Israel to build quantum communications tech lab

Hebrew University wants to lead the way in the development of quantum-based uncrackable communication systems.

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CNET

Israel's Hebrew University is the site chosen for a new research push focused on developing quantum computing communications systems.

Earlier this month, the Jerusalem-based university revealed an award of 7.5 million Israeli New Shekel (NIS), roughly $2.13 million dollars, granted by the Israeli government to build a demonstrator in the institution's Quantum Information Science Center laboratories for quantum technologies.

Hebrew University says the tender will be used to build a national quantum communications system which "paves the way for massive improvements in computational speed and secure communication."

The goal of the project, however, is not to introduce quantum theory into consumer and home products. Rather, it is hoped the scheme will result in a government communication system that cannot be compromised for the purposes of eavesdropping or spying and will also protect data transfers alongside the country's critical infrastructure.

The funding, awarded by the country's Ministry of Defense, will be utilized to create a communication system based on single photons representing quantum bits. Quantum bits, or qubits, make it possible for computer systems to communicate in new ways by representing 0s and 1s simultaneously.

This not only can boost quantum processing unit power but can also make traditional exploit methods redundant.

As quantum computing is based on matter, light, and the laws of physics, solutions using the emerging technology may be far harder to compromise by your average cyberattacker -- and as cyberattack rates rise and hackers now use sophisticated and constantly evolving tactics to strike important targets, governments are seeking new ways to keep critical systems and information secure.

However, current quantum commercial solutions have not been peer reviewed and assessed for their ease of compromise or general reliability.

By awarding a homegrown university funds to develop their own alternatives, Israel will be able to locally peer-review any resulting products and scientists will also conduct hack tests on the ground, giving the government the assurance it needs rather than relying on foreign imports.

"This project to build a national quantum communications system will position Israel in the leading edge of research toward ultimately secured communication systems," said Nadav Katz, director of the Quantum Information Science Center. "With support from the government of Israel and in cooperation with our research partners, this is the first Israeli national project in the emerging field of quantum information technologies."

See also: The latest in quantum computing: 10ft tall, 2,000 qubits, $15m price tag

Last week, Accenture revealed a new partnership with 1QBit to develop a quantum-enabled molecular comparison application for biotechnology company Biogen.

It is hoped the collaboration will result in increased speeds for drug discovery for complex conditions including Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease.

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