BEIJING, Feb. 3 (Beijing time) afternoon, according tomedia reports, the Indian government recently said it plans to invest 80 billion rupees (about $1.12 billion) over the next five years for quantum computing research. Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s finance minister, said the plan would promote quantum technology research under the co-ordination of the National Mission project on quantum technology and applications.
Before India, however, many countries had pre-empted the deployment of quantum computing.
In 2016, the European Commission announced an investment of 1 billion euros (about $1.13 billion) in quantum computing projects. In 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill pledging to invest $1.2 billion in quantum computing. At the same time, China plans to invest $2 billion in quantum computing research over the next few years. Other countries, such as Japan, Germany and Canada, have announced plans to promote quantum computing projects.
India, by contrast, has little experience in this area and few research projects on new technologies. Last year, India’s Ministry of Science and Technology (DST) set up a research project called Quantum Empowerment Science and Technology (QuEST) at a research institute in the southern city of Heidra, with a total investment of about 800 million rupees ($11.2 million).
Although India is only just beginning to dabble in quantum research, companies like IBM and Google are already vying for quantum supremacy, where quantum computers can solve problems that traditional computers can’t actually solve. Amazon and Microsoft, on the other hand, have begun to provide cloud services for quantum computing.
Arvind Krishna, IBM’s newly appointed chief executive, said in an interview last year that he had not seen any Indian start-ups active in quantum computing. He also said India could miss out on the advantages of quantum without investing.
To keep pace with other countries in quantum computing, India needs to invest in the right projects. Perhaps India could also work with big companies such as IBM and Google for mutual benefit.