New Delhi: A National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NM-QTA) with a total budget outlay of Rs 8000 Crore has been announced by the government in its budget 2020. It will be for a period of five years to be implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Union Budget 2020 speech said that the new economy is based on innovations that disrupt established business models. Artificial intelligence, Internet-of-Things (IoT), 3D printing, drones, DNA data storage, quantum computing, etc., are re-writing the world economic order. “Quantum technology is opening up new frontiers in computing, communications, cyber security with wide-spread applications. It is expected that lots of commercial applications would emerge from theoretical constructs which are developing in this area”, she added.
The US, China and the European Union are all in a battle for quantum superiority. In 2018 America decided to invest 1.2 billion dollars for quantum research. Chinese President Xi Jinping has committed billions of dollars for quantum computing as it expects to achieve significant quantum breakthroughs by 2030. India definitely don’t want to stay behind. The NM-QTA Mission will be able to address the ever-increasing technological requirements of the society, and take into account the international technology trends and road maps of leading countries for development of next generation technologies.
Quantum computing is an area of computing focused on developing computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the behavior of energy and material on the atomic and subatomic levels. Computers that perform quantum computations are known as quantum computers. All computing systems rely on a fundamental ability to store and manipulate information. Current computers manipulate individual bits, which store information as binary 0 and 1 states. Quantum computers leverage quantum mechanical phenomena to manipulate information. To do this, they rely on quantum bits, or qubits.
Quantum industry is said to be the holy grail of the technology industry. Quantum computing will process data of mind-boggling sizes in a few milliseconds, something a classical computer would take years to do. Quantum technologies are rapidly developing globally with a huge disruptive potential. The next generation transformative technologies that will receive a push under this mission include quantum computers and computing, quantum communication, quantum key distribution, encryption, crypt analysis, quantum devices, quantum sensing, quantum materials, quantum clock and so on. Quantum computing is expanding to multiple industries such as banking, capital markets, insurance, automotive, aerospace, and energy.
A Bhilai based startup ‘BosonQ’ is building technical infrastructure with a vision to create premier Multiphysics simulation software for quantum computing. ‘Qulabs’ was one of the first quantum computing startups in India. Founded in 2017, It aims to provide services in quantum machine learning, quantum communication, quantum computations, quantum algorithms and simulations, etc. with a multidisciplinary group of research scientists and engineers from IITs, ISI and IISc. Companies like ‘Automatski’, which has a presence in Bengaluru and Los Angeles, are performing research into several areas of quantum inspired software to stimulate various quantum configuration.
Implementation of the NM-QTA mission would help develop and bring quantum computers, secured communications through fibre and free space, quantum encryption and crypt-analysis and associated technologies within reach in the country and help address India specific national and regional issues.