The European Commission has quietly announced plans to launch a €1-billion (US$1.13 billion) project to boost a raft of quantum technologies—from secure communication networks to ultra-precise gravity sensors and clocks.No, there is no practical utility to quantum communication or quantum computing.
The initiative, to launch in 2018, will be similar in size, timescale and ambition to two existing European flagships, the decade-long Graphene Flagship and the Human Brain Project, although the exact format has yet to be decided, Nathalie Vandystadt, a commission spokesperson, toldNature. Funding will come from a mixture of sources, including the commission, as well as other European and national funders, she added.
The commission is likely to have a “substantial role” in funding the flagship, says Tommaso Calarco, who leads the Integrated Quantum Science and Technology centre at the Universities of Ulm and Stuttgart in Germany. He co-authored a blueprint behind the initiative, which was published in March, called the Quantum Manifesto. Countries around the world are investing in these technologies, says Calarco. Without such an initiative, Europe risks becoming a second-tier player, he says. “The time is really now or never.” ...
High-profile US companies are already investing in quantum computing, and Chinese scientists are nearing the completion of a 2,000-kilometre long quantum-communication link — the longest in the world — to send information securely between Beijing and Shanghai.
In Europe, the flagship is expected to fuel the development of such technologies, which the commission calls part of a “second quantum revolution” (the first being the unearthing of the rules of the quantum realm, which led to the invention of equipment such as lasers and transistors).
Scott Aaronson and others comment on Candian PM Trudeau's description of quantum computing.
Here is my own attempt at a brief 35-second explanation:
Quantum mechanics is a system for tracking the potential observations of atoms, and other phenomena on that scale. In particular it allows calculating probabilities of multiple possibilities, even tho single outcomes are observed.
A quantum computer is a conjectural machine to do computations from interpreting those multiple possibilities as separate realities that can each contribute to what appears to be an almost-magic parallel computation. Despite almost a billion dollars in investment, no such speedups have been achieved.