Quantum Computing: Ocean Of Opportunities : Daily Current Affairs

Relevance: GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life; Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology; Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Key phrases: Quantum computing, National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications, Quantum supremacy, World Economic Forum (WEF), Industrial revolution 4.0, Cyber Security, Quantum-Enabled Science and Technology (QuEST), ‘Quantom Computer Simulator (QSim) toolkit’.


  • While quantum computing has been around for decades, the last few months have seen tremendous interest from investors and governments.


  • Until late 2021, the governments of 18 countries have committed about $25 billion in quantum computing initiatives, according to the talent and training firm Qureca.
  • This includes India, which has committed more than $1 billion to the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications.
  • Private investment has grown, too. More than $1 billion was invested by venture funds in quantum computing companies last year.

What is quantum supremacy?

  • It is a term proposed in 2012 by John Preskill, professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.
  • It describes the point where quantum computers can do things that classical computers cannot.
  • In Google’s case, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have claimed to have developed a processor that took 200 seconds to do a calculation that would have taken a classical computer 10,000 years.

What is a quantum computer?

  • Our traditional computers work on the basis of the laws of classical physics, specifically by utilising the flow of electricity.
  • A quantum computer, on the other hand, seeks to exploit the laws that govern the behaviour of atoms and subatomic particles.
  • At that tiny scale, many laws of classical physics cease to apply, and the unique laws of quantum physics come into play.

Core principles identified by World Economic Forum (WEF) on Quantum Computing Governance:

Such principles become critical while considering the multi-industry applications of quantum computing.

  • They include privacy, cyber security, open innovation and sustainability.
  • A set of core values have also been identified to prevent human biases and ensure responsible behaviour.
  • Mechanisms in place to ensure human accountability, both in its design and in its uses and outcomes.


Quantum computing is an inherently multidisciplinary field, spanning a diverse range of disciplines from physics and mathematics to engineering and computer science.

  • Industrial revolution 4.0: Companies like IBM has worked with Mercedes to enhance the quality of batteries for electric vehicles.
    • Leveraging other Industrial revolution 4.0 technologies like the Internet-of-Things, machine learning, robotics, and artificial intelligence across sectors will further help in laying the foundation of the Knowledge economy.
  • Computational chemistry: Simulating chemical reactions, interactions of millions of electrons and their impact can take a fraction of the time when done with quantum computing.
    • Scientists are keen to simulate the working of a battery at a molecular level to help improve efficiency.
  • Pharmaceutical: Quantum computing could reduce the time frame of the discovery of new molecules and related processes to a few days.
    • From drug discovery to vaccine trials, several efforts can be enhanced, improved and fast tracked using quantum computing.
  • Financial regulators: To use quantum computing to keep track of increasingly complex and fast-paced digital transactions.
    • Credit risk analysis, which includes several more parameters, can be become far more accurate with quantum computing.
  • Cyber Security and secure communications: Various techniques to combat cyber security threats can be developed using some of the quantum machine learning approaches and reducing time to crack codes.
  • Weather forecasting and Disaster Management: Tsunamis, drought, earthquakes and floods may become more predictable with quantum applications.
    • The collection of data regarding climate change can be streamlined in a better way through quantum technology.
  • Data mining and artificial intelligence: It would be major beneficiaries, along with sciences which deal in volumes of data, from astronomy to linguistics.


  • Technological availability: Consistent electron is damaged as soon as affected by environment
  • Usage: Although Sycamore performed a benchmark test but it has no real-world use as of now and could take years or decades for the technology to be freely available
  • Stability: Qubits are stable only at cryogenic temperatures, and only governments and large corporations can hope to keep a quantum computer on the premises
  • Insecure communications: The dark side of quantum computing is the disruptive effect that it will have on cryptographic encryption, which secures communications and computers.
  • Privacy: Encryption depends on very large prime numbers, which serve as the seeds from which cryptographic keys are generated and exchanged by the parties to a conversation. If the odds of encryption and decryption are evened by exponentially powerful computers, privacy online would be dead.

India race to quantum computing:

  • India formally joined the race to quantum computing by establishing the National Mission for Quantum Technology and Applications in 2020.
  • The Department of Science and Technology launched the Quantum-Enabled Science and Technology (QuEST) initiative to invest INR 80 crores to lay out infrastructure and to facilitate research in the field.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) launched the ‘Quantom Computer Simulator (QSim) toolkit’ to provide the first quantum development environment to academicians, industry professionals, students, and the scientific community in India.
  • This is an outcome of the budgetary outlay of INR 8000 crores to bolster quantum technology development and uptake in the country.

Way ahead:

  • The complex nature of quantum science needs deeper linkages between academia, scientists, governments, tech companies and investors.
  • Even systems of national security, especially cyber threats, will be enhanced by quantum science.
  • India and other emerging economies must now invest in the talent required to fuel quantum science.
  • While India has committed to quantum computing, the effort will require multi-dimensional effort, which involves skilling as well as industry linkages.
  • It would be prudent to develop a regulatory framework for quantum computing before it becomes widely available.
  • It is a transformative technology whose future uses, across a wide spectrum of sectors from data analysis to geopolitics, cannot be fully anticipated.
  • It would be useful to regulate quantum computing now, or at least define the limits of its legitimate use.

Source: The Hindu BLIndian Express

Mains Question:

Q. Discuss the new possibilities arising out of quantum computing along with its challenges for the future.