Quantum leap eyed on Internet

Government officials and scientists unveiled a plan to build a quantum Internet, pursuing one of the most important technological frontiers of the 21st century.

A quantum Internet relies on atoms, photons and electrons exhibiting a quantum state known as entanglement, which allows them to share information over long distances without having a physical connection.

The international research community perceives the construction of a first prototype global quantum network-the Quantum Internet-to be within reach over the next decade.

The Energy Department and its 17 national labs will form the backbone of the project.

In February 2020, the U.S Department of Energy (DOE)’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research hosted the Quantum Internet Blueprint workshop to define a potential roadmap toward building the first nationwide quantum Internet.

The workshop participants included representatives from DOE national laboratories, universities, industry, and other U.S. agencies with serious interests in quantum networking.

The goal was to provide an outline of the essential research needed, detail any engineering and design barriers, and suggest a path forward to move from today’s limited local network experiments to a viable, secure quantum Internet.

The 38-page blueprint published Thursday lays out research priorities and milestones to aim for, but it doesn’t assign detailed tasks to particular parties.

Users of a quantum Internet would include national security agencies, financial institutions and health-care companies seeking to send data more securely.

Quantum computers are still at an early stage of development and not yet as powerful as classical computers, but connecting them via an Internet could help accelerate their use for solving complex problems like finding new pharmaceuticals or new high-tech materials.

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