Possibilities of Emerging Quantum Technologies
Electrons, Atoms, and Q-Bits, Oh My!
Quantum technologies rely on properties that do not readily show themselves in our daily lives. And at least right now, they are not easily understood by the public. I will undoubtedly be the first to admit that I have no more understanding than the average layperson regarding anything quantum. That fact, however, does not stop me from being entirely enthralled by having discussions about it or hearing experts speak on the possibilities that lie within the realm of quantum technologies and even mulling over what that means, especially in terms of national security and defense.
Technologies like these involve manipulating components (think atoms and electrons) at scale, in complex experiments, at which point certain fundamental properties can be observed and subsequently utilized in specific ways. Just as bits describe information in classical computing, qubits (quantum bits) are the objects of information referred to in quantum computing.
A New ‘Wave’ of Thinking – It’s a Feature, Not a Bug
As research develops and concepts become more understood, the government intends to replace old tech with newer tech and harness the possibilities within quantum technology in ways that are not yet entirely known because it has not been explored deeply enough – yet.
Recently, I attended a webinar hosted by the former Principal Director for Quantum Science at the Department of Defense, where guests briefly heard about certain quantum technologies presently drumming up excitement within the defense and science communities. Current hot topics from a defense perspective involve atomic clocks, quantum sensors, quantum computers, and quantum networks.
- Atomic Clocks – Provide resilient timing in contested environments and novel precision timing applications. The ability to synchronize clocks is essential for positioning and timing attack prevention.
- Quantum Sensors – Still in research stages. Improved ISR sensors, better PN, and newer/cheaper manufacturing techniques.
- Quantum Computing – There’s been significant investments and some early demonstrations. Still in the discovery stage for new classes of algorithms and applications, research, adoptions of new machines, and post quantum cryptography.
- Quantum Networks – Early stages. Long-term proposals are parallelizing quantum computing, connecting networks, and potentially quantum internet.
Even if we are still quite a long way from a mainstream understanding (some experts say about ten years or more), the exciting potential quantum technologies hold and their role in securing our nation – whether on the battlefield or in cyberspace – is just waiting to be explored. Thinking and learning about emerging, future-oriented technology like this is part of the reason NetCentrics has recently established our very own Tech Gurus employee resource group, because getting the right people with the right knowledge to hang out in rooms together is how innovation blooms.
We’re always on the hunt for big thinkers – check out our open positions here.
The exciting potential quantum technologies hold and their role in securing our nation - whether on the battlefield or in cyberspace - is just waiting to be explored.