Comprehensive coverage

Should we worry about quantum computers?

It will take at least a decade for general quantum computers to be built, but the technology involves such a disruptive paradigm shift in computing that sensible developers should start testing quantum computers now

Don't be afraid of the future. From Jumpstory
Don't be afraid of the future. From Jumpstory

Quantum computers are one of those technologies that are easy to dismiss on the grounds that they are too "out there" to bother us today. Even the most optimistic estimates state that practical use will be more than a decade away. But the technology involves such a disruptive paradigm shift in computing that sensible developers should start testing quantum computers now.

Discussions of quantum computers tend to focus on their potential for performance that far exceeds that of conventional computers. One of the applications that is often mentioned in this context is cryptography, specifically the cracking of data security by extracting private encryption keys from protected message traffic. The algorithms to do this are known, but they are so computationally intensive that cracking, for example, a 2048-bit RSA encryption key (widely used today to secure current Internet traffic) would take even the fastest supercomputers decades. According to the latest estimates, however, a quantum computer could crack the code in eight hours.

It is this alarming possibility—that encrypted traffic once considered secure well beyond the useful life of the protected information may be at risk—that created so much excitement around quantum computers in the first place. But code cracking isn't the only application where the technology promises disruptive breakthroughs, and these other possibilities have created additional interest. Medicine, materials science, molecular biology and financial applications, all these fields are investigating what quantum computers can do for them. And the matter is growing.

In 2018, the US government enacted the National Quantum Initiative Act, created a National Quantum Coordination Office and allocated $1.2 billion to fund quantum information science activities over the next five years. The European Union has also approved funding of up to one billion euros for a quantum master plan. And China is investing a lot to surpass American quantum technology.

Quantum computers are already working, but for now they are too simple to outperform ordinary computers (a milestone known as quantum supremacy). IBM made its Q System One computer available for commercial experiments and research and established a network of partners such as Exxon/Mobil to promote the nascent industry. D-wave, Regetti and several other companies give access to working quantum computers. Google has a quantum artificial intelligence research activity, as does Intel, and Microsoft has created its own quantum network that includes software and hardware vendors to advance the technology.

So this is still the early period of the technology and many years before it leaves the field of research for practical application. But it is still important that industries start to investigate the use of this technology today. This early start is necessary because quantum computers are not only faster computers, they are dramatically different from ordinary computers in the way they solve problems. Developers will need the time to familiarize themselves with the new approach and be ready to use quantum computers as soon as they are ready.

A traditional computer achieves its results by following a sequence of steps, called an algorithm, as it performs calculations. If it is looking for a value that optimizes or satisfies some complex equation, for example, a traditional computer must algorithmically examine, one by one, all possible choices. But a quantum computer actually considers all possible answers simultaneously using the properties of entanglement and superposition quantum mechanics.

To use quantum computers, the programmer specifies a series of quantum gates that determine the conditions that define the problem that needs to be solved. This array of quantum gates exploits the probability and wave-interference properties of the quantum computer's bits (called qubits) to change an input vector so that the output vector represents a plausible answer to the problem. But one run does not provide certainty about its result, but only a high probability that it is correct. By performing many such experiments, the quantum computer can raise this probability to as close to certainty as desired. And although many runs are needed to produce an accurate result, the total computation time can be significantly less than the algorithmic approach if the quantum computer has enough qubits in operation. This approach is so different from conventional computers that current expertise in computers and programming would be virtually inapplicable to quantum computers. Developers will have to start from scratch to learn quantum computers. The time to start building expertise in quantum computers is, therefore, now.

The EETIMES website and other websites belonging to the Aspencore Networks company have published The special project of a series of articles on quantum computers To help give managers that early advantage. in the manualThe basics of quantum computersThe company's experts provide insights into how quantum computers work and where you can gain some experience with them. "What's next for quantum computers?” allows a glimpse of the current trends in the development of technology. "Power Supply Management in Quantum Computers" examines the issues inherent in operating these exotic devices. Finally, the editors of the series ask whether we will need a "supercomputer" on our desk, in order to investigate the business reasons for adopting the technology.

Quantum technology - lines to its image

"We are in the transition phase from quantum science to quantum technology," said Tal David, director of the National Program for Quantum Science and Technologies, at the high-tech ambassadors event that took place in early March, just before the corona virus in Herzliya

"We are in the transition phase from quantum science to quantum technology," said Dr. Tal David, the newly appointed director of the National Program for Quantum Science and Technology at the high-tech ambassadors event, which took place in early March 2020 in Herzliya. "My job is to concentrate Israel's activity in fields related to quantum technologies, which today is distributed in many government bodies, so that we reach a common starting point," David said.

"The term quantum technology means to take the basic aspects of quantum physics and the subject of superposition (the ability of a system to be in several states between 0 and 1 at the same time AB), and to use areas where its performance exceeds those that do not use physics the quanta. There is an international race in the field of quantum technology. We only recently heard about India, which established a similar project to promote quantum technology, and this joins other programs, such as the European flagship program that is planned to revolutionize the field over a decade. And not only countries, but also large companies such as IBM, Google and Amazon, which build quantum computers, as well as companies that build quantum communication systems or quantum cryptography."

"We see that the quantum technologies are in three areas of application. The first of them is metallurgy and precision measurement. The field in the second is quantum computing and communication, and recently we hear about other fields, such as quantum verification and quantum internet", he said.

"Israel has advantages in the ecosystem of quantum technology: an academic and technological infrastructure that has been built here for years - most universities in Israel have leading departments on the quantum subject, and this is a multidisciplinary academy that combines physics, engineering and computer science. In the industry, there are multinational R&D centers here with relevant capabilities, such as IBM's R&D center, alongside Israeli companies such as Mellanox, Acubit, Quantum Machines and Quantum LR. In Israel, seven start-ups are active in the field today, and recently we have seen an increase in Christian start-ups. Israel will invest 360 million dollars in the field, and parts of the plan are already being implemented today."

According to him, in addition to the ties between academia and industry, the National Program for Quantum Technology seeks to develop international ties on the subject.

The quantum may allow the RSA to be cracked

Dr. Yonatan Cohen, one of the founders and VP of Technologies, Quantum Machines. Photo: Gil Lofo
Dr. Yonatan Cohen, one of the founders and VP of Technologies, Quantum Machines. Photo: Gil Lofo

Dr. Yonatan Cohen, one of the founders and CTO of Quantum Machines, gave an academic lecture to advanced students on the subject of quantum computation and computing, and explained why there is a fear of cracking the RSA problem, the security protocol on which all computing is based today.

RSA is the most widely used encryption protocol on the Internet. We all use it for information security and of course in financial transactions. The RSA is based on a very difficult mathematical problem, which makes use of long prime numbers. A normal classical computer could solve the problem, but it would take about a billion years. A quantum computer, albeit on a much larger scale than exists today, could solve the problem within an hour. Quantum computers and classical computers differ in the most fundamental aspects of the laws of nature and not just in speed. It is not about the size of the computer components or the architecture.

Cohen tells about the company he manages, noting that "the company develops the QUA programming language and the quantum orchestration system", which makes it possible to improve the performance and utilize the potential of each quantum computer and even to embed quantum computers in the cloud in an optimal way. He also added that "the system will allow the quantum components in hybrid computers to communicate with the normal components", thereby proving the benefits of Israeli multidisciplinary innovation.

Invitation to cooperate with the Netherlands

Dr. Racheli Kreisberg, CEO of the Netherlands Israel Innovation Center and the Netherlands Innovation Branch in Israel, said that the Dutch government allocated 23.5 million euros to quantum in the next 5 five years, and in the Netherlands there are R&D centers operating on the subject of quantum, including Kiotek at the Technical University Delft, working in collaboration with Microsoft and Intel. She invited the Israeli academics and entrepreneurs to integrate into the various programs of the Dutch government regarding quantum and stated: "We all need to create a critical mass of activity in the field - and the way to do this is through collaborations."
Anne-Marie Feinman, one of the founders of Vinova (Swedish Innovation Authority) and founder of Vinova Israel (the first branch outside of Sweden, out of three), said that Vinova's global budget for 2020 is 300 million dollars and includes the establishment of a physical innovation parent in Israel.
Ruthie Ader, director of Samsung's innovation center in Israel, presented Samsung's vision for the subject of the quantum revolution. The quantum revolution will solve a whole world of challenges, one of which is speeding up the process of drug development - which doubles in importance every decade! Quantum computing shortens the process and will allow turning the slowdown into a speed-up in drug development. "The physical world is based on quantum algorithms. Quantum chemistry is the racehorse that will enable simulations of complex molecules. The worlds of pharma and finance are next in line - with the help of quantum we will reach the optimization of investment portfolios and the development of new drugs. The industry itself is already aware of the revolution, just last week I sat in a meeting with an insurance company, which shows interest in the field and is interested in solutions." In light of the Corona scare, it is possible that Israel will occupy an important place in Samsung's future developments.

13 תגובות

  1. Computers where?
    Usually, any effective technological development becomes a tool to serve evil groups.
    Like ISIS exploiting the Internet. (And this is just the beginning.)
    A quantum computer if implemented-Z.A. will become a practical tool (which at this point is nothing more than a "Flash Gordon" machine)
    will become a monster in the hands of anarchist and terrorist groups.
    From my understanding of the inexhaustible processing power of the quantum computer, not even encryption will be immune.
    And with it will come the chaos and anarchy that will put an end to civilization.

  2. The link under the title "The special project of a series of articles on quantum computers" - does not work.

    It seems to me that the fact that no one commented on it before indicates the quality of the reading and the level of responses. As a suggestion - it is useful to plant such and such mines in articles on scientific topics to see who here is awake and who is writing while asleep.

  3. To my father: Spread over the whole world? I find it hard to believe that Jonathan Cohen, for example, did not refer to Google's achievement, which was the talk of the day among the relevant community for several months (those who know Scott Aaronson's blog, for example, heard about the achievement even before the official publication).

    Allow me to quote myself: "I wonder if six months after the Wright brothers' flight there was someone who forgot to mention this fact in a pseudo-scientific article about heavier-than-air aircraft."

    Anyway, here is the publication in Nature:

  4. Porat Not every time when you write about any topic you can spread it all over the world. If you have a copyright free source that can tell what Google did, please.

  5. A whole article about a quantum computer, and all you have to say about Google is "Google has a quantum artificial intelligence research activity"?

    You forgot the small matter of the first proof of quantum supremacy achieved about six months ago by Google... I wonder if six months after the flight of the Wright brothers there was someone who forgot to mention this fact as a pseudo-scientific article about aircraft heavier than air.


    It's quite sad that this is the level of the only site(?) in Hebrew that deals regularly with scientific news and is intended for the general public.

  6. The Chinese are already working on quantum security, where are the Israelis in the field?

  7. "But the technology involves such a disruptive paradigm shift in computing that sensible developers should start testing quantum computers now."
    I read the sentence 5 times and I'm still not sure I was able to understand what it says.
    What about a comma?

  8. Oded Kafri
    What do you mean they will never work? Are all the publications about thoughts that exist today a bluff? I read that they have already reached the performance of existing supercomputers. This is not true?

  9. Quantum computers will never work. FM technology is inferior to digital technology. It is enough to write articles that neither the interviewer nor the interviewee understand what they are talking about. And so it is understandable that the readers will not understand either. Whoever understands will raise a hand.

Leave a Reply

Email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismat to prevent spam messages. Click here to learn how your response data is processed.