – Pune, IISER – Thiruvananthapuram, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Jodhpur, IIT – Kanpur, IIT – Kharagpur, IIT – ………
Tech giant IBM on Tuesday announced it will offer top colleges in India over-the-cloud access to its quantum systems. This includes faculty and students from the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER) – Pune, IISER – Thiruvananthapuram, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) – Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Jodhpur, IIT – Kanpur, IIT – Kharagpur, IIT – Madras, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) – Kolkata, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) – Delhi, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) – Mumbai, and the University of Calcutta, who will be able to access IBM’s quantum resources over the cloud.

The collaborations are part of IBM’s global Quantum Educators programme, which allows colleges access to some of its premium quantum systems, which aren’t included in its open-sourced systems. It also allows them to gain priority in the open systems, giving them a larger amount of time on the quantum computers. The company has over 130 organisations of the IBM Quantum Network, which includes academia, corporates, research labs and startups.

The company said IISER – Thiruvananthapuram, ISI – Kolkata, and IIT Madras will use the partnership to offer Quantum Computing Lab courses to their undergraduate and postgraduate students.

According to an announcement by the company in December, over 1,100 participants had registered for Qiskit Challenge India, a skill-building programme meant for those interested in Quantum Computing. “Today, there are 1,400 students trained on Qiskit in India, in addition to Qiskit Advocates, who are actively assisting and contributing to the Qiskit community,” the company said at the time.

The Indian government had announced a Rs 8,000 crore National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications in the Union Budget last year. The government aims to spend the funds between 2020 and 2025 to build quantum technologies in India.

“The areas of focus for the Mission will be in fundamental science, translation, technology development, human and infrastructural resource generation, innovation and start-ups to address issues concerning national priorities,” the Department of Science and Technology had said last year.

What is the scope for quantum computing?

A particularly important application of quantum computers might be to simulate and analyze molecules for drug development and materials design. A quantum computer is uniquely suited for such tasks because it would operate on the same laws of quantum physics as the molecules it is simulating.

Career scope

Today quantum computers are being built by a handful of leading technology companies, including Google, IBM, and Amazon. Smaller companies like Rigetti and D-Wave are also trying to create the world’s first quantum computer to solve real-world problems. Today, besides Google’s Sycamore computer, which still cannot solve practical problems, there is no working quantum computer. But leading companies are betting big on the technology. They believe quantum computers will be the most significant technology of the century.

Students interested in careers in quantum computing have to be exceptionally bright. Unlike a traditional computer science course which is well structured and points to a well-defined career path, a job in quantum computing, like quantum mechanics, is filled with uncertainty. And while quantum computers, should they become a reality, hold enormous potential, some experts question whether a working quantum computer can ever be built.

What challenges do quantum computers solve?

There is no working quantum computer as yet. Today even experts in the field say that interpreting the results produced by quantum computers is difficult. Also telling a quantum computer what to compute for is a huge challenge.

But many are striving to create a quantum computer because the difference between it and traditional supercomputers is so vast that calling a quantum computer a “computer” may be a misnomer. The technology will be as much more sophisticated than the world’s fastest supercomputer as supercomputers are from the abacus. Should a working quantum computer be created, it will solve a dazzling array of problems.

For instance, a quantum computer will make portfolio managers redundant. The technology is powerful enough to give precise second-by-second stock price movements. Such power means portfolio managers who don’t use quantum computers, will be obsolete.

The implications of receiving precise stock movements are staggering and hugely disruptive. Today a significant percentage of the global workforce is employed in the financial services industry. Their job is to predict the movement of stocks. When or if a quantum computer is created most such positions will be lost. Why would leading investment firms pay people to predict where the market is going when a computer can tell precisely how the market will behave?

Another awesome power of quantum computers is they will be able to accurately model and predict how a drug molecule will react inside the human body. For drug companies, they are the Holy Grail. Pharmaceutical companies will be able to model precisely the effects of a new drug. By doing so, they will save billions, if not more, on expensive research and development and testing.

Careers in Quantum Computing:

The power of the first working quantum computer will exceed that of today’s fastest supercomputer. Quantum computers will revolutionise life on earth. And it would be imprudent to discard them as fanciful and impractical.
When over the next few decades, a few quantum computers are built, the world’ job market will be dramatically disrupted. There will however be a growing need for exceptionally bright scientists and engineers who can programme a quantum computer and interpret their output. Such individuals will be the equivalent of modern-day oracles who can predict where the economy is heading and how millions can be cured of fatal illnesses. As seers of a new age, they will be well paid and enjoy an excellent social cache. It is highly plausible that such jobs are just a few decades away.

Research in Raman Research Institute,Bangalore, India.

Quantum Communication
Photons are massless, chargeless particles and as such perfect for communication purposes. Our lab is now poised to take a giant leap forward in contributing towards national and international efforts on absolute security through our new and existing projects on quantum communication which aims to develop both terrestrial and satellite-based technologies. We currently have three ongoing projects in this area with more to come in the near future:

i. Quantum Experiments using Satellite Technology (QuEST) in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

ii. Project on integrated photonics-based experimental quantum key distribution which is a bilateral collaboration with Italy under the India Trento Programme on Advanced Research (ITPAR) grant.

iii. Project on long-distance quantum communications under the DST network programme on quantum technologies “Quantum Enabled Science and Technology”.

iv. Project on quantum random number generation and long-distance quantum teleportation under the Centre for Excellence in Quantum Technology.

• Quantum Computation

Besides, quantum communication with photons, our lab focuses on quantum computation using the technology of single and entangled photon sources based on spontaneous parametric down-conversion in bulk non-linear crystals. We use single photons and their various degrees of freedom to investigate the various aspects of quantum computation. Current aspects of such an investigation involve the study of qudits leading into higher dimensional quantum computing based on novel spatial degrees of freedom of a single photon.

• Quantum Optics

Quantum Optics describes the study of light and its interactions at a microscopic/quantum level. Single photons are the quantum particles of light. Our lab specialises in the manufacture of single and entangled photons which are then used for quantum optics research at the fundamental level. As a group, we are very interested in investigating Quantum Optical effects and phenomena, by pushing boundaries and extending known effects into the unknown realms. We study different effects like Hanbury-Brown-Twiss Interferometry, Hong-Ou-Mandel Effect as well as intricately nested interferometry using Mach Zehnder and Sagnac geometries, for instance, to understand properties of different types of light with very high accuracy. Our work in pure quantum optics deals with experimental as well as theoretical investigations at very high precision levels, enabling many firsts in terms of discoveries.

• Quantum Fundamentals and Quantum Information Processing

Quantum mechanics is a cornerstone of modern physics. Just as the 19th century was called the Machine Age and the 20th century the Information Age, the 21st century promises to go down in history as the Quantum Age. However, can we really claim to fully understand quantum mechanical principles? How much do we really believe in what we know? Answers to such questions require us to revisit the fundamental postulates of quantum mechanics and perform precise theoretical and experimental investigations, in order to come up with the right bounds. In our group, a part of our focus is to attempt such investigations using single light particles i.e. single photons as our tool. Such tests carry a lot of importance in the state-of-the-art theoretical physics scenario where a lot of importance is being given to the unification of quantum mechanics and general relativity. Such unification attempts would also be benefited if one can have a more precise understanding of the principles involved in at least one of the theories i.e. quantum mechanics. Our investigations in this direction include studies of Entanglement dynamics, superposition principle and higher-order interference effects as well as weak interaction and quantum measurements.

Grants received:

i. Templeton Foundation, USA (2015 – 2018)
ii. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India (2018 -)
iii. India Trento Programme on Advanced Research (ITPAR), DST, India (2019 -)
iv. Quantum Enabled Science and Technology (QuEST), DST, India (2019 -)
v. Centre for Excellence in Quantum Technology, MEITY (2020 -)

Quantum computing the future, traditional computing based on semiconductors drawing to a close

Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar, while launching the quantum computing simulator QSim, said quantum computing will address the future requirements of computing.

The government on 27th august, 2021,launched a simulator to facilitate research and hardware design for quantum computing that is expected to have exponentially higher computing capacity compared to the traditional computers available at present. Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar, while launching the quantum computing simulator QSim, said quantum computing will address the future requirements of computing.

We are coming to the era where the traditional computing power growth through the traditional means of silicon and semiconductor is now drawing to a close.”

“We are now going to see the next generation of computing power growth come from a combination of new software, new architectures and overall system redesign and new systems paradigm and that is where quantum computing comes in and is clearly going to be at the cutting edge of future demands of computing power. Qsim is a gateway for Indians and Indian scientists to take us in that direction,” he said.

At present, there is no quantum computer available for commercial deployment and the technology is at the development stage.

QSim has been jointly developed by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Centre for Development of Advanced Computing and IIT Roorkee, based on IBM’s open-source framework.

Users of QSim can access it online where they can learn as well as run quantum computing experiments.

“Qsim is a result of the collaborative effort of research and development which in my way is the way we must grow our technical capabilities. We have a tremendous amount of talent in this country.

“Future of our nation’s technology capability success will be driven to a large extent by how effectively we work in a collaborative manner and pick and assemble best minds from across the country to create and own these technologies,” Chandrasekhar said.

The government has provided an outlay of Rs 8,000 crore for developing quantum computing linked technologies under the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications.

The QSim platform will be accessible for students, researchers, startups and industries to help design better hardware for advanced research for quantum computing and stimulate them on supercomputers ParamShavak and Param Siddhi AI.

“Quantum simulators are still on conventional computers. It is a way to simulate that environment and help people get acquainted with it and allow them to experiment on various aspects.”

“It’s a wonderful entry not just within India but it’s a wonderful entry on quantum stimulators when you look across the globe. This in a way is a very initial step,” Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Secretary Ajay PrakahsSawhney said.

IISc has rolled out a Masters in Technology in quantum technology to build human resource capability in the country.

 Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched the India’s first ‘Quantum Computer Simulator (QSim) Toolkit’.

Qsim

Key Points

• QSim is the first-of-its-kind toolkit, indigenously developed in India.
• It meant to be a vital tool of learning and understanding the practical aspects of programming with the help of Quantum Computers. It will thus bring about a new era of Quantum Computing research in India.
• This toolkit has been developed jointly by scientists of IIT Roorkee, C-DAC and IISc Bangalore.
• It was developed with the support and funding of MeitY.
About the toolkit
• This toolkit was launched in order to enable researchers and students to do research in Quantum Computing in a cost-effective manner.
• It allows researchers and students to write and debug Quantum Code which is essential to develop Quantum Algorithms.
• It can serve as the essential educational and research tool to provide an excellent way to attract students and researchers towards the Quantum Technology.
• QSim creates a platform which will helps students and users to acquire skills of programming and designing real Quantum Hardware.

Key features of the QSim

Most unique feature of QSim is its Intuitive User Interface. This interface offers a robust Quantum Computer Simulator along with a Graphical User Interface based Workbench in an integrated manner in order to create Quantum programs and visualize instant circuit generation simulated outputs.

Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing perform a variety of tasks in a faster manner and efficiently than present-day computers by utilizing the power of Quantum Mechanics. It is used in the fields of cryptography, machine learning, and computational chemistry.

Govt launches QSim to aid quantum computing research in India

Quantum Simulators are devices that allow scientists to study quantum effects, which are otherwise difficult to study in a lab.

Quantum noise is programmed into simulators so that they can better represent practical equipment, where errors may occur because of the actual physical circuitry, temperature

The Indian government launched a Quantum Simulator (QSim) which will allow developers, scientists, and students to research advancements in quantum computing in the country.

Quantum Simulators are devices that allow scientists to study quantum effects, which are otherwise difficult to study in a lab. They are important tools for developing and debugging quantum algorithms.

The QSim platform is built by the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bengaluru, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). The platform will not require researchers to install any software on their devices. They can sign into it from any browser using qctoolkit.com. The simulation will be done using computing resources from C-DAC’s high-performance computers, like PARAM Shavak and PARAM Siddhi. Quantum algorithms like Deutsch-Jozsa etc. are also built into the platform.

“The simulator is a software library that simulates quantum computation on our classical computers,” said Professor GovindanRangarajan, Director, IISc. “The novelty of this simulator is that it includes various types of errors that can occur in a realistic practical device, while other available simulators, including ones from Google, IBM and Amazon, only simulate quantum systems that have no errors,” he claimed.

Qubits, or quantum bits, are the quantum computing analogue of classical computer bits. They form the basic information in quantum computing. It can handle up to 10-12 qubits on laptops and about 50 qubits on larger workstations. Tech giant Google had announced a similar QSim in December last year, which allows researchers to simulate 30 qubits on a laptop and up to 40 qubits on the Google Cloud. Quantum noise is programmed into simulators so that they can better represent practical equipment, where errors may occur because of the actual physical circuitry, temperature etc.

Quantum computing has been an area of focus for the government since 2020. “We are coming to an era where the traditional computing power growth, through the traditional means of silicon and semiconductor power is drawing to a close. We’re not going to see the next generation of computing power growth come from a combination of software, new architectures and an overall system redesign and paradigm,” said Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Minister of State (MoS) for Electronics and IT. “That is where Quantum Computing comes in and is clearly going to be at the cutting edge of future demands of computing power. QSim is a gateway for Indian scientists to take us in that direction,” he added.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had proposed an outlay of ?8000 crore over a period of five years for the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had also announced a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) earlier, to develop a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in the country, meant to provide access to quantum computing development environments to developers, academics etc.

Quantum computing startup Quantum Machines raises $50M

Quantum Machines, a company that’s setting out to “bring about useful quantum computers,” has raised $50 million in a series B round of funding as it looks to fund expansion into quantum cloud computing.
Founded out of Tel Aviv in 2018, Quantum Machines last year formally launched its Quantum Orchestration Platform, pitched as an extensive hardware and software platform for “performing the most complex quantum algorithms and experiments” and taking quantum computing to the next level by making it more practical and accessible.

Based on principles from quantum mechanics, quantum computing is concerned with quantum bits (qubits) rather than atoms. While still in its relative infancy, quantum computing promises to revolutionize computation by performing in seconds complex calculations that would take the supercomputers of today years or longer. The societal and business implications of this are huge and could expedite new drug discoveries or enhance global logistics in the shipping industry to optimize routes and reduce carbon footprints.

Quantum Machines is focused on developing a new approach to controlling and operating quantum processors.
“Quantum processors hold the potential for immense computational power, far beyond those of any classical processor we could ever develop, and they will impact each and every aspect of our lives,” Quantum Machines CEO Dr.Itamar Sivan said.

Quantum leap

Venture capital (VC) investments in quantum computing have been relatively modest, but Ionq became the first such company to go public via a SPAC merger in March. And a few months back, PsiQuantum closed a $450 million round of funding to develop the first “commercially viable” quantum computer, with big-name backers that included BlackRock and Microsoft’s M12 venture fund. Microsoft also launched its Azure Quantum cloud computing service, which it first announced back in 2019, in public preview.

So quantum computing appears to be gaining momentum, as evidenced by Quantum Machines’ latest raise. The company had previously raised $23 million, including a $17.5 million series A from last year, and its series B round was led by Red Dot Capital Partners, with the participation from Samsung Next, Battery Ventures, Valor Equity Partners, Exor, Claridge Israel, Atreides Management LP, TLV Partners, and 2i Ventures, among others.
The company said it plans to use its fresh capital to help implement an “effective cloud infrastructure for quantum computers.”

References:
• https://www.gktoday.in/current-affairs/qsim-indias-first-quantum-computer-simulator-toolkit/

• https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/quantum-computing-the-future-traditional-computing-based-on-semiconductors-drawing-to-a-close-mos-it/85707780

• https://www.livemint.com/technology/tech-news/govt-launches-qsim-to-aid-quantum-computing-research-in-india-11630066951929.html

• http://www.rri.res.in/quic/research.php

• https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com › Education › New

• https://www.ijert.org › impact-of-quantum-computing

• https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jobs-careers/are-careers-in-quantum-computing

• Science & Technology, Current Affairs, August, 2021

• Office of Science and Innovation, New Delhi, February 24, 2020

• https://venturebeat.com/2021/09/06/quantum-computing-startup-quantum-machines-raises-50m/

Prof.(Dr.) Lakshmi Prasad Saikia

Professor in CSE Department.             

GIMT-Guwahati (ASTU)

Email: lp_saikia@yahoo.co.in /lps_cse@gimt-guwahati.ac.in

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