China’s National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences Set to Open by 2020
If you keep up with the quantum computing news, you know China has huge quantum goals. Now they’re backing them up with a $10-billion “National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences,” a nearly 4-million-square-foot campus from which to drive their leadership in the quantum space. If you haven’t been keeping score, it’s time to start.
China has already achieved a number of advances in the quantum space:
- Launching Micius, the world’s first quantum communication satellite
- Setting a new record (1200 km) for “spooky action at a distance” (entanglement)
- Making the world’s first quantum-encrypted video call.
- Making the world’s first quantum-encrypted fiber optic trunk cable
With a clear grasp of quantum tech, China is now stepping on the gas with this strategic investment. The center will focus on two major research areas:
- Building a quantum computer
- Advancing quantum metrology
These efforts would support China’s national defense (of course). But that’s not their only benefit to China or the world.
What Do These Goals Really Mean?
One of China’s leading scientists, Pan Jianwei, claims the country’s first general-purpose quantum computer could have a million times more computing power than. . . wait for it . . . every computer on earth combined. (Did you hear my epic movie trailer voice?) Given their focus on cryptography, it would likely be put to quick use cracking current encryption schemes. China could also use it to propel R & D in advanced modeling and simulation, medicine, etc.
Quantum metrology (not a typo) is about precisely measuring minute changes in physical effects, like gravity. Also known as the study of how to build an advanced, highly-accurate, self-contained navigation system. Think fleet of autonomous cars, drones, tanks, and trains that don’t rely on GPS to navigate. This new navigation approach would make these systems resistant to jamming, hacking, and tracking, at least initially.
China’s quantum supercenter is three years away, if their current schedule holds. It could increase the frequency of their advances in the field and make them the world’s quantum computing leader. You should be interested in these developments. Now, how will the world respond?