Pune city likely to be key centre for Quantum Mission

Scientific institutions and industries across the country are expected to contribute to, and benefit from, the prestigious Quantum Mission that the government approved last week, with Pune likely to emerge as one of the key centres of action, scientists said.

The Rs 6,000-crore National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications is aimed at developing capabilities for quantum computing and a range of associated technologies and applications. Research groups working in these areas are spread over more than 50 institutions and laboratories in the country right now, said scientists at IISER Pune.

The mission will have four thematic focus areas — computing, communications, sensing and measurement technologies, and materials and devices. Umakant Rapol, a faculty member at IISER Pune, is expected to play a key role in the development of sensing and measurement technologies.

Rapol and some other scientists associated with the Mission had an interaction with journalists at IISER Pune on Friday. Rapol said the launch of the mission would enable India to leapfrog into the leadership league in quantum technologies. He said the mission would work on delivering specific outcomes that would include both solutions as well as hardware.

Rapol said the benefits from the mission were immense and spread over areas as diverse as defence, cyber security, medical research, encryption and cryptography and genetics.

He said the mission would also encourage private entrepreneurs to collaborate and several new start-ups were expected to emerge as a result.

Speaking about the applications of the technology, Rapol said they are immense and can range from radar to medical science. One of the work would be the development of a Quantum Computer of 3 cubits. Along with this the mission aims to work on encrypted data which can be used to safeguard information and add multiple layers of security needed for banking and other systems.

The mission would encourage start ups to enter the process of hardware as at present almost every bit of it is imported.

He said more than 200 researchers in different scientific institutions were currently working on associated technologies. “Thanks to the work that is already being done, we already have a foundation to build this mission,” he said.

One of the main objectives of the eight-year mission is to develop a 1,000-qubit quantum computer. As of now, the most powerful quantum computer runs on only about 400 qubits.


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