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What is the Quantum Internet and why does it matter?

With physicists finding a ‘missing link’ that can make the Quantum Internet a reality, there is increased focus on the disruptive next-generation technology. But what is the Quantum Internet? 

Think Schrodinger's cat--both dead and alive at once. 
Think Schrodinger's cat--both dead and alive at once.  (iStock )

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The Quantum Internet has been touted as a disruptive technology that will change the way we interact with information. Some have even suggested that it will make the revolutionary changes caused by the Internet look like a roadblock. Two years ago, the US joined China and EU in its pursuit of the tech. The US defense department unveiled its blueprint for the Quantum Internet.

Also Read: Is ‘quantum hair’ the key to Hawking’s black hole puzzle?

There are claims that when launched, the Quantum Internet will be something we have only seen within the realms of sci-fi -- think teleportation or such speedy exchange of information that it defies all norms of network and link. While it still remains far from being completely realised, its potential is unfathomable. 

Recent research conducted by the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada has unveiled noteworthy breakthroughs in the Quantum Internet.  According to a study published in the scientific journal Nature by researchers at the university, T-centers, ‘a specific luminescent defect in silicon,’ can provide a link between qubits ( the basic unit of information in quantum computing). T-centers emit light at the same wavelength at which the fibre communication of present day telecom networks do. It's a remarkable step towards harnessing the technology.  

“The silicon material that our existing classical computing components are made out of has shown potential for storing quantum bits, too. These quantum bits – or qubits – are key to next-level quantum computing performance,” writes David Nield in Science Alert. 

But what is the Quantum Internet? 

Quantum computing is the area of study focused on developing computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory. 

Quantum Internet is a technology that would be able to transmit large amounts of information from extensive distances at the speed of light. It would allow quantum devices to exchange information within an environment defying our understanding of networking in the present day, harnessing the laws of quantum mechanics. 

While conventional Internet is coded in either 1 or 0, quantum internet would be superimposed in both at the same time. It would require extensive and advanced hardware to support the transmission. An entire industry of tech professionals and researchers could emerge out of this. 

In the Quantum Internet, data will be encoded in qubits instead of bits and transmitted across quantum devices like quantum computers that are physically separated across multiple other quantum devices. 

While it sounds similar to the classical internet, this transmission here is produced in qubits that are in ‘quantum’ scale or ‘nano’ scale, something so miniscule that it can't be measured at all. 

The technology would revolutionise Internet security and for that reason is anticipated to benefit Data Protection across industries. As per experts, the financial sector would be the biggest beneficiary of this tech, especially when it comes to engagements like securing transactions and transfers. In addition to providing a high speed, secured internet experience, quantum computing would better position organisations to solve complex problems across boards. 

Also Read: Study says sentences have their own connection in the brain





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