Indian Army sets up Quantum Lab, Artificial Intelligence Centre | 31 Dec 2021

For Prelims: Quantum Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Internet-of-Things, Industrial Revolution 4.0.

For Mains: Applications of Quantum Technology and associated Challenges, Artificial Intelligence and its advantages and disadvantages.

Why in News

The Indian Army has set up a Quantum Computing Laboratory and a centre for Artificial Intelligence in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The Quantum Computing Laboratory has been established with the help of the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), to spearhead research and training in this key developing field.
      • National Security Council is a three-tiered organization that oversees political, economic, energy and security issues of strategic concern.
    • Indian Army has also established an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Centre at the same institution with over 140 deployments in forward areas and active support of industry and academia.
    • Training on cyber warfare is being imparted through a state-of-the-art cyber range and cyber security labs.
  • Objective:
    • The two Centres will carry out extensive research in developing the transformative technologies for use by the armed forces.
    • The Centres will also facilitate the research and training in the developing field of Quantum and artificial intelligence.
    • It will help it facilitate the next generation of communication and transform the current system of cryptography to post-quantum cryptography.
    • The key thrust areas of Quantum Technology are Quantum Key Distribution, quantum computing and quantum communication.
      • QKD, also called Quantum Cryptography, is a mechanism to develop secure communication.

Quantum Technology/Computing

  • About:
    • Quantum Technology is based on the principles of Quantum mechanics that was developed in the early 20th century to describe nature at the scale of atoms and elementary particles.
    • Using quantum superposition, a set of unbreakable codes or super-speedy information processing, quantum computers are able to mimic several classical computers working in parallel.
      • Quantum computers compute in ‘qubits’ (or quantum bits). They exploit the properties of quantum mechanics, the science that governs how matter behaves on the atomic scale.
    • The first phase of this revolutionary technology has provided the foundations of our understanding of the physical world, including the interaction of light and matter, and led to popular inventions such as lasers and semiconductor transistors.
  • Applications:
    • Secure Communication:
      • China recently demonstrated secure quantum communication links between terrestrial stations and satellites.
      • This area is significant to satellites, military and cyber security among others as it promises unimaginably fast computing and safe, unhackable satellite communication to its users.
    • Research:
      • It can help in solving some of the fundamental questions in physics related to gravity, black holes etc.
      • Similarly, the quantum initiative could give a big boost to the Genome India project.
    • Disaster Management:
    • Pharmaceutical:
      • Quantum computing could reduce the time frame of the discovery of new molecules and related processes to a few days from the present 10-year slog that scientists put in.
    • Augmenting Industrial revolution 4.0:
  • Challenges Associated with Quantum Computing:
    • The dark side of quantum computing is the disruptive effect that it can have on cryptographic encryption, which secures communications and computers.
    • It might pose a challenge for the government also because if this technology goes into the wrong hands, all the government’s official and confidential data will be at risk of being hacked and misused.
  • Related Indian Initiatives:
    • Budget 2020 allocated Rs 8000 Crore to a National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA) for a period of five years.
    • In 2018, the Union Cabinet approved the launch of the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to make India a leading player in Cyber-Physical Systems.
    • In 2018, the government initiated serious discussions in quantum technologies and kick started research projects across 51 organisations under QUEST – Quantum Enabled Science and Technology. However, no significant progress is made in this field until NM-QTA.

Source: IE