The UK government has committed £153 million towards the development of quantum technologies, bringing total investment into the nascent technology to £1 billion.
Through the National Quantum Technologies Programme the £153 million is expected to be matched with a £200 million investment from the private sector.
Quantum technologies could potentially bring about technological breakthroughs in the field of cryptography as quantum computers are expected to be exponentially faster than HPC system operating today.
UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, commented in a release that: “The UK is a world leader in quantum technologies. The funding announced today builds on the great progress we have made and lays the foundations for a quantum technology industry here in the UK.
“It will ensure that we remain at the forefront of this exciting and evolving field and that we realise its potential, from improved healthcare to more accurate and reliable navigation, that is fundamental to so many services.”
In classical computer science a bit has two states, 1 or 0, it is always one or the other, never both. However, subatomic particles can exist in more than one state, a phenomenon often referred to as quantum entanglement. Quantum computing takes advantage of this.
Think of a globe; a bit with two states can be at the North Pole or the South of the globe. A Qubit can be put in an entangled state so it can be at the two poles the same as the bit, but it can also be anywhere on the globe at the same time. Quantum computing can fit more information into each Qubit due to the extra space opened up by entanglement. This allows for more computational power with the added advantage of using less energy than a traditional computer.
Science Minister Chris Skidmore commented that: “This milestone shows that Quantum is no longer an experimental science for the UK. Investment by government and businesses is paying off, as we become one of the world’s leading nations for quantum science and technologies. Now industry is turning what was once a futuristic pipedream into life-changing products. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action – taking the most innovative ideas from our world-leading researchers and showing how they can be applied, from diagnosing diseases to detecting gas leaks.”