London, UK: On January 18th, CyNation hosted its first CyNation Thought Leadership Series 2017 event: “Will Quantum Technology Change the World” at the Institute of Engineering. The event brought leading experts and innovative quantum technology companies together and was supported by techUK.
The big questions were: What are Quantum’s feasible effects on the real world? How do we understand the process of converting quantum computing into applied uses of quantum technology? Will Quantum Technology Change the World?
Experts say it will fundamentally change the life of citizens and societies, the way governments and economies function, bring changes into health and bio-tech industries, transform authentication processes, and sectors based on trust-based transactions.
During the event few companies presented their innovative technologies, both hardware and software, including D-Wave Systems, QxBranch, and Quantum Base. The expert panel included Andrew Lord, Head of Optics at BT; Kelly Richdale, VP Quantum Safe Security at ID Quantique; Prof. Keith Martin, Information Security, Royal Holloway, UoL; Richard Murray, Lead Technologist at Innovate UK; and Shadi Razak, CTO at CyNation.
It was established that quantum technology has not only been in use for some time already, but that in fact, we are at the beginning of the second quantum revolution. Quantum technology is a technical reality and not a science fiction, and its certain uses are already revenue generating.
The £270m government investment into quantum computing technologies in 2013 was a great starting point, however, more must be invested, if the UK wants to further fuel its ambition of becoming a global leader and pioneer in this industry.
Ethical issues are going to be particularly important in this new world. The capability of a quantum computer to undermine most currently used public-key cryptography (PKC) presents a serious challenge to society and, arguably, could prevent the technology from further commercialisation. Having said that, other technologies such as Artificial Intelligence are also contributing to this ethical challenge for economy and society.
The ability to break PKC drives a massive research initiative to build new public key encryption algorithms and other cryptographic tools to safeguard data in a quantum computing world. However, another broadly used symmetric type of cryptography is quantum safe already and will be refined even further.
Developing quantum algorithms will help financial sectors to conduct highly accurate financial modelling as well as predict future events in trading. A quantum computer can process a vast number of calculations simultaneously, analyse very complex variables, and build precise predictive models from complex data. This can be applied in weather forecasting, traffic management or route planning, to name a few.
The issue of cybersecurity in the quantum age is manifold and strongly associated with the vulnerability of public key cryptography in use today in most infrastructures and systems. On the one hand, we do not know how much time it will take two or three major players to dominate the market and potentially break them; or whether it is going to happen at all – currently there is no a universal quantum computer having this capability. On the other hand, quantum-enabled security itself will offer 100% bullet-proof protection guaranteed by the laws of physics. Quantum enabled algorithms will enable organisations to rapidly detect infinite number of manifestations of malicious behaviours and fraud scenarios, making an attack non-viable.
A powerful enough quantum computer to threaten cryptographic standards, will be put under lots of control and its owner may well face strong headwinds to get export clearance for its technology. However, since we do not have a “United Nations” of Cybersecurity or a single global regulator, we need to look very seriously at how to avoid the risk for public safety, and make sure the world is secure before quantum computers are unleashed.
The other use cases of quantum we look forward to see in the future:
- Quantum Artificial Intelligence application in scientific discovery, biotech and biological systems modelling;
- Quantum simulation to accelerate the design of quantum electronic devices beyond the reach of supercomputers;
- Quantum chemistry to design drugs in the form of small molecules to fight cancer;
- Quantum gravity sensing devices to precisely analyse underground infrastructure and its composition;
- Quantum glasses for the blind to recreate the surrounding environment within a certain distance.
- Quantum PUF (physical unclonable function) to prevent counterfeit drugs;
Stay tuned as more uses are coming! One will not have to be a quantum physicist to use them.
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