Chinese tech giant Baidu is developing its own quantum computer to compete with the United States in the race toward next-generation information processing. The computer does not outperform rivals currently being developed in America but, according to one expert, signals dire competition over the future of data security.
Arthur Herman, a senior fellow at the conservative think tank Hudson Institute, said that Baidu’s recently announced quantum effort fell short of similar efforts being made by companies like Google and IBM.
“This quantum computer that they’re touting has only 10 qubits, and that’s a pretty small number,” Herman said during an Aug. 29 interview on the “China in Focus” program on NTD, a sister media outlet of The Epoch Times.
“Google’s Sycamore quantum computer has 60 Plus qubits. IBM’s is upwards of 70 qubits.”
A quantum bit, or qubit, is a basic unit of quantum information used by quantum computers. Whereas traditional processors use regular bits, which can be turned on or off to create binary code, qubits can be turned on, off, or both on and off simultaneously in a phenomenon known as superposition.
The existence of this third state will allow quantum processors, theoretically, to achieve much quicker processing speeds than their traditional counterparts.
Governments and companies alike are thus rushing to develop quantum computing in order to be the first to achieve data dominance, as such quick processing speeds could allow for the mass decryption of current security measures. However, the real-world applications of the technology are still only very limited.
Herman, who directs the Hudson Institute’s Quantum Alliance Initiative, said that that limited usefulness now belied the world-changing implications of quantum technology. Moreover, he said, the race toward revolutionary quantum capabilities could hit a breakthrough at any time.
“There’s too many indications that with one or two major breakthroughs, at the conceptual level [or] at an engineering level, that suddenly the process will take [a] much shorter time than even the experts have wanted to predict,” Herman said.