Quantum News Briefs July 15: Quantum cities with quantum ATMs, QIS in Federal Government, MIT physicists harness quantum “time reversal” & MORE
Quantum News Briefs opens today with an overview of quantum technology initiatives mid-2022 in the US Federal government, followed by a prediction of future “quantum cities with quantum ATMs. Recent research from MIT reports on physicists manipulating quantumly entangled atoms in a way that the particles behaved as if they were evolving backward in time and MORE.
Where Is Quantum Technology Going in the Federal Government?
The U.S. budget for QIS research and development was roughly $900 million in fiscal 2022 according to federal data. That’s approximately double what the U.S. spent in this area in fiscal 2019, according to a report by the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science. Washington, DC based journalist Natalie Gross provides a look at quantum technology in the Federal setting mid-2022 in her recent article summarized here from FedTech magazine.
Much of the budget growth is for activities related to the 2018 National Quantum Initiative Act. This includes the establishment of quantum consortia by the National Institute of Standards and Technology; Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes by the National Science Foundation; National Quantum Information Science Research Centers by the Department of Energy; and the coordination and strengthening of core QIS programs across multiple agencies, according to the report.
In a national security memorandum, the Biden administration maintains that “while the full range of applications of quantum computers is still unknown, it is nevertheless clear that America’s continued technological and scientific leadership will depend, at least in part, on the nation’s ability to maintain a competitive advantage in quantum computing and QIS.”
Cybersecurity Risks Remain Top of Mind with QIS
A 2021 National Security Agency document on quantum computing explains that National Security Systems that carry classified or otherwise sensitive military or intelligence information rely on public key cryptography as a critical component for protecting the confidentiality, integrity and authenticity of national security information.
Quantum Cities with Quantum ATMS?
The University of Bristol is home to the largest quantum entanglement-based computer network in the world. Its Quantum Engineering Technology Lab, led by Dr. Siddarth Joshi, has been spearheading the development of a method of encryption called Quantum Key Distribution that may soon revolutionize information security. Dr Joshi’s recent successes demonstrate the possibilities for future cities according to recent interview in The American Genius by Desmond Meagley.
Quantum encryption has countless potential civic applications, such as providing security for voting machines, WiFi networks, remote banking services, credit card transactions, and more. In order for an entire population to be able to utilize a quantum network, fiber optic infrastructure must first be made accessible and affordable for everyone to have in their homes.
In that sense, quantum cities are still roughly two decades away, posits Dr. Joshi. The technology behind it is very nearly mature, though.
A simpler application of quantum encryption is practically right around the corner according to Meagley who says– think quantum ATMs in as few as five years.
Growing the Quantum Talent Pipeline in the UK
One of the biggest challenges of quantum technology commercialization is the development of a suitable talent pipeline, and the UK is in fierce international competition to create the right environment for such skills to develop. This places intense pressure on both start-ups and scale-ups in the UK trying to attract quantum talent and consequently, ramping up the talent pipeline must happen immediately and rapidly. This will be difficult and will require the UK tech sector, the quantum industry, academia, and UK government to actively work together to prioritise quantum skills.
techUK’s recent Quantum Commercialisation report suggested six key recommendations to grow the talent pipeline in the UK:
• Government and industry should work together to open access so that PhDs are not the only route into a career in quantum
• Encourage the move to industry by funding industry placements making the move from academia to industry more attainable
• Digital skills for different technologies should not be viewed in isolation
• Support upskilling for a quantum-literate workforce
• Ensure the UK has access and remains attractive to large international talent
• Enhancing visa flexibility for quantum talent and drive wider business skills and socio-ethical skills
Physicists Harness Quantum “Time Reversal” to Measure Vibrating Atoms
The MIT News Office reports that MIT physicists have shown they can significantly amplify quantum changes in atomic vibrations, by putting the particles through two key processes: quantum entanglement and time reversal.
They haven’t found a way to reverse time itself. Rather, the physicists have manipulated quantumly entangled atoms in a way that the particles behaved as if they were evolving backward in time. As the researchers effectively rewound the tape of atomic oscillations, any changes to those oscillations were amplified, in a way that could be easily measured.
the team demonstrates that the technique, which they dubbed SATIN (for signal amplification through time reversal), is the most sensitive method for measuring quantum fluctuations developed to date.
The technique could improve the accuracy of current state-of-the-art atomic clocks by a factor of 15, making their timing so precise that over the entire age of the universe the clocks would be less than 20 milliseconds off.
‘Special Quantum-Optical System’ Cited in Reports of Russian Anti-Satellite System
Russia appears to be constructing an anti-satellite laser system at a space facility near Zelenchukskaya in its far southwest, The Space Review reported, citing Google Earth imagery.
The Kalina is designed to blind enemy satellites over Russian territory by permanently damaging their optical sensors with laser pulses, the outlet explained. The Space Review also cited another document where the Kalina is referred to as a “space security complex,” a term also used for the air-launched anti-satellite system Burevestnik. The outlet said the developer describes Kalina as a “special quantum-optical system”. Read more at TheDefensePost.
Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990. She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.