NASHUA, N.H. -Until the 21st Century, artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computers were largely the stuff of science fiction, although quantum theory and quantum mechanics had been around for about a century. A century of great controversy, largely because Albert Einstein rejected quantum theory as originally formulated, leading to his famous statement, God does not play dice with the universe.
Today, however, the debate over quantum computing is largely about when not if these kinds of devices will come into full operation. Meanwhile, other forms of quantum technology, such as sensors, already are finding their way into military and civilian applications.
Quantum technology will be as transformational in the 21st Century as harnessing electricity was in the 19th, Michael J. Biercuk, founder and CEO of Q-CTRL Pty Ltd in Sydney, Australia, and professor of Quantum Physics & Quantum Technologies at the University of Sydney, told the U.S. Office of Naval Research in a January 2019 presentation.
On that, there is virtually universal agreement. But when and how remains undetermined.
For example, asked how and when quantum computing eventually may be applied to high-performance embedded computing (HPEC), Tatjana Curcic, program manager for Optimization with Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum devices (ONISQ) of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Arlington, Va., says its an open question.
Until just recently, quantum computing stood on its own, but as of a few years ago people are looking more and more into hybrid approaches, Curcic says. Im not aware of much work on actually getting quantum computing into HPEC architecture, however. Its definitely not mainstream, probably because its too early.
As to how quantum computing eventually may influence the development, scale, and use of AI, she adds:
Thats another open question. Quantum machine learning is a very active research area, but is quite new. A lot of people are working on that, but its not clear at this time what the results will be. The interface between classical data, which AI is primarily involved with, and quantum computing is still a technical challenge.
Quantum information processing
According to DARPAs ONISQ webpage, the program aims to exploit quantum information processing before fully fault-tolerant quantum computers are realized.This quantum computer based on superconducting qubits is inserted into a dilution refrigerator and cooled to a temperature less than 1 Kelvin. It was built at IBM Research in Zurich.
This effort will pursue a hybrid concept that combines intermediate-sized quantum devices with classical systems to solve a particularly challenging set of problems known as combinatorial optimization. ONISQ seeks to demonstrate the quantitative advantage of quantum information processing by leapfrogging the performance of classical-only systems in solving optimization challenges, the agency states. ONISQ researchers will be tasked with developing quantum systems that are scalable to hundreds or thousands of qubits with longer coherence times and improved noise control.
Researchers will also be required to efficiently implement a quantum optimization algorithm on noisy intermediate-scale quantum devices, optimizing allocation of quantum and classical resources. Benchmarking will also be part of the program, with researchers making a quantitative comparison of classical and quantum approaches. In addition, the program will identify classes of problems in combinatorial optimization where quantum information processing is likely to have the biggest impact. It will also seek to develop methods for extending quantum advantage on limited size processors to large combinatorial optimization problems via techniques such as problem decomposition.
The U.S. government has been the leader in quantum computing research since the founding of the field, but that too is beginning to change.
In the mid-90s, NSA [the U.S. National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Md.] decided to begin on an open academic effort to see if such a thing could be developed. All that research has been conducted by universities for the most part, with a few outliers, such as IBM, says Q-CTRLs Biercuk. In the past five years, there has been a shift toward industry-led development, often in cooperation with academic efforts. Microsoft has partnered with universities all over the world and Google bought a university program. Today many of the biggest hardware developments are coming from the commercial sector.
Quantum computing remains in deep space research, but there are hardware demonstrations all over the world. In the next five years, we expect the performance of these machines to be agented to the point where we believe they will demonstrate a quantum advantage for the first time. For now, however, quantum computing has no advantages over standard computing technology. quantum computers are research demonstrators and do not solve any computing problems at all. Right now, there is no reason to use quantum computers except to be ready when they are truly available.
AI and quantum computing
Nonetheless, the race to develop and deploy AI and quantum computing is global, with the worlds leading military powers seeing them along with other breakthrough technologies like hypersonics making the first to successfully deploy as dominant as the U.S. was following the first detonations of atomic bombs. That is especially true for autonomous mobile platforms, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), interfacing with those vehicles onboard HPEC.
Of the two, AI is the closest to deployment, but also the most controversial. A growing number of the worlds leading scientists, including the late Stephen Hawking, warn real-world AI could easily duplicate the actions of the fictional Skynet in the Terminator movie series. Launched with total control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal, Skynet became sentient and decided the human race was a dangerous infestation that needed to be destroyed.
The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it will take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldnt compete and would be superseded. Stephen Hawking (2014)
Such dangers have been recognized at least as far back as the publication of Isaac Asimovs short story, Runabout, in 1942, which included his Three Laws of Robotics, designed to control otherwise autonomous robots. In the story, the laws were set down in 2058:
First Law A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
Second Law A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
Third Law A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Whether it would be possible to embed and ensure unbreakable compliance with such laws in an AI system is unknown. But limited degrees of AI, known as machine learning, already are in widespread use by the military and advanced stages of the technology, such as deep learning, almost certainly will be deployed by one or more nations as they become available. More than 50 nations already are actively researching battlefield robots.
Military quantum computing
AI-HPEC would give UAVs, next-generation cruise missiles, and even maneuverable ballistic missiles the ability to alter course to new targets at any point after launch, recognize counter measures, avoid, and misdirect or even destroy them.
Quantum computing, on the other hand, is seen by some as providing little, if any, advantage over traditional computer technologies, by many as requiring cooling and size, weight and power (SWaP) improvements not possible with current technologies to make it applicable to mobile platforms and by most as being little more than a research tool for perhaps decades to come.
Perhaps the biggest stumbling block to a mobile platform-based quantum computing is cooling it currently requires a cooling unit, at near absolute zero, the Military trusted computing experts are considering new generations of quantum computing for creating nearly unbreakable encryption for super-secure defense applications.size of a refrigerator to handle a fractional piece of quantum computing.
A lot of work has been done and things are being touted as operational, but the most important thing to understand is this isnt some simple physical thing you throw in suddenly and it works. That makes it harder to call it deployable youre not going to strap a quantum computing to a handheld device. A lot of solutions are still trying to deal with cryogenics and how do you deal with deployment of cryo, says Tammy Carter, senior product manager for GPGPUs and software products at Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions in Ashburn, Va.
AI is now a technology in deployment. Machine learning is pretty much in use worldwide, Carter says. Were in a migration of figuring out how to use it with the systems we have. quantum computing will require a lot of engineering work and demand may not be great enough to push the effort. From a cryogenically cooled electronics perspective, I dont think there is any insurmountable problem. It absolutely can be done, its just a matter of decision making to do it, prioritization to get it done. These are not easily deployed technologies, but certainly can be deployed.
Given its current and expected near-term limitations, research has increased on the development of hybrid systems.
The longer term reality is a hybrid approach, with the quantum system not going mobile any time soon, says Brian Kirby, physicist in the Army Research Laboratory Computational & Informational Sciences Directorate in Adelphi, Md. Its a mistake to forecast a timeline, but Im not sure putting a quantum computing on such systems would be valuable. Having the quantum computing in a fixed location and linked to the mobile platform makes more sense, for now at least. There can be multiple quantum computers throughout the country; while individually they may have trouble solving some problems, networking them would be more secure and able to solve larger problems.
Broadly, however, quantum computing cant do anything a practical home computer cant do, but can potentially solve certain problems more efficiently, Kirby continues. So youre looking at potential speed-up, but there is no problem a quantum computing can solve a normal computer cant. Beyond the basics of code-breaking and quantum simulations affecting material design, right now we cant necessarily predict military applications.
In some ways similar to AI, quantum computing raises nearly as many concerns as it does expectations, especially in the area of security. The latest Thales Data Threat Report says 72 percent of surveyed security experts worldwide believe quantum computing will have a negative impact on data security within the next five years.
At the same time, quantum computing is forecast to offer more robust cryptography and security solutions. For HPEC, that duality is significant: quantum computing can make it more difficult to break the security of mobile platforms, while simultaneously making it easier to do just that.
Quantum computers that can run Shors algorithm [leveraging quantum properties to factor very large numbers efficiently] are expected to become available in the next decade. These algorithms can be used to break conventional digital signature schemes (e.g. RSA or ECDSA), which are widely used in embedded systems today. This puts these systems at risk when they are used in safety-relevant long-term applications, such as automotive systems or critical infrastructures. To mitigate this risk, classical digital signature schemes used must be replaced by schemes secure against quantum computing-based attacks, according to the August 2019 proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Availability, Reliability & Securitys Post-Quantum Cryptography in Embedded Systems report.
The security question is not quite so clean-cut as armor/anti-armor, but there is a developing bifurcation between defensive and offensive applications. On the defense side, deployed quantum systems are looked at to provide encoded communications. Experts say it seems likely the level of activity in China about quantum communications, which has been a major focus for years, runs up against the development of quantum computing in the U.S. The two aspects are not clearly one-against-one, but the two moving independently.
Googles quantum supremacy demonstration has led to a rush on finding algorithms robust against quantum attack. On the quantum communications side, the development of attacks on such systems has been underway for years, leading to a whole field of research based on identifying and exploiting quantum attacks.
Quantum computing could also help develop revolutionary AI systems. Recent efforts have demonstrated a strong and unexpected link between quantum computation and artificial neural networks, potentially portending new approaches to machine learning. Such advances could lead to vastly improved pattern recognition, which in turn would permit far better machine-based target identification. For example, the hidden submarine in our vast oceans may become less-hidden in a world with AI-empowered quantum computers, particularly if they are combined with vast data sets acquired through powerful quantum-enabled sensors, according to Q-CTRLs Biercuk.
Even the relatively mundane near-term development of new quantum-enhanced clocks may impact security, beyond just making GPS devices more accurate, Biercuk continues. Quantum-enabled clocks are so sensitive that they can discern minor gravitational anomalies from a distance. They thus could be deployed by military personnel to detect underground, hardened structures, submarines or hidden weapons systems. Given their potential for remote sensing, advanced clocks may become a key embedded technology for tomorrows warfighter.
The early applications of quantum computing, while not embedded on mobile platforms, are expected to enhance warfighter capabilities significantly.
Jim Clark, director of quantum hardware at Intel Corp. in Santa Clara, Calif., shows one of the companys quantum processors.There is a high likelihood quantum computing will impact ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], solving logistics problems more quickly. But so much of this is in the basic research stage. While we know the types of problems and general application space, optimization problems will be some of the first where we will see advantages from quantum computing, says Sara Gamble, quantum information sciences program manager at ARL.
Biercuk says he agrees: Were not really sure there is a role for quantum computing in embedded computing just yet. quantum computing is right now very large systems embedded in mainframes, with access by the cloud. You can envision embedded computing accessing quantum computing via the cloud, but they are not likely to be very small, agile processors you would embed in a SWAP-constrained environment.
But there are many aspects of quantum technology beyond quantum computing; the combination of quantum sensors could allow much better detection in the field, Biercuk continues. The biggest potential impact comes in the areas of GPS denial, which has become one of the biggest risk factors identified in every blueprint around the world. quantum computing plays directly into this to perform dead reckoning navigation in GPS denial areas.
DARPAs Curcic also says the full power of quantum computing is still decades away, but believes ONISQ has the potential to help speed its development.
The main two approaches industry is using is superconducting quantum computing and trapped ions. We use both of those, plus cold atoms [Rydberg atoms]. We are very excited about ONISQ and seeing if we can get anything useful over classical computing. Four teams are doing hardware development with those three approaches, she says.
Because these are noisy systems, its very difficult to determine if there will be any advantages. The hope is we can address the optimization problem faster than today, which is what were working on with ONISQ. Optimization problems are everywhere, so even a small improvement would be valuable.
Beyond todays capabilities
As to how quantum computing and AI may impact future warfare, especially through HPEC, she adds: I have no doubt quantum computing will be revolutionary and well be able to do things beyond todays capabilities. The possibilities are pretty much endless, but what they are is not crystal clear at this point. Its very difficult, with great certainly, to predict what quantum computing will be able to do. Well just have to build and try. Thats why today is such an exciting time.
Curtiss Wrights Carter says he believes quantum computing and AI will be closely linked with HPEC in the future, once current limitations with both are resolved.
AI itself is based on a lot of math being done in parallel for probability answers, similar to modeling the neurons in the brain highly interconnected nodes and interdependent math calculations. Imagine a small device trying to recognize handwriting, Carter says. You run every pixel of that through lots and lots of math, combining and mixing, cutting some, amplifying others, until you get a 98 percent answer at the other end. quantum computing could help with that and researchers are looking at how you would do that, using a different level of parallel math.
How quantum computing will be applied to HPEC will be the big trick, how to get that deployed. Imagine were a SIGINT [signals intelligence] platform land, air or sea there are a lot of challenges, such as picking the right signal out of the air, which is not particularly easy, Carter continues. Once you achieve pattern recognition, you want to do code breaking to get that encrypted traffic immediately. Getting that on a deployed platform could be useful; otherwise you bring your data back to a quantum computing in a building, but that means you dont get the results immediately.
The technology research underway today is expected to show progress toward making quantum computing more applicable to military needs, but it is unlikely to produce major results quickly, especially in the area of HPEC.
Trapped ions and superconducting circuits still require a lot of infrastructure to make them work. Some teams are working on that problem, but the systems still remain room-sized. The idea of quantum computing being like an integrated circuit you just put on a circuit board were a very long way from that, Biercuk says. The systems are getting smaller, more compact, but there is a very long way to go to deployable, embeddable systems. Position, navigation and timing systems are being reduced and can be easily deployed on aircraft. Thats probably where the technology will remain in the next 20 years; but, eventually, with new technology development, quantum computing may be reduced to more mobile sizes.
The next 10 years are about achieving quantum advantage with the systems available now or iterations. Despite the acceleration we have seen, there are things that are just hard and require a lot of creativity, Biercuk continues. Were shrinking the hardware, but that hardware still may not be relevant to any deployable system. In 20 years, we may have machines that can do the work required, but in that time we may only be able to shrink them to a size that can fit on an aircraft carrier local code-breaking engines. To miniaturize this technology to put it on, say, a body-carried system, we just dont have any technology basis to claim we will get there even in 20 years. Thats open to creativity and discovery.
Even with all of the research underway worldwide, one question remains dominant.
The general challenge is it is not clear what we will use quantum computing for, notes Rad Balu, a computer scientist in ARLs Computational & Informational Sciences Directorate.
- NWA funding for taking quantum technology to the public Bits&Chips - Bits&Chips - December 3rd, 2020
- 01 Communique to Present at the Benzinga Global Small Cap Conference on December 8 - IT News Online - December 3rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market : Analysis and In-depth Study on Size Trends, and Regional Forecast - Cheshire Media - December 3rd, 2020
- Quantum computer race intensifies as alternative technology gains steam - Nature.com - November 19th, 2020
- Quantum computing now is a bit like SQL was in the late 80s: Wild and wooly and full of promise - ZDNet - November 19th, 2020
- Construction begins for Duke University's new quantum computing center - WRAL Tech Wire - November 19th, 2020
- Is Now the Time to Start Protecting Government Data from Quantum Hacking? - Nextgov - November 19th, 2020
- CCNY & partners in quantum algorithm breakthrough | The City College of New York - The City College of New York News - November 19th, 2020
- Quantum Computing in Aerospace and Defense Market Forecast to 2028: How it is Going to Impact on Global Industry to Grow in Near Future - Eurowire - November 19th, 2020
- What's Next In AI, Chips And Masks - SemiEngineering - November 19th, 2020
- Physicists discover the 'Kings and Queens of Quantumness' - Livescience.com - November 19th, 2020
- Every Thing You Need to Know About Quantum Computers - Analytics Insight - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum computing will impact the enterprise--we just don't know how - TechRepublic - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing and the Cryptography Conundrum - CXOToday.com - October 23rd, 2020
- IBM and Mastercard among partners of 11.1m Irish quantum project - Siliconrepublic.com - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market Research including Growth Factors, Types and Application by regions by 2026 - Eurowire - October 23rd, 2020
- University of Rhode Island names respected professor, researcher, computational scientist to lead research computing efforts - URI Today - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing in Aerospace and Defense Market Trends and Forecast to 2028 - TechnoWeekly - October 23rd, 2020
- New York needs to be reimagined with technology and job training - Crain's New York Business - October 23rd, 2020
- Global Smart Cities Market Analysis 2020-2025: AI, IoT, and 5G (AIoT5G) will be the Most Influential Technologies - 63%, 34%, and 52% Respectively -... - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market 2020 | Outlook, Growth By Top Companies, Regions, Types, Applications, Drivers, Trends & Forecasts by 2025 - PRnews... - October 17th, 2020
- What is an algorithm? How computers know what to do with data - The Conversation US - October 17th, 2020
- Put Employees at the Center of Your Post-Pandemic Digital Strategy - Harvard Business Review - October 17th, 2020
- Most Read articles - LED drivers, Foundry market, Arm staffing - Electronics Weekly - October 17th, 2020
- 4 Reasons Why Now Is the Best Time to Start With Quantum Computing - Medium - October 15th, 2020
- The Future of Computing: Hype, Hope, and Reality - CIOReview - October 15th, 2020
- Menlo Micro, a startup bringing semiconductor tech to the humble switch, is ready for its closeup - TechCrunch - October 15th, 2020
- Rare magnetism found in the world's strongest material - Live Science - October 15th, 2020
- Room-temperature superconductivity has been achieved for the first time - MIT Technology Review - October 15th, 2020
- Global quantum computing market is projected to register a healthy CAGR of 29.5% in the forecast period of 2019 to 2026. - re:Jerusalem - October 15th, 2020
- Bring On The Qubits: How The Quantum Computing Arms Race Affects Legal - Technology - United States - Mondaq News Alerts - September 30th, 2020
- Under the dragons thumb: Chinese heft in VPNs and Indias vulnerability in a quantum-computing era - Economic Times - September 30th, 2020
- New Study Reveals 81% of Fortune 1000 Decision-Makers Have a Quantum Computing Use-Case In Mind For The Next Three Years Quantum computing emerges as... - September 30th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Technologies Market Potential Growth, Size, Share, Demand and Analysis of Key Players Research Forecasts to 2027 - The Daily... - September 30th, 2020
- Quantum Computing in Aerospace and Defense Market Analysis, Trends, Opportunity, Size and Segment Forecasts to 2028 - Crypto Daily - September 30th, 2020
- Pentagon Is Clinging to Aging Technologies, House Panel Warns - The New York Times - September 30th, 2020
- The global silicon photonics market accounted for $520.0 million in 2019 and is expected to reach $3.07 billion by 2025 - PRNewswire - September 30th, 2020
- Are We Close To Realising A Quantum Computer? Yes And No, Quantum Style - Swarajya - September 14th, 2020
- Spin-Based Quantum Computing Breakthrough: Physicists Achieve Tunable Spin Wave Excitation - SciTechDaily - September 14th, 2020
- NSF and DOE to Advance Industries of the Future - ARC Viewpoints - September 14th, 2020
- Global Quantum Computing Market 2025 To Expect Maximum Benefit and Growth Potential During this COVID 19 Outbreak: D-Wave Systems, Google, IBM, Intel,... - September 14th, 2020
- Why quantum computing matters - Axios - August 26th, 2020
- BBVA Uncovers The Promise Of Quantum Computing For Banking And Financial Services - Forbes - August 26th, 2020
- Has the world's most powerful computer arrived? - The National - August 26th, 2020
- Giant atoms enable quantum processing and communication in one - MIT News - August 4th, 2020
- Computer Scientist Don Towsley Named to Team Developing the Quantum Internet - UMass News and Media Relations - August 4th, 2020
- COVID-19 Impact on Quantum Computing Market Research, Growth, Industry Analysis, Size and Share 2025 | IBM Corporation, Google - My Kids Health - August 4th, 2020
- IBM and the University of Tokyo Unveil the Quantum Innovation Initiative Consortium to Accelerate Japan's Quantum Research and Development Leadership... - August 2nd, 2020
- Insights & Outcomes: a new spin on quantum research, and the biology of sex - Yale News - August 2nd, 2020
- This simple explainer tackles the complexity of quantum computing - Boing Boing - July 29th, 2020
- UK firm reaches final stages of the NIST quest for quantum-proof encryption algorithms - www.computing.co.uk - July 29th, 2020
- Looking Back on The First-Ever Photo of Quantum Entanglement - ScienceAlert - July 29th, 2020
- Quantum reckoning: The day when computers will break cryptography - ITWeb - July 29th, 2020
- Ripple CTO: Quantum computers will be a threat to Bitcoin and XRP - Crypto News Flash - July 29th, 2020
- The 6 Biggest Technology Trends In Accounting And Finance - Forbes - July 29th, 2020
- Ripple Executive Says Quantum Computing Will Threaten Bitcoin, XRP and Crypto Markets Heres When - The Daily Hodl - July 25th, 2020
- D-Waves quantum computing cloud comes to India - The Hindu - July 25th, 2020
- Hear how three startups are approaching quantum computing differently at TC Disrupt 2020 - TechCrunch - July 25th, 2020
- The Hyperion-insideHPC Interviews: Dr. Michael Resch Talks about the Leap from von Neumann: 'I Tell My PhD Candidates: Go for Quantum' - insideHPC - July 25th, 2020
- The Computational Limits of Deep Learning Are Closer Than You Think - Discover Magazine - July 25th, 2020
- China's newest technology stock exchange is thriving despite the pandemic - The Economist - July 25th, 2020
- Almost One-Third of Life Science Companies Set to Begin Quantum Computing Evaluation This Year - Lab Manager Magazine - July 17th, 2020
- Europe Quantum Computing Market 2020 | Scope of Current and Future Industry 2025 - Owned - July 17th, 2020
- Opinion |Dance of the synchronized quantum particles - Livemint - July 17th, 2020
- Quantum Software Market 2020: Potential Growth, Challenges, and Know the Companies List Could Potentially Benefit or Loose out From the Impact of... - July 17th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market Brief Analysis and Application, Growth by 2026 - 3rd Watch News - July 17th, 2020
- Standard Chartered and Universities Space Research Association join forces on Quantum Computing - PRNewswire - July 13th, 2020
- The crypto-agility mandate, and how to get there - Help Net Security - July 13th, 2020
- Standard Chartered teams up with Universities Space Research Association on development of quantum computing apps - FinanceFeeds - July 13th, 2020
- How American Express is tapping the benefits of hybrid cloud - The Enterprisers Project - July 13th, 2020
- MIT's New Diamond-Based Quantum Chip Is the Largest Yet - Interesting Engineering - July 11th, 2020
- Chicago Quantum Exchange Welcomes Seven New Partners in Tech, Computing and Finance - HPCwire - July 11th, 2020
- In 1st Of Its Kind Webinar On Quantum Information And Computation In India, IIIT Hyderabad Successfully Conducts Quantum Talks 2020 - IndianWeb2.com - July 11th, 2020
- Satoshi Nakamoto Inspiration Gives Advice On Bitcoins Next Move - Forbes - July 11th, 2020
- QCI Hosts Webinar Series Featuring Optimizations that Deliver Quantum-Ready Solutions at Breakthrough Speed - Stockhouse - July 11th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Technologies Market to Witness a Pronounce Growth During 2025 - News by aeresearch - July 11th, 2020
- Topological Quantum Computing Market Growth By Manufacturers, Type And Application, Forecast To 2026 - 3rd Watch News - July 6th, 2020
- Quantum Software Market (impact of COVID-19) Growth, Overview with Detailed Analysis 2020-2026| Origin Quantum Computing Technology, D Wave, IBM,... - July 6th, 2020
- Regional Analysis and Strategies of Quantum Computing Technology Market during the Forecasted Period 2020-2030 - 3rd Watch News - July 6th, 2020
- Healthcare Shopping: The new age of consumerism - The Financial Express - July 6th, 2020