Quantum Leap

Creating a new generation of quantum scientists and engineers, the National Quantum Mission of India is aimed at transforming the economy and establishing the country as a global leader in the field of quantum research and development.

By Bilal Mustikhan | June 2023

With an incredible ability to solve complex problems beyond the scope of classical computers, the rise of quantum computing is bringing another revolution in the world of technology, as it can perform certain tasks exponentially faster than classical computers and has the potential to revolutionize fields such as drug discovery, cryptography, and materials science.

India, like many other well-developed and technologically advanced countries, has recognized the potential of quantum computing and has launched a national quantum mission to ensure that the country stays at the forefront of this technology as well. The Rs. 6,000 crore (approximately USD 800 million) mission, launched in March 2021, aims to build a quantum computer with 20 to 30 qubits by 2025 and a 100-qubit quantum computer by 2030.

But where does India stand in the global race to build quantum computers that can realize their full potential?

Currently, the field of quantum computing is dominated by the United States, China, and European countries that have invested billions of dollars into quantum research. These countries are home to some of the world’s leading tech companies, such as IBM, Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba, all of which have made significant strides in the development of quantum hardware and software.

However, India is not far behind. Over the past few years, the country has been steadily increasing its investment in quantum research, with the aim of catching up with the world’s leaders in the field of computing and information sciences. The national quantum mission is a major step in this direction.

The mission has set several objectives to achieve in the next few years. In addition to building quantum computers with 20 to 30 qubits by 2025 and 100 qubits by 2030, the mission aims to create a strong ecosystem for quantum research in India. This includes building a quantum computing platform that can be accessed by researchers across the country, developing quantum-safe cryptography to protect sensitive data, and training a new generation of quantum scientists and engineers.

One of the key challenges that India faces in its quest to build a quantum computer is the lack of a robust industry for quantum hardware and software. While India has a strong base of software engineers and a burgeoning start-up ecosystem, it lags behind in the development of hardware for quantum computing.

To address this gap, the national quantum mission has set aside a significant portion of its funding for the development of indigenous quantum technologies. This includes the development of quantum chips, cryogenic systems, and other hardware components essential for building a quantum computer.

In addition to developing quantum hardware, the mission also aims to develop software tools and algorithms that can run on a quantum computer. This is a crucial area of research as the performance of a quantum computer is highly dependent on the quality of the software running on it. The mission aims to develop a suite of software tools that can be used by researchers across the country to run quantum simulations and solve complex problems.

Another challenge that India faces is the shortage of trained personnel in the field of quantum computing. To address this gap, the mission aims to train a new generation of quantum scientists and engineers through a series of workshops, training programs, and research collaborations. The mission is also aimed at attracting top talent from around the world to work on quantum research in India.

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