South Korean Government Pushes for Development Project of First Quantum Computer

Dec 01, 2015

South Korean Government is pushing for a long-term project to develop Quantum Computer that is thousands times faster than Super Computer. It is planning to secure all of industries’ capabilities in finance, medicine and communication by securing major Quantum Computer’s technologies that even give advanced countries hard time to develop.

According to government organization on the 29th, Ministry of Science, ICP and Future Planning (MSIP) is establishing plans to push for development of Quantum Computer by middle of 2016. Currently with leadership from Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), about 10 experts from research institutes, universities and others are gather to prepare strategies.

“Quantum Computer is important step to secure future original technologies, and we are currently researching on how to plan for it and will push for development after going through internal reviews.” said a person from MSIP.

Quantum Computer is a computer technology that uses quantum mechanics such as superposition, entanglement, coherence and others. Unlike current computers that use binary system, Quantum Computers use countless number of values between 0 and 1 by arithmetic operations. As number of spaces for calculation increases, its performance is thousands times faster than current Super Computer with best performance. It can calculate a value for Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic that might take 1,000 years for Super Computer to calculate in just 1 hour.

Research team from University of New South Wales in Australia implemented 2-bit Quantum Computer.  Picture = University of New South Wales <Research team from University of New South Wales in Australia implemented 2-bit Quantum Computer. Picture = University of New South Wales>

Although theoretically its performance exceeds that of Super Computer, its development speed is very slow. Although the U.S., Europe, Japan, and China are putting billions of dollars per country, none of them was able to develop ‘Logical Qubit (minimum processing unit)’ that is a yardstick in Quantum Computer technologies. South Korea is also only in process of small theoretical study or basic testing. Compared to advanced countries, difference in level of technologies is widened close to 10 years.

South Korean Government is planning to increase its Quantum Computer technologies, which are in beginning stage, through large-sized R&D and secure original technologies. However it is predicted internally that it will invest tens of million dollars because this project will be a long-term project that will last more than 10 years. Target of this project will be most of major technologies such as transistor, element, software (SW), and algorithm to secure Logical Qubit. Since Quantum Computer is an area that transcends normal studies in physics, electron, and data processing, many experts from variety of fields will participate during development process.

“Currently about 10 experts are participating and we are looking to establish plans to push this project by middle of next year.” said a person from ETRI. “Our goal is to develop major technologies such as device, SW and algorithm, and it will take about 10 years to develop a prototype.”

Quantum Computers are not commercialized yet. If they are developed, they will have huge effects on our daily lives and all of industries. With superior calculation ability, it can be used to analyze Big Data. It can also be used for weather forecast, prediction of catastrophes, and establishment and order of tactics and simulation for national defense. One can also expect implementation of Quantum Communication and Quantum Censor.

Quantum Computers receive spotlight in cryptography field. Safety for RSA code that is currently being used the most is decreasing as new Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic Algorithm is developed. It is practically impossible to decode Quantum Cryptography since it uses quantum mechanics’ principles.

Experts are pointing out that South Korean Government needs to look at this project in long-term and develop accordingly. Considering South Korea’s technology level, it will take significant amount of time and it will be easy to fail if South Korean Government is simply focused on putting out results as soon as possible.

“It is desirable to see that South Korean Government is participating in developing plans since Quantum Computers have significant industrial influence on cryptography system and others.” said Moon Sung Wook who is the head of KIST Quantum Information Research Team. “However since it will take more than 10 years of steady investments due to South Korea’s technology levels, it needs to be very patient until results are out.”

Staff Reporter Jung, Yongchul | jungyc@etnews.com

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