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Quantum Computing: How To Invest In It, And Which Companies Are Leading the Way? – Nasdaq

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Insight must precede application. ~ Max Planck, Father of Quantum Physics

Quantum computing is no ordinary technology. It has attracted huge interest at the national level with funding from governments. Today, some of the biggest technology giants are working on the technology, investing substantial sums into research and development and collaborating with state agencies and corporates for various projects across industries.

Heres an overview of quantum computing as well as the players exploring this revolutionary technology, and ways to invest in it.

Understanding Quantum Computing

Lets begin with understanding quantum computing. While standard computers are built on classical bits, every quantum computer has a qubit or quantum bit as its building block. Thus, unlike a classical computer where information is stored as binary 0 or 1 using bits, a quantum computer harnesses the unique ability of subatomic participles in the form of a qubit which can exist in superposition of 0 and 1 at the same time.As a result, quantum computers can achieve higher information density and handle very complex operations at speeds exponentially higher than conventional computers while consuming much lessenergy.

It is believed that quantum computing will have a huge impact on areas such as logistics, military affairs, pharmaceuticals (drug design and discovery), aerospace (designing), utilities (nuclear fusion), financial modeling, chemicals (polymer design), Artificial Intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, fault detection, Big Data, and capital goods, especially digital manufacturing. The productivity gains by end users of quantum computing, in the form of both cost savings and revenue opportunities, are expected to surpass $450 billion annually.

It will be a slow build for the next few years: we anticipate value for end users in these sectors to reach a relatively modest $2 billion to $5 billion by 2024. But value will then increase rapidly as the technology and its commercial viability mature,reportsBCG.

The market for quantum computing isprojectedto reach $64.98 billion by 2030 from just $507.1 million in 2019, growing at aCAGR of 56.0%during the forecast period (20202030).According to aCIRestimate, revenue from quantum computing is pegged at $8 billion by 2027.

Which Nations Are Investing In Quantum Computing?

To gain the quantum advantage, China has been at the forefront of the technology. The first quantum satellite was launched by China in 2016. Apaperby The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) highlights how, China is positioning itself as a powerhouse in quantum science.

Understanding the strategic potential that quantum science holds, U.S., Germany, Russia, India and European Union have intensified efforts towards quantum computing. In the U.S., President Trumpestablishedthe National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee in 2019 in accordance with the National Quantum Initiative Act, signed into law in late 2018, which authorizes $1.2 billion to be spent on the quantum science over the next five years.

The Indian government in its 2020 budget has announced a National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications with a total budgetoutlayof INR 8000 crore ($1.12 billion) for a period of five years while Europe has a 1 billioninitiativeproviding funding for the entire quantum value chain over the next ten years. In October 2019, the first prototype of a quantum computer waslaunchedin Russia while in Germany, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europes leading organization for applied research,partneredwith IBM for advance research in the field of quantum computing.

The Companies Leading the Way

IBM has been one of the pioneers in the field of quantum computing. In January 2019, IBM (IBM)unveiledthe IBM Q System One, the world's first integrated universal approximatequantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use. In September itopenedthe IBM quantum computation center in New York to expand its quantum computing systems for commercial and research activity. It has also recentlyinvestedin Cambridge Quantum Computing, which was one of the first startups to become a part of IBMs Q Network in 2018.

In October 2019, Google (GOOG,GOOGL) made anannouncementclaiming the achievement of "quantum supremacy."It published the results of this quantum supremacy experiment in theNaturearticle, Quantum Supremacy Using a Programmable Superconducting Processor.The term "quantum supremacy" wascoinedin 2012 by John Preskill. He wrote, one way to achieve quantum supremacy would be to run an algorithm on a quantum computer which solves a problem with a super-polynomial speedup relative to classical computers. The claim wascounteredby IBM.

Vancouver, Canada headquartered D-Wave is the worlds first commercial supplier of quantum computers and its systems are being used by organizations such as NEC, Volkswagen, DENSO, Lockheed Martin, USRA, USC, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.In February 2019, D-Waveannounceda preview of its next-generation quantum computing platform incorporating hardware, software and tools to accelerate and ease the delivery of quantum computing applications. In September 2019, itnamedits next-generation quantum system as Advantage, which will be available in the Leap quantum cloud service in mid-2020.In December 2019, the companysignedan agreement with NEC to accelerate commercial quantum computing.

Amazon (AMZN)introducedits service Amazon basket in late 2019, which is designed to let its users get some hands-on experience with qubits and quantum circuits. It allows to build and test circuits in a simulated environment and then run them on an actual quantum computer.

Around the same time, Intel (INTC)unveileda first-of-its-kind cryogenic control chip code-named Horse Ridgethat will speed up development of full-stack quantum computing systems.

In addition, companies such as Microsoft (MSFT), Alibaba (BABA), Tencent (TCEHY), Nokia (NOK), Airbus, HP (HPQ), AT&T (T) Toshiba, Mitsubishi, SK Telecom, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Righetti, Biogen, Volkswagen and Amgen are researching and working on applications of quantum computing.

Final Word

Investors looking to invest in the technology can either look at individual stocks or consider Defiance Quantum ETF (QTUM) to take exposure to companies developing and applying quantum computing and other advanced technologies. Launched in April 2018, QTUM is a liquid, low-cost and efficient way to invest in the technology. The ETF tracks the BlueStar Quantum and Machine Learning Index, which tracks approximately 60 globally listed stocks across all market capitalizations.

While quantum computing is not mainstream yet, the quest to harness its potential is on, and the constant progress made is shrinking the gap between research labs and real-world applications.

Disclaimer: The author has no position in any stocks mentioned. Investors shouldconsider the above information not as a de facto recommendation, but as an idea for further consideration. The report has been carefully prepared, and any exclusions or errors in reporting are unintentional.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Quantum Computing: How To Invest In It, And Which Companies Are Leading the Way? - Nasdaq

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February 12th, 2020 at 5:43 pm

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Quantum Internet Workshop Begins Mapping the Future of Quantum Communications – HPCwire

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Feb. 12, 2020 The U.S. Department of Energys Office of Science, under the leadership of Under Secretary of Energy Paul Dabbar, sponsored around 70 representatives from multiple government agencies and universities at the firstQuantum Internet Blueprint Workshop, held in New York City Feb. 5-6. The primary goal of the workshop was to begin laying the groundwork for a nationwide entangled quantum Internet.

Building on the efforts of theChicago Quantum Exchangeat the University of Chicago, Argonne and Fermi National Laboratories, andLiQuIDNet(Long Island Quantum Distribution Network) at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University, the event was organized by Brookhaven. The technical program committee was co-chaired by Kerstin Kleese Van Dam, director of the Computational Science Initiative at Brookhaven, and Inder Monga, director of ESnet at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

The dollars we have put into quantum information science have increased by about fivefold over the last three years, Dabbartold the New York Timeson February 10 after the Trump Administration announced a new budget proposal that includes significant funding for quantum information science, including the quantum Internet.

In parallel with the growing interest and investment in creating viable quantum computing technologies, researchers believe that a quantum Internet could have a profound impact on a number of application areas critical to science, national security, and industry. Application areas include upscaling of quantum computing by helping connect distributed quantum computers, quantum sensing through a network of quantum telescopes, quantum metrology, and secure communications.

Toward this end, the workshop explored the specific research and engineering advances needed to build a quantum Internet in the near term, along with what is needed to move from todays limited local network experiments to a viable, secure quantum Internet.

This meeting was a great first step in identifying what will be needed to create a quantum Internet, said Monga, noting that ESnet engineers have been helping Brookhaven and Stony Brook researchers build the fiber infrastructure to test some of the initial devices and techniques that are expected to play a key role in enabling long-distance quantum communications. The group was very engaged and is looking to define a blueprint. They identified a clear research roadmap with many grand challenges and are cautiously optimistic on the timeframe to accomplish that vision.

Berkeley Labs Thomas Schenkel was the Labs point of contact for the workshop, a co-organizer, and co-chair of the quantum networking control hardware breakout session. ESnets Michael Blodgett also attended the workshop.

About ESnet

The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is a high-performance, unclassified network built to support scientific research. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energys Office of Science (SC) and managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, ESnet provides services to more than 50 DOE research sites, including the entire National Laboratory system, its supercomputing facilities, and its major scientific instruments. ESnet also connects to 140 research and commercial networks, permitting DOE-funded scientists to productively collaborate with partners around the world.

Source: ESnet

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Quantum Internet Workshop Begins Mapping the Future of Quantum Communications - HPCwire

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February 12th, 2020 at 5:43 pm

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For the tech world, New Hampshire is anyone’s race – Politico

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With help from John Hendel, Cristiano Lima, Leah Nylen and Katy Murphy

Editors Note: This edition of Morning Tech is published weekdays at 10 a.m. POLITICO Pro Technology subscribers hold exclusive early access to the newsletter each morning at 6 a.m. Learn more about POLITICO Pros comprehensive policy intelligence coverage, policy tools and services, at politicopro.com.

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If Sanders wins in New Hampshire: If the polls hold true, the tech world may see a ton more heat from the Vermont senator, who has long been critical of tech giants market power and labor practices.

Trumps 2021 funding requests: President Donald Trumps 2021 budget proposal would give big funding boosts to artificial intelligence and quantum computing, as well as the Commerce Departments NTIA and the Justice Departments antitrust division, but not to the FTC or FCC.

Bipartisanship at risk?: House Judiciarys Republican leaders say recent comments from the Democratic chairman about Silicon Valley giants threatens the panels tech antitrust probe, a rare point of bipartisanship in a hotly divided Congress.

ITS TUESDAY, AND ALL EYES ARE ON THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY OF 2020: NEW HAMPSHIRE. WELCOME TO MORNING TECH! Im your host, Alexandra Levine.

Got a news tip? Write Alex at alevine@politico.com or @Ali_Lev. An event for our calendar? Send details to techcalendar@politicopro.com. Anything else? Full team info below. And dont forget: add @MorningTech and @PoliticoPro on Twitter.

WHAT NEW HAMPSHIRE MEANS FOR TECH A week after winning the most votes in Iowa, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is polling first in New Hampshire, with Pete Buttigieg a close-second. (Further behind, and mostly neck-and-neck, are Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar.) What could this mean for the tech world? Just about anything.

But if the Vermont senator prevails in tonights Democratic presidential primary, we can expect to hear more of his usual anti-Amazon commentary (Sanders has repeatedly criticized Amazons labor practices and complained that the online giant pays zero in taxes); more break up big tech talk (Sanders has said he would absolutely look to break up tech companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook); and more attacks on corporate power and influence (he has proposed taxing tech giants based on how big a gap exists between the salaries of their CEOs and their mid-level employees).

Several prime tech policy issues are also fair game: Sanders criminal justice reform plan includes a ban on law enforcements use of facial recognition technology, and he has spoken out about tech's legal liability shield, Section 230 debates that are playing out (often, with fireworks) at the federal level. (Further reading in POLITICO Magazine: Is it Bernies Party Now?)

Plus: Could New Hampshire be the next Iowa? State and local election officials running this primary without apps (voters will cast their ballots on paper, which in some cases will be counted by hand) say no. POLITICOs Eric Geller provides the birds-eye view.

Heres everything you need to know about the 2020 race in New Hampshire.

BUDGET DISPATCH: HUGE JUMP FOR DOJ ANTITRUST, NO BIG CHANGES FOR FCC AND FTC The White House on Monday rolled out its fiscal year 2021 funding requests, including a proposed 71 percent bump in congressional spending on the Justice Departments antitrust division an increase that, as Leah reports, is another indicator that the agency is serious about its pending investigations into tech giants like Google and Facebook. (It would also allow the agency to hire 87 additional staffers.)

In contrast, the FCC and FTC arent requesting any big changes in their funding or staffing. The FCC is seeking $343 million, up 1.2 percent from its 2020 funding level, while the FTC is asking for a little over $330 million, which is about $800,000 less than its current funding. The FCC noted its on track to move to its new Washington headquarters in June, while FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter, a Democrat, objected to the request for her agency, saying in a statement that it does not accurately reflect the funding the FTC needs to protect consumers and promote competition.

Artificial intelligence and quantum computing would also receive big funding boosts under the budget proposal, Nancy reports. So would the Commerce Departments NTIA, to help prepare the agency for 5G and other technological changes, as John reported for Pros.

IS THE BIPARTISAN TECH ANTITRUST PROBE IN JEOPARDY? The House Judiciary Committees investigation into competition in the tech sector which garnered rare bipartisan momentum in a hotly divided Congress could now be in trouble. On Monday night, the committees Republican leaders criticized Democratic Chairman Jerry Nadlers recent remarks railing against the power of Silicon Valley giants, writing in a letter that Nadlers comments "have jeopardized" the panel's "ability to perform bipartisan work." Spokespeople for Nadler did not offer comment. A Cicilline spokesperson declined comment.

The dust-up marks the first major sign of fracturing between House Judiciary Republicans and Democrats over their bipartisan investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct in the tech industry a probe widely seen as one of Silicon Valleys biggest threats on Capitol Hill, Cristiano reports in a new dispatch. The dispute could threaten the push to advance bipartisan antitrust legislation in the House, something House Judiciary antitrust Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) has said the committee plans to do early this year.

T-MOBILE-SPRINT WIN T-Mobile and Sprint can merge, a federal judge is expected to rule today, rejecting a challenge by California, New York and other state attorneys general, Leah reports. U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero is expected to release his hotly anticipated decision on the $26.2 billion telecom megadeal later this morning.

FCCS FUTURE-OF-WORK FOCUS Amazon, AT&T, Walmart, LinkedIn and Postmates are among the tech companies expected at a future-of-work event today that Democratic FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks is hosting at the agencys headquarters.

The public roundtable will address the same kinds of issues that several Democratic presidential candidates have raised, such as concerns about AIs effect on labor economies. Issues of #5G, #InternetInequality, automation & education are colliding in ways that will impact all Americans, Starks wrote on Twitter. Eager to host this important policy discussion!

CCPA UPDATE: GET ME REWRITE! California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday published a business-friendly tweak to his proposed Privacy Act regulations, a change that his office said had been inadvertently omitted from a revised draft unveiled on Friday.

Only businesses that collect, sell or share the information of at least 10 million Californians per year thats about 1 in 4 residents would have to report annual statistics about CCPA requests and how quickly they responded to privacy-minded consumers, under the change. That threshold was originally 4 million.

The update will come as a relief to companies that no longer need to pull back the curtain on their Privacy Act responsiveness. Its also good news for procrastinators, as the new deadline for submitting comments on the AGs rules was pushed back a day to Feb. 25.

TECH QUOTE DU JOUR Senate Judiciary antitrust Chairman Mike Lee (R-Utah) offered colorful praise on Monday for Sen. Josh Hawleys (R-Mo.) proposal to have the Justice Department absorb the FTC, a plan aimed in part at addressing concerns over the FTCs enforcement of antitrust standards in the technology sector.

Having two federal agencies in charge of enforcing antitrust law makes as much sense as having two popes, Lee told MT in an emailed statement. This is an issue weve had hearings on in the Judiciary Committee and I think Sen. Hawley has identified a productive and constitutionally sound way forward. (Hawleys proposal swiftly drew pushback from one industry group, NetChoice, which said it would make political abuse more likely.")

The state of play: Some Republicans in the GOP-led Senate now want to reduce the number of regulators overseeing competition in the digital marketplace. A small contingent of House Democrats wants to create a new federal enforcer to police online privacy. But a vast majority of the discussions happening on Capitol Hill around those issues have so far focused on ways to empower the FTC, not downgrade it.

Mike Hopkins, chairman of Sony Pictures Television, is joining Amazon as a senior vice president overseeing Amazons Prime video platform and movie and television studios.

AB 5 blow: Uber and Postmates on Monday lost the first round in their challenge to Californias new worker classification law, POLITICO reports.

Uber IPO fallout: As tax season begins, some of Uber's earliest employees are realizing they had little idea how their stock grants worked and are now grappling with the fallout on their tax bills after last May's disappointing IPO, Protocol reports.

JEDI latest: Amazon wants Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper to testify in its lawsuit against the Pentagon over the award of the multibillion-dollar JEDI cloud computing contract to Microsoft, POLITICO reports.

ICYMI: Federal prosecutors announced charges Monday against four Chinese intelligence officers for hacking the credit-reporting giant Equifax in one of the largest data breaches in history, POLITICO reports.

Facebook ad tracker: New Hampshire saw more than $1 million in Facebook spending in the month leading up to todays presidential primary, Zach Montellaro reports for Pros.

Can privacy be a piece of cake?: A privacy app called Jumbo presents a startling contrast to the maze of privacy controls presented by companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google, Protocol reports heres how it works, and how it plans turn a buck.

Virus watch: Following Amazons lead, Sony and NTT are pulling out of this months Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as a precaution during the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reports.

In profile: Zapata Computing, a startup that creates software for quantum computers by avoiding as much as possible actually using a quantum machine, Protocol reports.

Out today: Alexis Wichowski, New York Citys deputy chief technology director and a professor at Columbias School of International and Public Affairs, is out today with The Information Trade: How Big Tech Conquers Countries, Challenges Our Rights, and Transforms Our World, a book published by HarperCollins.

Tips, comments, suggestions? Send them along via email to our team: Bob King (bking@politico.com, @bkingdc), Mike Farrell (mfarrell@politico.com, @mikebfarrell), Nancy Scola (nscola@politico.com, @nancyscola), Steven Overly (soverly@politico.com, @stevenoverly), John Hendel (jhendel@politico.com, @JohnHendel), Cristiano Lima (clima@politico.com, @viaCristiano), Alexandra S. Levine (alevine@politico.com, @Ali_Lev), and Leah Nylen (lnylen@politico.com, @leah_nylen).

TTYL.

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For the tech world, New Hampshire is anyone's race - Politico

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February 12th, 2020 at 5:43 pm

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NASA Soars and Others Plummet in Trump’s Budget Proposal – Scientific American

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US research on artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing would see dramatic boosts in funding for 2021, under a proposed budget released by the White House on 10 February. Thebudget requestissued by President Donald Trump makes cuts across most science agencies for the 2021 fiscal year, which begins on 1 October 2020. Although Congress has repeatedly rebuffed such requests for cutsand has, in fact, increased science spending in the enacted budgetsthe 132-page document from the White House offers a view into the administrations priorities and ambitions leading up to the November election.

Among US agencies that fund and conduct research, NASA would see big gains. The National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Energy (DOE), among others, are slated for budget reductions.

Trump is being Trump, says Michael Lubell, a physicist at the City College of New York who tracks federal science-policy issues. All of Trumps budgets have sought to slash funding for the US research enterprise, but he has yet to convince lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Lubell says. He can ask for what he wants, but it doesnt mean its going to happen.

Under the presidents request, NASA would get US$25.2 billion for fiscal year 2021, a jump of nearly 12% over funding enacted by Congress for the current year. The money is meant to jump-start the administrations plans to send astronauts to the Moon by the end of 2024. The request includes $3.4 billion to develop lunar landers that could carry humans. Last year, lawmakers granted $600 million towards developing such landersless than half of what the White House asked for.

Under the banner of a Moon-to-Mars strategy, the presidents request also includes $529 million for robotic exploration of Mars. That would include bringing back a set of rock samples that will be collected by a rover slated to launch in July, and developing an ice-mapping mission to gather information for future landing sites.

NASAs Science Mission Directorate, which funds external research projects and partners, would receive $6.3 billion, which is the same amount proposed by the White House last year but would be a nearly 12% decrease from what Congress allocated. As in previous years, the presidents request aims to cancel NASAs next flagship space telescope, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, as well as the planned Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) and Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Pathfinder Earth-science missions. Also on the proposed chopping block is the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a telescope that flies aboard a jumbo jet. Congress has rejected those requested cuts in past years.

The presidents budget proposes $38.7 billion for the NIH, about a 7% cut on the current level of $41.7 billion. The proposal is consistent with past White House budget requests; last year, the administration requested a $5-billion cut. As in the past 2 years, the budget proposes creating a new $335-million NIH institute, the National Institute for Research on Safety and Quality, to replace the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the Department of Health and Human Services. Also, as part of the administrations broader push to use and develop AI across sectors, the White House allocates $50 million of its proposed NIH budget for the study of chronic diseases using AI.

The White House proposal seeks a total of $7.7 billion for the NSF for fiscal year 2021, a decrease of more than $500 million from the enacted 2020 budget. This includes a 6% decrease in funding for research and development.

The presidents request includes reductions to six of the NSFs seven research directorates, including cuts of more than $100 million each for biological sciences and engineering. Computer and information science and engineering would be the only major research area to see an increase in its funding, consistent with the administrations plans to prioritize AI and quantum computing. These two areas will receive a combined $1 billion of the NSF budget under the presidents proposal. The NSF budget also includes $50 million for workforce development, with a focus on community colleges, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions. But the budget calls for deep cuts to other diversity-focused initiatives, such as the HBCU Excellence in Research programme

Proposed cuts of more than 10% would slash the budgets for geoscience research, the Office of International Science and Engineering and the Office of Polar Programs, which maintains the US research presence in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Tim Clancy, the president of Arch Street, a consulting company in Alexandria, Virginia, with a focus on federal science policy, says that although Congress has typically rejected Trumps proposed cuts to science funding, strict budget caps this year might mean that legislators will have to make difficult decisions about cutting programmes in order to free up money for the presidents AI and quantum initiatives.

The budget would provide $5.8 billion for the DOEs Office of Science, a drop of nearly 17% from 2020 levels. The office would see sharp decreases across its portfolio, which spans biological and environmental research, fusion and high-energy physics. Only the advanced scientific computing programme, with roughly level funding of $988 million, would escape the cuts.

The White House once again proposed slashing funding for clean-energy research. The popular Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)which received a record $425 million last yearwould be eliminated, and the office of energy efficiency and renewable energy would see its budget slashed by roughly 74%. Funding for fossil-fuel research and development would drop by less than 3%, to $731 million.

The proposal faces long odds on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have balked at such cuts. Last year, for instance, the administration sought to cut the Office of Sciences budget by nearly 16%; Congress responded by nudging the total up 6%, to a record $7 billion.

The White House is once again seeking to drastically cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which would see its budget drop by roughly 26%, to $6.7 billion. The budget would provide just $478 million for science and technology, a decrease of 33%. But Congress has repeatedly rejected the administrations attempts to cut funding for the EPA, whose budget has increased since Trump entered the White House.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would receive more than $4.6 billion, a drop of 14%. The core science budget in the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would fall by more than 40% to $327 million, although Congress rejected a similar cut last year. The administration has once again proposed eliminating the National Sea Grant College Program, which promotes research into the conservation and sustainable development of marine resources, and which Congress has thus far maintained. The budget would provide $188 million for sea-floor mapping and exploration efforts along the US coasts.

This article is reproduced with permission and was first published on February 10 2020.

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NASA Soars and Others Plummet in Trump's Budget Proposal - Scientific American

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February 12th, 2020 at 5:43 pm

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New Particle Accelerator In New York To Probe Protons And Neutrons – Here And Now

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wbur "Electrons will collide with protons or larger atomic nuclei at the Electron-Ion Collider to produce dynamic 3-D snapshots of the building blocks of all visible matter," according to the U.S. Department of Energy. (Courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory/DOE)

The United States will soon have its first new particle collider in decades.

Earlier this year, the Department of Energy announced that Brookhaven National Laboratory in Uptown, New York, will be home to the Electron-Ion Collider [EIC], which will investigate whats inside two subatomic particles: protons and neutrons.

Brookhavens website describes this instrument as a machine that will unlock the secrets of the strongest force in nature. Its essentially an electron microscope that shoots electrons at protons and neutrons in order to measure them, says Paul Dabbar, undersecretary for science at the Department of Energy.

You need to accelerate it to very high levels of energy in order to basically shoot it, to do the mapping a little bit like an MRI or a CT scan for the inner workings of matter, he explains.

The electron beam is accelerated very fast in a circle, Dabbar says.

We will generate an electron beam and accelerate it to very, very close to the speed of light, he says. We basically circle around them imparting energy into the electron beam until it reaches the level that we want it so that we can image the protons and neutrons.

Scientists cant accelerate it exactly to the speed of light because as any piece of matter approaches that speed, its mass changes, Dabbar says.

That mass change makes it increasingly hard to get faster and faster, he says. And as you reach the speed of light, you reach an infinite amount of energy needed to get to that last step, and therefore, we cannot do that.

On the practical applications of this research

Well, the basic science research that this country has done and we have led particle physics since World War II, since the Manhattan Project, and a lot of the technologies that we use today have come out of the basic research that came out of the national labs, including in physics. These accelerators can be used for many different things. The first one is medical isotopes that are used for cancer treatment. So I think as many people know, you look at nuclear medicine and nuclear imaging, which is a core part of the medical community right now for treating diseases, that these accelerators can produce those isotopes on the nuclear medicine side that are really critical. And many times you have to produce some very locally. You have to have accelerators around the country to make these isotopes because they decay relatively quickly, some of them. And so for us to move forward, that certainly helps the medical area.

Another one, which is, I think, very interesting here in the near term, is around quantum information technologies. Utilizing quantum, which is inputting data into atoms rather than transistors, is basically a particle physics problem. And so the same equipment that we're looking at, technology that we're developing here and we've developed in the past for kind of older versions of accelerators, is the exact same particle technology that will be used for the upcoming quantum computing and the quantum internet.

Another area is around detectors. The MRI machine came out of the DOE national nuclear physics work. And so we certainly expect that we will have improvements in MRI and CT machines from detectors just like when we helped invent them.

On why this collider wont be up and running until 2030

So first of all, one of the advantages of this particular site and building it here is that we're actually using some existing collider infrastructure. There is a collider at Brookhaven National Lab right now called Rick, which is a relativistic hadron collider. So there's already a loop there that it was accelerating other types of ions. There was an accelerator infrastructure [already] there. And so we're going to finish that mission in terms of imaging for nuclear physics in 2024. Between now and then, we're actually going to be starting both the engineering design in more detail as well as design around components like the accelerators. And then in 2024, when we take down the Rick Collider at Brookhaven National Lab, then we'll start actually installing. And so from then it will take about six years to both do the construction and then do the commissioning and startup.

On why this is the first particle accelerator built in the U.S. in decades

There's a bit of a history around these accelerators. They cost a lot of money. There was one that was looked at a couple of decades ago called the Superconducting Super Collider, which ran into some ... challenges. The U.S. decided to invest in CERN [the European Organization for Nuclear Research] and the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva for that particular piece of science. We've been focusing on other areas. So one of them has been a neutrino piece of infrastructure at Fermilab outside of Chicago.

We've been investing in Europe for some colliders over the last, you know, the near term. And by the way, we continue that is for that particular type of collider. We're increasing our investment by the United States into the European collider at CERN. But we decided to take a look at building this particular collider in the U.S. I think a key thing for your listeners to kind of understand is that the budgets for the Office of Science and science in general at the federal level, including NASA and the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, are at all-time highs, and we're very excited about the support that, very bipartisan support from both Congress and ultimately president signing the budgets for all-time highs. So we're very excited about that.

Chris Bentley produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Kathleen McKenna. Samantha Raphelson adapted it for the web.

This segment aired on February 12, 2020.

Jeremy Hobson Co-Host, Here & Now Before coming to WBUR to co-host Here & Now, Jeremy Hobson hosted the Marketplace Morning Report, a daily business news program with an audience of more than six million.

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New Particle Accelerator In New York To Probe Protons And Neutrons - Here And Now

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February 12th, 2020 at 5:43 pm

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White House Earmarks New Money for A.I. and Quantum Computing – The New York Times

Posted: February 10, 2020 at 9:50 pm


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The technologies are expected to become an important part of national security, and some worry the United States is behind China in their development.

SAN FRANCISCO White House officials on Monday unveiled plans to increase federal funding for the development of artificial intelligence and quantum computing, two cutting-edge technologies that defense officials say will play a key role in national security.

The funding, part of the Trump administrations $4.8 trillion budget proposal, would direct more money for A.I. research to the Defense Department and the National Science Foundation. The administration also wants to spend $25 million on what it calls a national quantum internet, a network of machines designed to make it much harder to intercept digital communication.

For several years, technologists have urged the Trump administration to back research on artificial intelligence which could affect things as diverse as weapons and transportation and quantum computing, a new way to build super-powerful computers. Chinas government, in particular, has made building these machines a priority, and some national security experts worry that the United States is at risk of falling behind.

The proposed spending follows earlier administration moves. In 2018, President Trump signed a law that earmarked $1.2 billion for quantum research. The Energy Department recently began distributing its portion of that money about $625 million to research labs in industry, academia and government.

The dollars we have put into quantum information science have increased by about fivefold over the last three years, said Paul Dabbar, under secretary for science at the Energy Department, in an interview.

Last year, Mr. Trump signed an executive order that made A.I. research and development a national priority.

The new budget proposal would increase funding for artificial intelligence research at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a research arm of the Defense Department, to $249 million from $50 million, and at the National Science Foundation to $850 million from about $500 million. The administration also vowed to double funding for A.I. and quantum computing research outside the Defense Department by 2022.

Big tech companies have invested heavily in A.I. research over the last decade. But many experts have worried that universities and government labs have lost much of their talent to businesses. Under the new funding plan, the National Science Foundation would apply $50 million to help train A.I. experts.

The worlds biggest technology companies, from Google in the United States to Alibaba in China, are also racing to build a quantum computer, a new kind of machine that could be used to break the encryption that protects digital information. Researchers are using the same scientific principles to create new technology that could withstand such an attack.

In 2017, after four years of planning and construction, China unveiled a dedicated quantum communication network between Beijing and Shanghai. Two Chinese provinces invested $80 million in the project. It has also tested quantum encryption techniques via satellite.

With the $25 million, the Energy Department would build a network connecting its 17 national research labs, which include Los Alamos in New Mexico and Argonne outside Chicago. Using this test network, researchers would explore quantum encryption technologies with an eye toward creating a secure network across the country.

This is a test bed for new technologies, said David Awschalom, a professor at the University of Chicago who oversees much of the universitys quantum research and would play a role in the effort at the national labs. We are using the power of the national labs to fuel the country.

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White House Earmarks New Money for A.I. and Quantum Computing - The New York Times

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Opinion | Prepare for a world of quantum haves and have-nots – Livemint

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Buried within the 13,000-odd words of the Union Budget speech on Saturday was a paragraph that set aside 8,000 crore over five years for the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications. Most commentators seem to have either missed or overlooked this budgetary allocation, but in terms of significance, the implications are well worth considering.

More than two years ago, the department of science and technology launched the Quantum-Enabled Science and Technology (QuEST) programme with an aim to develop technical capacity within the country to build quantum computers and communications systems comparable with the best in the world. The first phase of the project was to build the infrastructure and acquire human resources to develop physical and computation structures for improving precision in quantum measurement. The eventual goal is to build quantum computers domestically.

Though the allocation in this years budget is clearly part of a long-term national strategy, I cannot help wonder whether it is, at least in some small measure, a response to Googles recent announcement that it had achieved quantum supremacy"the ability to perform a calculation on a quantum computer that is impossible on a conventional computer. And the fear that we might, once again, be falling behind.

As much as I enjoy science, quantum mechanics gives me a headache. Quantum computing is an order of magnitude more perplexing. Ordinary computers function using binary logic gates that can be either off or on. This is why classical computers store information in bitseither as a 0 or 1. On the other hand, quantum computers can store information as both a 0 and a 1 at the same time using a quantum property called superposition. This means that with two quantum bits (or qubits), information can be stored in four possible states of superposition, and as more qubits are added, the computational power grows exponentially.

While this gives us more computing power, quantum computers are error-prone. The quantum state is delicate. It lasts for a fraction of a second and is easily disrupted by tiniest of vibrations or variations in temperature. This noise" in calculations causes mistakes to occur, and unless we can make them sufficiently error-free, quantum computing will not be commercially viable. Googles breakthrough was to achieve sufficient control over the process to allow its experimental computer to outperform a traditional computer. As a result, its computer could solve in 200 seconds what would take the worlds fastest supercomputer 10,000 years.

We still have a long way to go before quantum computing becomes commercially viable, but there is reason for urgency. As soon as quantum computing becomes commercially viable, much of what we take for granted today will become irrelevant.

Take encryption, for example. Almost all digital security today is based on the RSA algorithm that encrypts messages by relying on the factorization of two large prime numbers. While it is easy to multiply two prime numbers, it is very difficult to factorize them. RSA encryption exploits this feature, making it impossible for even governments and private actors with near infinite computational resources to decrypt messages. This is why we have the confidence to store valuable information in encrypted archives on the cloud, secure in the knowledge that even the largest corporations and most technologically advanced governments dont have the computational capability to decrypt these databases and access the information stored inside.

Once quantum computers are capable of being used for decryption, the computational hurdles of prime number factorization that we now rely on will become trivial to overcome. Shors algorithm already describes a process by which quantum computers could be used find the prime factors of any integer. In 2001, IBM proved that this algorithm works by using a 7 qubit computer to factorize the number 15 into 5 and 3. Googles Sycamore processor harnessed 53 qubits in its latest experiment, demonstrating that much higher computational capabilities are already within our grasp. Once our quantum computers have reached a sufficiently advanced level of stability, even the highest encryption known to man will be easy to defeat.

When that happens, cyber security as we know it will be a thing of the past. All the secure data services that we rely on will be thrown wide open, allowing anyone with a quantum computer to easily access the information within. Given the imminence of major breakthroughs in quantum computing, it is rumoured that there is already an underground market for encrypted data in anticipation of a time when all this information can be decrypted and the secrets of famous personalities can be exposed.

In the war for quantum supremacy, it is those who can understand and use the fundamental technologies behind quantum computing who will emerge dominant. In the not-so-distant future, the world will be divided into the quantum haves and have-nots. It is imperative that India makes every effort to stay in the game if it is to have any hope of remaining relevant. If we are to retain any measure of technological independence, we will need to ramp up our research in quantum computing and actively invest in the development of indigenous quantum computational capabilities.

Rahul Matthan is a partner at Trilegal and author of Privacy 3.0: Unlocking Our Data Driven Future

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Opinion | Prepare for a world of quantum haves and have-nots - Livemint

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White House reportedly aims to double AI research budget to $2B – TechCrunch

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The White House is pushing to dedicate an additional billion dollars to fund artificial intelligence research, effectively doubling the budget for that purpose outside of Defense Department spending, Reuters reported today, citing people briefed on the plan. Investment in quantum computing would also receive a major boost.

The 2021 budget proposal would reportedly increase AI R&D funding to nearly $2 billion, and quantum to about $860 million, over the next two years.

The U.S. is engaged in what some describe as a race with China in the field of AI, though unlike most races this one has no real finish line. Instead, any serious lead means opportunities in business and military applications that may grow to become the next globe-spanning monopoly, a la Google or Facebook which themselves, as quasi-sovereign powers, invest heavily in the field for their own purposes.

Simply doubling the budget isnt a magic bullet to take the lead, if anyone can be said to have it, but deploying AI to new fields is not without cost and an increase in grants and other direct funding will almost certainly enable the technology to be applied more widely. Machine learning has proven to be useful for a huge variety of purposes and for many researchers and labs is a natural next step but expertise and processing power cost money.

Its not clear how the funds would be disbursed; Its possible existing programs like federal Small Business Innovation Research awards could be expanded with this topic in mind, or direct funding to research centers like the National Labs could be increased.

Research into quantum computing and related fields is likewise costly. Googles milestone last fall of achieving quantum superiority, or so the claim goes, is only the beginning for the science and neither the hardware nor software involved have much in the way of precedents.

Furthermore quantum computers as they exist today and for the foreseeable future have very few valuable applications, meaning pursuing them is only an investment in the most optimistic sense. However, government funding via SBIR and grants like those are intended to de-risk exactly this kind of research.

The proposed budget for NASA is also expected to receive a large increase in order to accelerate and reinforce various efforts within the Artemis Moon landing program. It was not immediately clear how these funds would be raised or from where they would be reallocated.

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White House reportedly aims to double AI research budget to $2B - TechCrunch

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Enterprise hits and misses – quantum gets real, Koch buys Infor, and Shadow’s failed app gets lit up – Diginomica

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Lead story - Quantum computing - risks, opportunities and use cases - by Chris Middleton

MyPOV: Master-of-the-edgy-think-piece Chris Middleton unfurled a meaty two-parter on the realities of quantum computing. As a quantum computing fan boy and a proud quantum-changes-everything association member curmudgeon, I was glad to see Chris take this on.

In Quantum tech - big opportunities from (very, very) little things, he reminds us that pigeonholing quantum as "computing" is a mistake:

Quantum technology embraces a host of different systems, each of which could form a fast-expanding sector of its own if investors shift their focus away from computing. These include quantum timing, metrology, and navigation, such as the development of hyper-accurate, portable atomic clocks.

Each use case carries its own risks/opportunities, and need for transparency, particularly when you combine quantum and "AI." However, based on the recent sessions he attended, Chris says we should think of quantum as enhancing our tool kit rather than replacing classic computing outright. He concludes:

In business and technology, we see a world of big objects and quantifiable opportunities, and it is far from clear how the quantum realm relates to it though it is clear that it does. In short, investors, policymakers, and business leaders need something tangible and relatable before they reach for their credit cards.

Translation quantum computing is so 2021 (or maybe 2025). But I find middle ground with the hypesters: we'd better start talking about the implications now. Quantum computing has a far greater inevitability than say, enterprise blockchains.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Bears might be hibernating, but enterprise software vendors sure aren't napping:

Koch buys Infor: When Infor's CFO Kevin Samuelson took over the CEO role from Charles Phillips, many felt that the pending Infor IPO was in play. Well, many were wrong. Derek was on the case:

Infor to be acquired by Koch Industries - whats the likely impact? and the follow-on: Infor answers questions on Koch acquisition. The big question here, to me, isn't why Koch versus IPO. It's CloudSuite SaaS adoption. And which industries can Infor address via SaaS industry ERP? Derek's pieces give us important clues - and we'll we watching.

Google breaks out cloud earnings: ordinarily, earning reports are not watershed moments. But this was the first time "Alphabet" broke out Google Cloud (and YouTube) numbers. Google is obviously wary of the AWS and Azure comparisons. But it's not easy to break it all out anyhow (Google added GSuite revenues in also). Stuart parses it out inGoogle's 'challenger' cloud business hits $10 billion annual run rate as Alphabet breaks out the numbers for the first time.

SAP extends Business Suite maintenance to 2030 (with caveats): Arguably the biggest SAP story since the leadership change. Den had some questions stuck in his craw things to say, so he unfurled a two-parter:

MyPOV: a smart move - though an expected one - for the SAP new leadership team, with the user groups heavily involved in pushing the case. However, the next smart moves will be a lot tougher.

More vendor analysis:

And if that's not enough, Brian's got a Zoho review, I filed an Acumatica use case on SaaS best-of-breed, and Stuart crunched a landmark Zendesk earnings report.

Jon's grab bag - My annual productivity post is up and out; plus I took gratuitous shots at linkbaity Slack-has-ruined-work headlines (Personal productivity 2020 - Slack and Microsoft Teams didn't ruin work - but they didn't fix work either).

Neil explains the inexplicable in The problem of AI explainability - can we overcome it? Finally, I'm glad Jerry addressed the Clearview AI bottom-feeders in Clearview AI - super crime fighter or the death of privacy as we know it? There's a special place in my personal Hades for greedy entrepreneurs who steal faces, drape their motives in totally bogus 1st amendment claims, and plan to sell said data to authoritarian regimes. These bozos make robocallers look like human rights activists.

Lead story - analyzing the wreckage of the Iowa caucus tech fail

MyPOV: This could probably just be the whiffs section. The Iowa caucus app failure is very much like this: if you and I wrote down a step-by-step plan on how to screw up a mission-critical app launch, with everything from poor user engagement to technical failure to lack of contingencies to hacking vulnerabilities (which fortunately were not exploited), we've have this mess.

Hits/misses reader Clive reckons this is the best post-mortem: Shadow Inc. CEO Iowa Interview: 'We Feel Really Terrible' . First off, don't feel terrible, just go away. Shovel snow, or get involved in a local recycling initiative. Make a pinball app. Just stay away from the future of democracy from now on. Then there's this doozy: An 'Off-the-Shelf, Skeleton Project': Experts Analyze the App That Broke Iowa. Tell me if this sounds like something that would go smoothly:

To properly login and submit results, caucus chairs had to enter a precinct ID number, a PIN code, and a two-factor identification code, each of which were six-digits long.

Then there's the IDP, which was warned not to use the app by at least one party, and went headlong into their own abyss. Fortunately, there are a few lessons we can extract. Such as this one from Greg Miller, co-founder of the Open Source Election Technology Institute, which warned the IDP not to use the app weeks ago:

Our message is that apps like this should be developed in the sunlight and part of an open bug bounty.

An ironic message for an app developer named Shadow...

Honorable mention

I got a terrifying college flashback when I saw this one: Note targeting 'selfish' bongo player at Glastonbury Tor demands he stops playing. This prankster brought us back to the future though: Berlin artist uses 99 phones to trick Google into traffic jam alert.

In my line of work, we joke about PR hacks over-achievers pogo sticks pros "circling back", as if a second blast will somehow polish the turd of a crummy pitch as it slinkers by - well, this takes the noxious act of circling back to another level: Family Gets 55,000 Duplicate Letters from Loan Company. But hey, it's not all crash-and-burn here:

I can't let this slide another week:

I think we all realize by now that "free" services are all about data hucksters gorging themselves on the sweet nectar of our personal lives selling us out to the highest bidder. But when an anti-virus company gets it on the action, surely the Idiocracy has been achieved: "To make matters worse, Avast seems to maintain a lukewarm stance on the issue."

I'd like to invite the Avast team to step into my fiery cauldron. The only thing that's lukewarm is your grasping business model and your mediocre adware, err, I mean, anti-virus protection. Just one question: who protects us from you? As for Liz:

I'm with ya, Ms. Miller. Hopefully this is the next best thing....

If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

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Enterprise hits and misses - quantum gets real, Koch buys Infor, and Shadow's failed app gets lit up - Diginomica

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Is quantum innovation the future of tech? – GovInsider

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The mysterious quantum realm, or at least a Hollywood version of it, made its way into pop culture via the recent superhero film, Ant-Man. The hero shrinks down to a subatomic level even smaller than atoms and encounters a bizarre world that warps space and time in unpredictable ways.

At such miniscule scales, the fundamental laws of physics simply break down. But scientists have found ways to store information in individual electrons, making quantum communications possible. Or, they can measure the positions of atoms in incredibly precise ways to design navigation systems.

Were working on a navigation system based on quantum physics, that will be so accurate that you dont need any more GPS, explains Marko Erman, the Global Chief Scientific Officer of French defence and aerospace giant, Thales. He shares the real-world potential of this mysterious, but exciting field.

Beyond the electrons

Quantum physics will shape Thales trajectory over the coming years, says Erman. At least two-thirds of their business will be impacted in some way by new quantum devices and systems in the next 5-10 years, he announced in November at the Saclay research and technology cluster in the south of Paris.

Quantum sensors, quantum communications and quantum computing are the three main areas of focus in Thales research collaborations with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Universit Paris-Saclay. It is theoretically possible to build sensors that are ten thousand times more accurate; develop new energy sources; and create ultra-secure communications.

When people built atomic clocks, they never thought about global positioning systems. They didnt make the connection, says Erman. He was referring to quantum positioning, which can determine the position of a moving object with an almost absolute precision. Imagine being able to navigate submarines or underground vehicles without a satellite connection. Its possible, below seawater, Erman continues.

This technology has potential in the air too. If the GPS is not working on a plane, the pilot would be able to land at the destination with an accuracy of up to 20 kilometres, based only on the onboard inertia system, according to Erman. With a quantum positioning system however, it can land with the precision of within a metre. And in the military, quantum sensors within radar systems could help pilots detect suspicious flying objects or drones much more accurately in crowded airspace.

There are also quantum applications in the medical field. Take cancer treatment, for example. Current therapies can be destructive towards healthy cells, and not very targeted. Quantum devices could turn this on its head, and allow doctors to zoom in on individual diseased cells. I think the next phase of bio science is personalisation and going down to the cellular level; this would not be possible without quantum devices, Erman explains.

The burgeoning quantum innovation space holds great potential to transform the world as we know it. Right now, it is not particularly constrained by much regulation, Erman notes. Unlike genetics or artificial intelligence, which have a lot of debate about the societal impact and ethics, quantum escapes from that.

Research in Asia

Besides its huge focus on quantum innovation, Thales is continuing to build on research in its traditional verticals. Singapore is Thales only Asia research hub, where the company works with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on space research such as nanosatellite technology.

The city was chosen as it is very dynamic, is very high tech oriented, according to Erman. Whats more, the government wants to push innovation and there are problems that are unique because of the size, the mission, he continues. Its an interesting place to be.

Singapore is also where you have land, air, sea, and you can basically address all aspects in one place, adds Herve Jarry, Chief Technical Officer of Thales Solutions Asia. I think also with the proximity of people, different agencies, it is quite easy to interact.

In September 2019, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has announced a S$30 million Joint Aviation Innovation Research Lab with Thales to build advanced air traffic management technologies. These are meant to augment air traffic controllers abilities in a stressful environment, Jarry explains.

Weve been doing some work for instance with the ATM Lab in NTU on the interactions with different sensors and heartbeat, ECG, and so on, Jarry continues. The work will also look at how to reduce the cognitive load on air traffic controllers so they can handle more objects, he adds. Other research areas in Singapore include artificial intelligence and digital identity, Jarry goes on to say.

In the lonely spaces between protons and neurons, there exists a strange quantum world which does not always make much sense. But what does make sense is how it can improve communication, health, transport, and more, in ways we cant fathom today. As Erman puts it: Its beyond imagination.

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Is quantum innovation the future of tech? - GovInsider

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