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Quantum computing: answers to global challenges

2020-06-11 10:11

Quantum computing: answers to global challenges

Quantum technologies are so superior to existing capabilities that we only have a fragmented view of their future application. The Made in Russia editorial presents the summary of the "Quantum of the Future" discussion organized by the Roscongress Foundation.

"In the early seventies people at IBM made a personal computer, showed it to the management and the management decided not to make a product out of it thinking that nobody needs it. There are no tasks for such a thing and no normal person will buy it. Now we really understand that if there were no personal computers, there would be no Internet, and in general the world would be a completely different place. Even then the people who made this personal computer could not foresee the Internet - it just never occurred to them. I think that what happens now with a quantum computer is about the same" - Boris Altshuler, leading consultant on quantum technologies, Google Inc., professor of theoretical physics, Columbia University.

"I want to say that in terms of fundamental ideas, the distance between old and modern supercomputer is much smaller than the distance between a supercomputer now and a quantum computer that we all see in a nearest future" - Boris Altshuler, Lead Consultant in Quantum Technology, Google Inc., Professor of Theoretical Physics, Columbia University.

"Our need to create new materials for the nuclear industry has led us to develop a great deal of new materials. We are now developing them for the aviation industry, for the chemical industry. In general, we are working quite seriously in this area, and we all understand that this is exactly the kind of task where a quantum computer can be used" - Ekaterina Solntseva, Director of Digitalization, State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom.

"The next direction is the Northern Sea Route. I do not know to what extent this is news to my colleagues that Rosatom is also the operator of the Northern Sea Route. Why Rosatom? Because you can't serve the Northern Sea Route without nuclear icebreakers. This is a key factor, and these are immediately optimized logistics tasks, very complicated logistics tasks, and this is again a quantum computer" - Ekaterina Solntseva, Director for Digitalization, State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom.

The world is at the very beginning of the development of quantum technology, and everyone still has a chance of success.

"In any case, launching such large-scale projects takes some time, and in Russia, I think you also understand that it takes some more time, it requires some research and development, including tools. But I think both sides will be successful in this area in terms of launching projects, including those we talked about, the quantum computer" - Sinha Urbasi, Professor at the Raman Research Institute, associate member of the Institute for Quantum Computing at Waterloo University and the Centre for Quantum Informatics and Quantum Management at Toronto University.

"I don't think people will be selling quantum computers like the iPhone after a while. Most likely there will be a limited number of them, they will stand somewhere, they will defend themselves somehow, and there will be time when they will be available for sale. You can already begin to think about how to use this time, and in this sense this is a vast field to for companies to compete" - Boris Altshuler, leading consultant on quantum technologies, Google Inc., professor of theoretical physics, Columbia University.

"I think it would be a big mistake not to do this research outside of big companies like Google, IBM or Microsoft, even though these companies have much more capacity and resources," Boris Altshuler, leading consultant on quantum technologies, Google Inc., professor of theoretical physics, Columbia University.

The development of quantum technology is complicated by problems that semiconductor electronics has barely encountered, requiring serious intersectoral cooperation.

"One of the main problems facing the creation of a serious quantum computer size is that there is a failure in quantum coherence due to cosmic rays and natural radiation. This failure is very unpleasant from the point of view of quantum computing, because it changes the work not of one qubit, but almost all at once. And here the contribution of Rosatom specialists can be dominant" - Boris Altshuler, leading consultant on quantum technologies, Google Inc., professor of theoretical physics, Columbia University.

The possibilities of quantum technologies, similar to the invention of nuclear weapons, require serious international discussion in terms of ethical issues of their application.

"Perhaps you know that last February the Vatican signed a protocol to work with artificial intelligence. Here AI itself is considered from different angles, and now there is also active discussion with, say, the president of Microsoft and many other organizations. We signed a joint directive, and I would like some institutions here in Russia to join in such an important document. It is now a very important principle to help AI be something that will allow us to improve our society and use that in a constructive and positive way. I would like to say that this is connected with many changes that are now taking place in our society" - Basti Gianfranco, Professor of Philosophy and Science, Lateran University.

"I'm afraid that there may indeed be a group of people who want to program the behavior of others with the help of high technology, and as a rule this does not lead to anything good, so I hope that humanity has a sufficiently large margin of safety that this fact of limiting personal freedom by already purely technological brainwashing to avoid But, on the other hand, you can imagine a person in 100 years who will, instead of going to school for 10 years and then 5 years to university, just connects a chip that will automatically make him a specialist in any field." - Boris Altshuler, leading consultant on quantum technology, Google Inc., professor of theoretical physics, Columbia University.

"There are classical algorithms of machine learning, which use static information, some other tools, but there are also many other components that we must somehow program, understand. There are certain systems which can use some social-historical stereotypes and which can play a negative role in our society" - Basti Gianfranco, Professor of Philosophy and Science, Lateran University.

"Technology alone does not solve anything. They give people tools, but then people act as they see fit, and people may see fit something completely crazy and destructive as we know from history" - Fedor Lukyanov, Director of Research, Valdai International Discussion Club, Editor-in-Chief, Russia in Global Politics magazine.

"Of course, the quantum computer is a tremendous leap, but it does not mean that everything around us will change in this way, because we still live in the anthropocentric world. And as long as man is what he is, everything around him will be based on his nature. If a person is eventually replaced by any kind of artificial intelligence, then everything will probably change, but then we won't know about it, because we won't be there" - Fedor Lukyanov, Director of Research, Valdai International Discussion Club, Editor-in-Chief, Russia in Global Politics magazine.

Successful development of quantum technologies requires a close relationship between business and scientific and educational sphere

"In general, this interaction between universities and industry has made a huge contribution to the development of technology in America, and much that we now have owes to this cooperation" - Boris Altshuler, leading consultant on quantum technology, Google Inc., professor of theoretical physics, Columbia University.

"Of course, we are planning to conduct scientific research, but we see our role in this, again, as twofold. We are also a very large platform for possible applications of a quantum computer, and we very much expect that by 2024 we will not only make some kind of cubic processor. We have benchmarks, but it is not so important to make them public now. What is important is that we want to work out the possibility of pilot calculations on some, preferably somehow close to real, tasks. We have set the task, apart from our other activities, of developing quantum algorithms that will allow us in the future to be applied in real practice in a wide range of industries" - Ekaterina Solntseva, Director for Digitalization, State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom.

"There was a separate group of people in the company - IBM, AT&T - who were allowed to do basic science. They differed little from us, from university people, and often came to universities from these laboratories. The big advantage was that these people from basic science interacted with people from development" - Boris Altshuler, leading consultant on quantum technologies, Google Inc., professor of theoretical physics, Columbia University.

"What's happening now is completely different. There is a group at Google and at IBM too, which is engaged on the one hand in creating something quite concrete, and on the other hand, what they do is both methods and ways of posing the question of fundamental science. There is a big difference in this, and it makes it so interesting to work there" - Boris Altshuler, leading consultant on quantum technologies, Google Inc., professor of theoretical physics, Columbia University.

It is necessary to ensure that the widest possible choice is made when forming the human capital of the quantum industry.

"When we were creating the road map for Russia, we took into account the experience of other countries that have come this way somewhere before us, somewhere parallel to us. For example, Chinese colleagues actively launched a program of 1000 talents a few years ago, because there is a very large Chinese diaspora, and attracting people who have already formed in leading universities around the world, to come back and raise the level of science in their own - it was very fruitful. We are trying to do this in Russia, because in the quantum community, the Russian diaspora is very strong" - Ruslan Yunusov, the head of the quantum computer project in Russia, State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom.

Made in Russia // Manufactured in Russia

Author: Anton Petrov

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