By Manish Alshi, Head, Channels & Emerging Technologies, Check Point Software Technologies India & SAARC
At Check Point Software Technologies, we are passionate about delivering the best security to our customers around the world. To accomplish this, we must stay ahead of cyber criminals by continuously innovating and considering new approaches for cybersecurity. One of the emerging technologies that we are following is quantum computing.
A quantum computer is a type of computer that uses quantum mechanics to process information, allowing it to solve certain problems much faster than classical computers. First suggested in 1980 by physicist Paul Benioff, quantum computing is still in the research phase. However, researchers are already starting to consider the types of applications that could run on quantum computers with the potential to transform our lives. Quantum computers will not only significantly improve the speed of resolving certain problems, but they will also solve problems that stump today’s most powerful supercomputers.
A Brief Background on Quantum Computing: Instead of using classical bits, which can only have a value of 0 or 1, quantum computers operate with data units called qubits (quantum bits). These are very different from the bits in today’s computers. Thanks to the quantum mechanical phenomena, qubits have properties of entanglement and superposition that are not applicable for classical bits, which allows using qubits to run much more efficient computation.
Superposition means that each qubit simultaneously has values of 1 and 0 (and all linear combinations of them). Due to this property, the register of n qubits represents 2n different values at the time. As a result, performing one operation on a quantum computer register holding n qubits is similar to performing 2n operations on the classical computer register holding n bits.
Entanglement of qubits allows researchers to correlate qubits values, as change in one qubit value results in change in the others as well. This property allows researchers to perform certain computational tasks faster, especially in the area of factorization and database searches.
Various techniques are being explored for building quantum computers, including superconducting circuits, trapped ions, and topological qubits. However, specialized software and algorithms are needed to fully utilize the unique features of quantum computing. Achieving practical quantum computing requires resolving a number of obstacles, such as error correction, scaling up the number of qubits, and integrating classical and quantum computing. Despite the challenges, many government, academic and enterprises are working on developing quantum computers and exploring their potential applications. And they have made good progress. The first quantum computer created in the mid-nineties had capacity for only two qubits.
In 2022, IBM unveiled a quantum computer with 433 qubits. However, a 433 qubit computer is still insufficient for resolving complex real-life problems. Quantum computing is also gaining popularity in India, where the ecosystem of universities, developers, and students are all actively involved. Consequently, the country is emerging as a talent hub for quantum computing. The government also allocated 8000 Crore towards the National Mission on quantum technologies and applications to spur developments in quantum computing, cryptography, communications, and material science.
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