To obtain a truly ‘quantum internet’ we will need to develop specific hardware and deploy an infrastructure that can store and broadcast quantum information across a quantum network. Why would we want such a thing? Two main reasons are quantum-secure information sharing and applications of quantum computing capabilities.
The vision for a quantum internet dates back several decades, and as pointed out by H.J. Kimble, a fundamental point toward this goal is improving the control of light and matter at the quantum level. Photons of light are the best carriers of information, while various kinds of matter excitations currently offer the best performance in memory storage of quantum information and information processing (computing) capabilities. While impressive advancement has been seen in both this areas, a critical challenge remains in developing transducers between light and matter quantum excitations as well as repeaters that can help propagate information on longer distances and for longer times. Link
Satellite-enabled communication of quantum information is a step in this direction, a milestone recently pioneered by Chinese researchers, of which I previously covered here. Link.
At the same time, as Davide Castelvecchi reports for Nature, the current efforts underway towards this goal might soon unlock a number of limited quantum-internet features on a shorter timescale. For example, cybersecurity protocols in which quantum correlations are preserved at a single node of the network are more feasible than a full-fledged quantum internet which involves challenging constraints. Notably, some quantum internet features might come earlier than broad real-world applications of quantum computing, as they do not require implementing error correction over millions of qubits. Link
A roadmap in six stages for the development of the quantum internet, is contained in a review article by Delft-based physicists Stephanie Wehner, David Elkouss and Ronald Hanson published in Science. The authors point out that, akin to TCP/IP protocols for the ‘classical’ internet, quantum protocols need to be developed to smooth out interconnections in a multi-node network.
This is a collection of my articles on quantum technology, part of my Quantum Tech Newsletter. You can read the original posts also on Medium:
- Quantum Supremacy
- Analog Computing
- Quantum Internet
- Quantum Games
- Open-Source Quantum Tech
- Quantum Machine Learning
- Space Quantum Communication
© Nathan Shammah — 2017 and beyond.