After the quantum computing market had an exciting start to the year, we review the major stories and latest developments that we’ve seen in the second quarter of 2019.
In our review of the first quarter of 2019, we spoke about the great strides that the quantum computing market has made. Since then, another three months have passed and once again we find ourselves with a wealth of news and developments to talk about.
So, without further ado, here is our quantum computing industry review for Q2 of 2019.
Quantum computing awareness continues to rise
While step changes in quantum computing has seen the technology take major strides forward, it is concerning that knowledge of the opportunities and threats it poses remains scarce among many organisations. This is especially true of those at executive level.
In an effort to change this, 2019 Q2 saw the release of not one, but two new papers designed to educate readers on the technology.
‘The Executive’s Guide to Quantum Computing and Quantum-secure Cybersecurity’ was released by the Hudson Institute to offer business leaders guidance on quantum-secure cybersecurity. The guide raises quantum awareness by equipping CEOs, CIOs and fellow executives with the knowledge they need to address the quantum threat to their organisation.
This was shortly followed by a guide from the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) with the aim of preparing enterprises for quantum computing cybersecurity threats. The paper looks to inform enterprise leadership and cybersecurity experts of the actions they must take in order to protect their organisations from impending quantum threats.
Quantum computing investment keeps pace
Alongside its growing awareness, investment in quantum computing is also on the rise. The most recent commitment came from the UK government, which announced a £153 million investment into efforts to commercialise the technology. According to TechCrunch’s report, this figure is expected to increase to over £350 million with additional support.
This takes investment in the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme past £1 billion. The nation isn’t alone; in 2018 the European Union and the US government committed €1 billion and $1.2 billion respectively, while France also committed to driving investment in quantum technologies earlier in 2019.
The rise of the quantum internet
At the end of 2018 we looked at a paper in which scientists set out their vision of a quantum internet. Now this technology, which looks to connect quantum computers together in a network, has taken a step closer to becoming reality after seven EU countries agreed to explore the development and deployment of a quantum communication infrastructure across the EU. Since the announcement in June, a further three states have also committed to working with these original members.
Alongside the exciting news that Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) will be the first technology to make use of it, this infrastructure will eventually become the backbone of Europe’s quantum internet.
Quantum computers could break RSA encryption in one working day
It’s been well documented that quantum computers will have the computing power to render today’s encryption standards all-but useless. A new study has found that this could happen much sooner than expected.
Research by Craig Gidney at Google in Santa Barbara and Martin Ekerå at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, has found that a quantum computer could break 2048-bit RSA encryption – one of the most popular public-key cryptosystems – in as little as eight hours.
More alarming still, while previous researchers have estimated that one billion qubits would be required to achieve this, Gidney and Ekerå have shown how a quantum computer could do the calculation with just 20 million qubits. As the article points out, the question that experts should be asking themselves is whether the creation of such a device could be possible within the 25 years that organisations may need to secure information for. Indeed, those that need to keep information beyond this timeframe certainly have cause for concern.
A new law to describe quantum computing’s rise?
Moore’s law famously states that computing power doubles every two years; demonstrating exponential growth. An article in Quanta Magazine explores a new rule to describe how quickly quantum computers are gaining on classical ones – something that’s being called ‘Neven’s law’.
Named after Hartmut Neven, the director of the Quantum Artificial Intelligence lab, the rule suggests that quantum computers are gaining computational power relative to classical ones at a ‘doubly exponential’ rate. Instead of increasing by powers of two, quantities grow by powers of powers of two; something that is so difficult to find examples of in the real world that the rate of progress in quantum computing may be its first.
While this theory isn’t without its critics, if proven correct this theory could see quantum supremacy reached much sooner than we originally thought.
IDQ in the news
We have continued to have been involved with further industry and developments throughout the quarter. To help the quantum computing awareness drive, IDQ’s Matthieu Legré sat down with ITU news to explain the reasons why ITU standardisation work on security aspects of quantum technologies is accelerating.
We also announced our partnership with Mt Pelerin, the Swiss leader in blockchain banking and finance, to develop the first quantum-based solution for the secure storage of crypto assets: The Quantum Vault.
This was followed by the exciting announcement that we were rewarded with an A-ranking by fellow partner ArianeGroup as part of its supplier evaluation programme. It recognises the significant performance improvements achieved to meet the long-term aerospace industry requirements.
A quick mention
With such a wealth of news from this past quarter, we cannot mention every achievement individually. Other key developments include:
- Microsoft and Alphabet X have collaborated with Brilliant on an online curriculum for quantum computing
- IBM’s commercial quantum computing program, IBM Q Network, is expanding to more universities in North America
- IBM is also bringing Q to 16 African universities
- Quantum computing company D-Wave announced the launch of its quantum hybrid platform
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