A promising start for the first quantum network in Sherbrooke

A promising start for the first quantum network in Sherbrooke

This text was taken from the Courrier de l’économie of July 11, 2022. to subscribe, Click here.


The first quantum network was born in Sherbrooke. But what is a quantum network? It’s a computer network — fiber optic, to be exact — through which data travels the same way as a normal network (or the Internet). With the difference, instead of exchanging information, we exchange “qubits” of information.

in which Qubits are the building blocks of quantum computing. A bit, as we know it, has only two states: either it is zero or it is one. A stack of bits makes it possible to create more advanced functions that take the form of the software and apps we use every day on our workstations and smartphones.

Qubits are superpositions of bits that can accept one of two values ​​of a bit simultaneously. This feature makes it possible to overclock a computer’s computing power. For example, a quantum computer developed by Google researchers is currently 158 million times faster than the most powerful “traditional” supercomputer in solving certain mathematical equations.

A quantum network is the digital equivalent of a quantum computer for modern computing. The promise is that quids can be exchanged from one quantum processor to another. All of this, in the long run, will obviously go very quickly.

“Open” quantum

We’re not there yet. That’s what building an “open” quantum network, like the one set up in Sherbrooke, is overseen by Numan, a Quebec organization working with Bell. The open network means that private companies, from existing start-ups to the largest telecommunications companies in the quantum cluster around the University of Sherbrooke, can plug into the network to test their own applications or their own quantum hardware. .

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The potential is huge: it’s up to the training “systems”.Artificial intelligence – For digital assistants that help doctors diagnose diseases and prescribe the most promising treatment,” says Numana, “for example – real-time optimization of the routes of all cars in a city simultaneously to avoid traffic jams and reduce pollution.”

Currently there are very few such networks in the world. But if we put them all together, we’ll have a quantum internet that could help get the field off the ground. Numana estimates the sector is worth US$340 million today; By the end of the decade it could rise to three billion.

Canada, which has always been at the forefront of university research in quantum science, needs pilot projects like this to maintain its position as a leader. China, Germany and the US are investing heavily in these technologies. Their skills are immense, especially in both cyber security and simple IT.

Numana should also announce the creation of another quantum network this fall, this time in Montreal, in partnership with Telus. A third network should see the light of day with a third partner in Quebec.

In short, to be continued.

This text was taken from the Courrier de l’économie of July 11, 2022.

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