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India launches National Quantum Mission

  • Published
    20th Apr, 2023
Context

The Union Cabinet cleared Rs 6,003 crore National Quantum Mission seeking to realise a host of frontier technologies related to quantum computing, quantum communication and quantum sensing that only a handful of countries possess.

Background
  • The new mission comes four years after the central government in December 2018 announced Rs 3,660 crore National Mission on Cyber-Physical Systems, which is being executed through 25 hubs.

What is the National Quantum Mission?

  • Duration: Eight years
  • Verticals: The mission involving research institutions and industry will have four verticals
    • three on quantum computing, communication and sensing
    • a fourth one on developing novel materials and devices that would aid in the three core programmes
  • Aim: To accelerate quantum technology-led economic growth and nurture the ecosystem in the country.
  • The new mission targets developing intermediate-scale quantum computers with 50-1000 physical qubits in eight years in various platforms like superconducting and photonic technology
  • Global race: India will be the seventh country to have a dedicated quantum mission after the US, Austria, Finland, France, Canada and China.
    • All these countries are also at the R&D stage.

What is Quantum technology?

  • Quantum technology is a class of technology that works by using the principles of quantum mechanics (the physics of sub-atomic particles), including quantum entanglement and quantum superposition.
    • Example-Smartphone is a type of quantum technology – its semiconductors use quantum physics to work.

What is Qubit?

  • A qubit (or quantum bit) is the quantum mechanical analogue of a classical bit.
  • In classical computing, the information is encoded in bits, where each bit can have the value zero or one.
  • In quantum computing the information is encoded in qubits.

How Quantum technology can be a good ‘solution’?

  • Effective functioning: In modern-day computing, information is relayed and stored in binary digits or bits, that is, 0 or 1. In quantum computing, information sharing, and storage is done in qubits, which exist as 0 or 1 or a combination of both.
    • This allows for a quantum computer to perform a multitude of applications at the same time, at a much faster rate, surpassing the processing ability of a conventional computing system.
  • Increased processing capabilities: Quantum computers will exponentially increase the processing capabilities of a modern-day computer and address impediments linked to combinatorics.
  • Wide range of applications: It has immense potential in a wide range of applications from ultra-secure military communication to extra-precise MRI machines.
  • Multiple benefits: Near-term and long-term quantum applications will:
    • augment AI solutions
    • improve financial forecasting
    • drastically reduce failures in the manufacturing sector
    • accentuate drug development
    • push for better cybersecurity paradigms

How this mission will give India a quantum leap?

  • Valuable deliverables: Satellite-based secure quantum communications between ground stations over a range of 2000 km within India, long-distance secure quantum communications with other countries, inter-city quantum key distribution over 2000 km as well as multi-node quantum networks with quantum memories are also some of the deliverables of the mission.
  • Development of atomic systems: The mission will help develop magnetometers with high sensitivity in atomic systems and atomic clocks for precision timing, communications and navigation.
  • Development of quantum materials: It will also support the design and synthesis of quantum materials such as superconductors, novel semiconductor structures and topological materials for the fabrication of quantum devices.
  • Beneficial for different sectors: The mission would greatly benefit communication, health, financial and energy sectors as well as drug design, and space applications.
  • Boost to national priorities: It will provide a huge boost to National priorities like Digital India, Make in India, Skill India and Stand-up India, Start-up India, Self-reliant India and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
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