Quantum technologies are at the forefront of technological innovation worldwide today, with governments investing resources in unprecedented ways towards its conception and integration to industries present today. With immense application in the fields of secure communications, fintech, AI, drug design and material science, the Centre on Quantum Information, Communication and Computing brings together the interdisciplinary expertise present at IIT Madras to address research in this field. The focus of the centre can be categorized into two broad themes:
- Quantum Networks: The development of a quantum fiber optic network from IIT Madras, with termination at IITM Research Park and subsequent extension to Society for Electronic Transactions Security (SETS) is underway at the centre. Through Metro Area Quantum Access Networks (MAQAN), quantum communication can be demonstrated and its prowess over classical communication can be studied. Through quantum cryptography, the centre also aims to produce enhanced information processing as well as efficient secret sharing schemes that can be integrated into the MAQAN testbed.
- Quantum Computing and Simulations: Cloud-based computing is a novel idea which the centre explores to provide access to remote quantum computers where various algorithms and protocols can be explored. The centre focuses on development of newer algorithms that can outperform classical supercomputers. Through simulations Google Quantum AI proved quantum supremacy in this direction but the challenge all quantum researchers face today is the inclusion of noise in scalable quantum computers. Currently qubits, the fundamental unit of quantum computing, face limitations in numbers since noise introduction makes them behave erratically. Quantum Unconstrained Boundary Optimization (QUBO) is a means of benchmarking quantum hardware using mathematical foundations to convert complex optimization problems into quantum interpretable ones. The program will build and demonstrate its ability and weed out issues related to its scaling on photonic platforms.
The centre has been recognized as a dedicated IBM quantum hub. With a highly coveted membership in the IBM Q network, and access to the 53-qubit IBM quantum processor, it is India’s first IBM Q hub and hopes to attract academic and industry partners to play a major role in India’s quantum ecosystem. Through pedagogical means such as Dual Degree programs in quantum computing, the centre trains students on the technology and challenges it faces.
Quantum would be an age-defining era in the progress of human civilization. Through its work, the centre ensures India is at the cornerstone of development of such technologies. Quantum secure communications will soon become a necessity in the age of increasingly complex cyberattacks, while quantum computing would open up endless avenues in the fields of finance, chemistry, and operations research. Through strict focus on information, communication and computing, the center will have a revolutionary and multiplicative effect on the industry of the present and future.
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