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IQT Fall speakers talk quantum on NPR

By Dan O'Shea posted 01 Dec 2022

Quantum computing is moving more into the public eye. That much is clear from recent media coverage, including a Barron’s article directed at quantum stock watchers, and a five-minute story that aired this week on National Public Radio. 

The NPR story alluded to a recent “conference in New York City all about how quantum computing relates to cybersecurity.” Though it didn’t identify IQT’s Fall Quantum Cybersecurity event by name, the shoe fits, so we’ll take some credit for what follows. And what follows are comments from ColdQuanta executives Robert Sutor and Laura Thomas, NIST’s Dustin Moody, and Ann Cox from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), all of whom spoke at the conference, as well as conference attendee Arash Fereidouni, application scientist with Zurich Instruments USA.

What all of them do in the NPR piece, at least in the limited airtime afforded to their sound-bites,  is contribute a little more to the public understanding of what quantum computing is, and hint at why it will be a very significant technology field in the years to come. The story also mentions the security threat that quantum computers pose and what parties like NIST and the DHS are trying to do about that.

Increasing awareness is always a good thing. It puts the quantum computing sector into a great position to explain its value and broaden its commercial prospects, but it also puts it in the precarious position of having to explain itself over and over and over again. It is not easy to explain or understand, and some general media coverage over the last year has tilted between disbelief and fear, either focusing on the threat factor without discussing how the industry is addressing it or dismissing quantum computing as a series of very expensive science experiments with no near-term revenue potential. 

That is a lot of ground to cover, and NPR can’t do it in five minutes, nor does it try, but the story does strike the right tone, one of genuine curiosity that should give listeners a solid place to begin their education and understanding of what the sector really is up to.

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

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