The development that quantum technologies have undergone over the last five years is spectacular. Quantum computers represent only one of the possible manifestations of this scientific discipline; in fact, there are other applications of current knowledge of quantum mechanics that also they have enormous potential. Quantum communications are one of them.
China is one of the countries that is dedicating more resources to the development of this technology. In June 2020, researchers from this gigantic Asian country managed to transmit an encrypted message that was impossible to break between two ground stations separated by a distance of 1,120 kilometers. This is one of the biggest milestones reached so far in this field, but it is by no means the only one.
In fact, in April 2022 a second group of Chinese scientists managed to carry out a secure and direct quantum communication (QSDC) 102.2 km away. The United States, Europe and China are the great powers that are dedicating the most resources to the development of quantum communications, but there is a country that has unexpectedly stolen their portfolio: India. And it is that with hardly any noise it has achieved something that reminds us of its enormous scientific capacity: it already has a fully operational quantum communications network ready.
To belittle a silent giant like India would be a very serious mistake
The effort that the great powers are facing in order to develop their own quantum communications network is due to the need to develop an infrastructure that is inherently secure. One of the principles of quantum mechanics on which this technology is based is entanglement, and precisely what makes these networks so secure is that the entanglement between the nodes involved in communication is broken if it is violated. somehow. Even if someone simply watches her.
India’s first quantum communications network links Sanchar Bhawan Telecommunications Department and National Computing Center
Before going any further, a brief note: entanglement is a phenomenon without equivalence in classical physics that consists in the fact that the state of the quantum systems involved, which can be two or more, is the same. This means that these objects are part of the same system even if they are physically separated. In fact, distance does not matter. If two particles, objects or systems are entangled by this quantum phenomenon, when we measure the physical properties of one of them we will instantly be conditioning the physical properties of the other system with which it is entangled. Even if you are on the other side of the universe.
In addition, this technology allows large volumes of information to be transferred in an essentially instantaneous manner. The first quantum communications network that India has developed links the Sanchar Bhawan Telecommunications Department in New Delhi and the National Computing Center that is housed in the same city. The scientists who have designed this infrastructure consider it so secure that Ashwini Vaishnaw, who is the Minister of Communications, Electronics and Information Technology, has called a hackathon to see if any security expert is capable of breaking it.
A hackathon is a meeting in which experts in programming and security of computer systems participate who seek to achieve a common goal. The objective in this case is to break the quantum infrastructure of India with the intention of making it more secure (if that is possible).
The reward that applicants can get amounts to approximately one million euros for each of the vulnerabilities that they find It’s not but not bad. Of course, they have it really difficult. As we have seen, this technology is inherently safe, so unless they have access to a quantum computer, it will be difficult for them to overcome this challenge. It will be interesting to see if any hackers reach this milestone.
Cover image: Pixabay
In Xataka: Spain is going to have a 127-qubit quantum computer: it will be in the Basque Country and will be assembled by IBM
Leave a Reply