“We intend to develop capabilities in high-performance quantum computing”: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

“I think Quantum is part of a lot of things that we see as emerging areas when it comes to the frontiers of technology. India and the Indian ecosystem must be part of this model of collaboration,” Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrashekhar said on Wednesday while addressing virtually to industry experts and technology ecosystem stakeholders at IBM’s annual Think conference in Mumbai.

“Quantum is a very important part of that and it’s clearly something that can’t be ignored,” he said, adding that “we intend to develop capabilities in quantum and high-performance computing.” . At a one-day event, IBM released a white paper titled “Building an Indian Quantum Industry”, which was unveiled by Chandrashekhar. The white paper is part of an effort to create the quantum computing ecosystem in India.

Recent years have seen a rise in “quantum” computing to build ultra-fast computers. Quantum computers are based on qubits, a unit that can hold more data than conventional binary bits. Experts say such machines could revolutionize computing, leveraging quantum physics to solve problems “classic” computers can’t.

In 2019, Google announced that it had achieved what is called “quantum supremacy” by publishing an article in the journal Nature. The software giant said its 54-qubit Sycamore processor was capable of performing a calculation in 200 seconds that would have taken the world’s most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years.

At that time, scientists at IBM – a key competitor to quantum computing – challenged Google’s claims. IBM said the same task could be done on a typical system in just 2.5 days, instead of 10,000 years as Google claimed.

Earlier this year, IBM announced plans to introduce a quantum computer with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025. These advances will go beyond the experimental phase by 2025, the IBM CEO said, Arvind Krishna, to reporters. In 2020, IBM announced that it would ship a 1,121 qubit device in 2023.

The United States and China are leading the innovation in quantum computing. In the United States, the contribution of the private sector is the key to the flourishing research and development of quantum computing, led by large technology companies like Google, IBM and Microsoft. The United States is also home to more than 78 quantum computing startups, according to Tracxn, a website that tracks companies by industry. India’s neighbor China is forging ahead in the game of quantum computing supremacy.

IBM recently partnered with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras to advance quantum computing skills development and research in India. With this partnership, IIT Madras joins more than 180 members of the IBM Quantum network worldwide.

Sherry J. Basler