The draft strategy for the development of a national quantum Internet was presented last week by the “US Department of Energy” at a press conference at the “University of Washington”.
The move is part of the broader context of the international quantum “race” in the telecommunications industry, with the report providing –at the US department’s announcement– a path to the development of the “National Quantum Initiative Act”, which became a Trump-signed law in December 2016.
The creation of quantum mechanics communication systems is one of the most important technological objectives of the 21st century, and it is considered that prototype creation will take place within the next decade.
In February the “DOE National Laboratories”, universities and industry bodies met in New York to develop a strategy for a national quantum Internet, indicating the research to be done, the obstacles to be overcome and the short-term objectives.
According to the US Department, its national laboratories will form the backbone of the new quantum Internet, which:
“will be based on quantum mechanics laws to control and transmit information more securely than ever before.”
“It is currently in the early stages of development; the quantum Internet could become a secure communication network and have a major impact in areas critical to science, industry and national security.”
Critical steps in this direction are already taking place in Chicago. In February, scientists from the “Argonne National Laboratory” and the “University of Chicago” conducted a photon interlock in a “quantum loop” of tens of kilometers in the Chicago suburbs, successfully creating one of the largest terrestrial quantum networks in the country. This network is intended to connect to “Fermilab” in Illinois.
A key feature of quantum communications is the extremely high difficulty of intercepting information that moves through their networks; scientists hope to use this for networks that are safe against hackers, with the first use expected to take place in areas such as banks, national security, aircraft telecommunications, etc.
In the long run, the arrival of this technology in mobile phones would dramatically affect the lives of people around the world.
Scientists are also exploring how the quantum Internet could accelerate the exchange of even larger amounts of data, revolutionizing telecommunications; while it is believed that the creation of networks of hypersensitive quantum sensors could also allow even the prediction of earthquakes, or the more efficient search for resources underground.