U.S. officials and scientists unveiled a plan this week to pursue what they called one of the most important technological frontiers of the 21st century: building a quantum Internet. From a report:No, this is just foolishness. Nothing like this will ever have an impact.
Speaking in Chicago, one of the main hubs of the work, they set goals for forging what they called a second Internet -- one that would function alongside the globe's existing networks, using the laws of quantum mechanics to share information more securely and to connect a new generation of computers and sensors. Quantum technology seeks to harness the distinct properties of atoms, photons and electrons to build more powerful computers and other tools for processing information. A quantum Internet relies on photons exhibiting a quantum state known as entanglement, which allows them to share information over long distances without having a physical connection.
David Awschalom, a professor at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, called the Internet project a pillar of the nation's quantum-research program. "It's the birth of a new technology. It's becoming a global competition. Every major country on earth has launched a quantum program ... because it is becoming clearer and clearer there will be big impacts," he said in an interview. The United States' top technology rival, China, is investing heavily in quantum technology, a field that could transform information processing and confer big economic and national security advantages to countries that dominate it. Europe is also hotly pursuing the research. The Energy Department and its 17 national labs will form the backbone of the project.
Meanwhile, there has been progress toward post-quantum public-key crypto standards. This is likely to be used by government agencies with a mandate to keep secrets for 20 years. Only after 20 years, when everybody sees that there are no quantum computers, will it be apparent that the post-quantum crypto was all a waste.
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