News Excerpt
The Indian government is planning to invest ₹8,000 crores ($1.12 billion) in quantum computing research over five years.The government in its budget 2020 has announced a National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA) to be implemented by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).

•    India’s investment comes quite late as plenty of nations have already allotted grants for research in the area.
•    The European Commission and the UShas already allotted grants in the area. Meanwhile, China has already committed more than $2 billion over the years to fuel quantum research. Other countries such as Japan, Germany, and Canada have also announced various schemes to boost quantum computing programs.
•    To catch up with other countries in the quantum computing field, India will need to invest in the right kind of projects.

What is Quantum Computing?
    An ordinary computer chip uses bits. These are like tiny switches, that can either be in the off position – represented by a zero – or in the on position – represented by a one. Every app you use, website you visit and photograph you take is ultimately made up of millions of these bits in some combination of ones and zeroes.
    However, in nature, things aren’t just on or off. They’re uncertain. And even our best supercomputers aren’t very good at dealing with uncertainty.When one goes down to a really small scale, weird things start to happen.
    Instead of bits, quantum computers use qubits. Rather than just being on or off, qubits can also be in what’s called ‘superposition’ – where they’re both on and off at the same time, or somewhere on a spectrum between the two.A qubit allows for uncertainty.
    The other thing that qubits can do is called entanglement. Normally, if two coins are flipped, the result of one-coin toss has no bearing on the result of the other one. They’re independent. In entanglement, two particles are linked together, even if they’re physically separate. If one comes up heads, the other one will also be heads.
    Almost anything can knock a qubit out of the delicate state of superposition. As a result, quantum computers have to be kept isolated from all forms of electrical interference, and chilled down to close to absolute zero.

    Quantum computers aren’t only about doing things faster or more efficiently but the things that even the best supercomputer just isn’t capable of.
    They have the potential to rapidly accelerate the development of artificial intelligence. Google is already using them to improve the software of self-driving cars. They’ll also be vital for modelling chemical reactions.
    Right now, supercomputers can only analyse the most basic molecules. But quantum computers operate using the same quantum properties as the molecules they’re trying to simulate. They should have no problem handling even the most complicated reactions.
    That could mean more efficient products – from new materials for batteries in electric cars, through to better and cheaper drugs, or vastly improved solar panels. Scientists hope that quantum simulations could even help find a cure for Alzheimer’s.
    Quantum computers will find a use anywhere from predicting the financial markets, to improving weather forecasts, to modelling the behaviour of individual electrons, Cryptography etc.

Quantum technology is opening up new frontiers in computing, communications, cyber security with wide-spread applications. It is expected that lots of commercial applications would emerge from theoretical constructs which are developing in this area.With a solid research base and workforce founded on significant and reliable government support, it can lead to the creation of innovative applications by industries, thereby stimulating economic growth and job creation, which will feed back into a growing quantum-based economy. The government’s financial and organizational support will establish standards to be applied to all research and help stimulate a pipeline to support research and applications well into the future.