- What is quantum computing? – Quantum computers are essentially computers that use the principles of quantum mechanics to solve complex problems and perform calculations that would take billions of years for ordinary computers to perform. Instead of using bits (0s and 1s), which lie at the heart of how our personal computers and other electronic devices communicate, quantum computers use qubits to perform computations. They are, essentially, the electronic equivalents of the subatomic particles that lie at the base of quantum mechanics, a branch of physics wherein objects can act as a wave and as a particle at the same time.
- Advantages of developing quantum computing capabilities – it will help in improving the state of national security as quantum-level encrypted information becomes a common communication standard; It will place the country in league with select countries including the US, China, and the Netherlands among others.
- The Union Budget 2020-21 allocated Rs. 8000 crores for quantum computing for a period of five years which shall be used for a National Mission on Quantum Technologies and applications.
- What is the QuEST programme – The Department of Science & Technology has set up a programme called Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST). As a part of the programme, it will invest a sum of Rs 80 crore in a span of three years to facilitate research in the field of quantum computing. This can be described as the Phase 1 of India’s quantum computing program where the country will be laying out the basic infrastructure that is needed to promote research in this field.
Practice Question – What do you understand by the term ‘Quantum Computing’. Highlight the aims of the QuEST programme in this area. – 200 words
Sources: https://www.indiatoday.in/technology/news/story/india-starts-working-on-quantum-computers-1428902-2019-01-11 ; https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/why-india-is-spending-rs-8000-crore-on-quantum-computing/articleshow/74096739.cms
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