India sees growing interest in quantum computing: IBM

Quantum computers could open the door to new scientific discoveries, life-saving medicines, and improvements in supply chains, logistics, and financial data modeling.

Quantum computers could open the door to new scientific discoveries, life-saving medicines, and improvements in supply chains, logistics, and financial data modeling.

India is seeing a growing interest in quantum computing, with students, developers, and academia actively participating. As a result, the country is emerging as a talent hub for quantum computing, Sandeep Patel, MD, IBM India/South Asia Region, said in an interview. Edited excerpts

What are the basic differences between quantum computing and classical computing?

Quantum computing is an exciting new technology that will shape our world of tomorrow by providing us with an advantage and a myriad of possibilities. Quantum computing is a completely different way of processing information compared to today’s classical computing systems. While today’s classical computers store information as binary states 0 and 1, quantum computers rely on the fundamental laws of nature to perform calculations using quantum qubits. Unlike the part that has to be 0 or 1, qubits can be in a range of states, allowing for exponentially larger computations and giving them the ability to solve complex problems that even the most powerful classical supercomputers can’t do.

How will quantum computing provide an advantage over classical computing in terms of solving humanity’s daily challenges around life and work?

Quantum computers take advantage of the phenomenon of quantum mechanics to process information and are expected to shed light on the processes of molecular and chemical interactions, tackle difficult optimization problems, and enhance the power of artificial intelligence. Such developments may open the door to new scientific discoveries, life-saving medicines, and improvements in supply chains, logistics, and financial data modeling. Today, IBM is actively working with large companies and governments, to help develop quantum roadmaps, and to help grow a quantum talent pool to make quantum computing practical for the benefit of science, industry, and society.

What will IBM India’s contribution to the global Big Blue initiatives around quantum computing be?

In India, we are seeing a growing interest in quantum computing with the active participation (among the highest levels) of students, developers and academia in various initiatives such as the IBM Quantum Challenge, IBM Quantum Summer School and Qiskit Challenge-India (Qiskit is open – a software development toolkit created by IBM for the Quantum developer community), etc. We also have a growing community of Qiskit Advocates and IBM Quantum Ambassadors in India. Furthermore, we regularly organize India-focused programs such as Qiskit India Week of Quantum, which celebrated Women in Quantum to begin their journeys in Quantum, and was attended by nearly 300 students. The Qiskit textbook is available in Tamil, Bengali and Hindi and was accessed over 30,000 times by students in India in 2021 alone. We see India as a talent hub for quantum computing skills which are essential for the growth and maintenance of such a multidisciplinary field.

Will you give us some details about IBM’s collaboration with leading institutions in India to accelerate training and advanced research on quantum computing?

The academy plays an important role in building skills for any deep technology including quantum. Hence, last May, we announced our collaboration with leading educational institutions in India through the IBM Quantum Educators programme. Faculty and students at these institutions will have access to IBM Quantum systems, quantum learning resources, and quantum tools via the IBM Cloud for educational purposes. This allows them to run on actual quantum computers and program them using the open source Qiskit framework. In partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, IBM conducted a course on quantum computing on the NPTEL platform last year, in which more than 10,000 participants took part. We also collaborate with academia to conduct joint research on quantum computing, and recently, one of the research papers was accepted into the Higher Physics Conference.

At what stage is India in quantum computing, how long will it take to see marketing and where will you find the collective applications?

India is poised to play a pivotal role in the global quantum technology revolution. IBM is committed to helping India advance its quantitative agenda by developing the talent landscape and building an ecosystem with industry, business, academia and government. We rely on vibrant Indian talent and expertise to help solve some of our most pressing challenges. According to the quantum roadmap announced in 2021, IBM introduced its first 127 kbit processor. In 2022, IBM has expanded its quantum roadmap even further to clearly show how we will carve out a path toward frictionless quantum computing. This expanded roadmap includes our plans to build a 4000+ qubit processor by 2023, along with important milestones for building an intelligent quantum software orchestration platform that will remove the noise and complexity of quantum machines, and allow large and complex problems to be easily solved. discrete and resolved across a network of quantum and classical systems. Once this era of quantum-centric supercomputing materializes, it will open up new, large, and powerful computational spaces for industries globally.

What is the strategy of IBM people on quantum computing for India?

In India, we have a strong team working across research, development and consultancy, working closely with academia, industry and the public sector. Our team is working to support and accelerate India’s national quantum mission and is involved in building a robust quantum ecosystem as this is critical to success. The team has been constantly growing to support the needs of the Indian ecosystem and is expected to grow even more in the coming years as it supports more and more customers to make their quantitative journey. We have quantum scientists and engineers around the world conducting basic research to improve technology, as well as collaborating with our partners to advance toward practical applications of quantum advantage for science and business. Quantum requires interdisciplinary skills and IBM has the best scientists and engineers working together to improve technology and advance applications of interest to industry.

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