Quantum Technology is based on the principles of Quantum mechanics, developed in the early 20th century to describe nature at the scale of atoms and elementary particles. Quantum computing uses phenomena in quantum physics to create new ways of computing. It involves qubits. Unlike a normal computer bit, which can be either 0 or 1, a qubit can exist in a multidimensional state i.e. can exist as 0 or 1 or a combination of both. The power of quantum computers grows exponentially with more qubits.
The first phase of the quantum revolution led to an understanding of the physical world leading to the development of technologies like lasers. Currently, the focus is upon quantum computing. Such technology will prove beneficial for the strategic and economic development of India.
1.It will help establish secure satellite communication which will help strengthen cyber, military security as demonstrated by China.
2.It can help researchers in numerous fields like the Genome-India Project where huge data needs to be analysed and bring efficiencies in other sectors as well like medical science, agriculture towards the development of novel, sustainable and cheap solutions.
3.It can help in better prediction models which are needed in disaster management, climatic prediction and also in managing supply chains in numerous economic activities.
4.The pharmaceutical industry can benefit from reducing the time frame of the discovery of new molecules and related processes to a few days from the present 10-year slog that scientists put in.
5.Above all, it will quicken the adoption of 4th Industrial Revolution based technologies like the Internet of Things and help smoothly integrate into present architecture.
Quantum technology can put the present-day encryption at risk, which can pose a threat to a country’s critical cyber infrastructure, thereby, putting its national security at stake. Confidential military and strategic information can be decrypted easily once quantum computers and their applications become a reality.Harnessing the properties of quantum superposition in a highly controlled manner can be a challenge. Creating algorithms and applications for quantum computers will require newer types of hardware.
To overcome such issues and harness the technology, India has taken following steps:
1. Research projects across 51 organisations under QUEST – Quantum Enabled Science and Technology.
2. National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NMQTA). The mission seeks to develop quantum computing linked technologies amidst the second quantum revolution and make India the world’s third-biggest nation in the sector after the US and China.
Considering these potential risks, India needs to ramp up its efforts to match pace the US and China, both of which have achieved quantum supremacy. As countries increase their financial and intellectual resources towards quantum tech, India must ensure it does not lag far behind.
Further steps like collaboration with the private sector, increased funding towards research, involvement of scientists and other stakeholders at the strategic level can propel India towards quickly harnessing the technology for its advantage as China and USA have been doing.