Published in News

Socialist China about to have a Sputnik moment

by on25 October 2017

About to embarrass the west on quantum computing

According to McClatchydc the Chinese government is about to embarrass the West by throwing enough money into quantum computing to beat them to the punch.

The situation has been described as a Sputnik moment, which was when the Soviets shocked the West by putting the world’s first satellite around the Earth and started the space race.

China in recent months has used a quantum satellite to transmit ultra-secure data, inaugurated a 1,243-mile quantum link between Shanghai and Beijing, and announced a $10 billion quantum computing centre.

Christopher Monroe, a physicist and pioneer in quantum communication at the University of Maryland, has warned that the level of coordination of what the Chinese have done is alarming.

More than the accomplishments of the Chinese boffins, it is the resources that China is pouring into the research into how atoms, photons and other basic molecular matter can harness, process and transmit information.

Martin Laforest, a physicist and senior manager at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, said that it doesn’t necessarily mean that Chinese scientists are better, it’s just that when they say, ‘We need a billion dollars to do this,’ the money comes.

This means that the Chinese will beat the US when it comes to this research and will have a quantum computer within a decade or less.

In June, the Chinese announced that a satellite and a ground station had communicated through “entangled” quantum particles. Such long distance quantum communication smashed records, occurring over 745 miles, far beyond the mile or so scientists had tested previously, and signalled Chinese mastery over a form of communication deemed ultra-secure and unhackable.

Neither the US military nor private industry is known to have such a capability.

Gregory Clark, chief executive of Symantec, said that if the technology is refined, it could make land-based communications infrastructure obsolete.

Then in September, China completed a quantum communication link between its capital and Shanghai, surpassing anything in the United States or Europe.

Also last month, China announced that it would build the world’s biggest quantum research facility, a $10 billion centre in Hefei, capital of Anhui province, with the aim of building a working quantum computer that could break most encryption within seconds.

The West has largely relied on private enterprise to come up with breakthroughs and Google, IBM and Microsoft all see huge opportunities in quantum computing and fund research labs. But just as NASA was required to get the space programme working and the Manhattan Project to get nuclear science going, it might take a large amount of Government money to work properly.

Last modified on 25 October 2017
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Read more about: