AT&T hopes quantum networking will amplify the power of quantum computing

CNET | 6/27/2019 | Stephen Shankland
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The sci-fi-looking IBM Q is a standalone quantum computer, but AT&T hopes to link many such machines with a quantum network.

Quantum computing, the processing technology that's turbocharged by the weirdness of subatomic physics, is only just becoming a reality. But the newness of the field hasn't stopped AT&T from going another step further.

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The telecommunications giant is researching technology to link quantum computers, hoping to amplify their power much the way networking of conventional computers led to massive supercomputers and services spread across the globe. Quantum networking could lead to a similar leap for quantum computers and possibly form the foundation for a quantum internet.

AT&T doesn't expect to bring this technology to market any time soon. Instead, it's trying to figure out what's possible and bring it closer to commercial reality through a partnership called Intelligent Quantum Networks and Technologies (INQNET). The work involves researchers from the California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, national laboratories, startups, the military and other institutions.

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"How do you get it to a point where you can scale it so you can afford to buy one of these things?" said AT&T Chief Technology Officer Andre Fuetsch, sharing details of the effort for the first time at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, California, the research and development lab that's headquarters for the quantum networking project. "We want to make sure we're there and we're relevant."

The mind-bending physics of quantum mechanics, which governs the workings of atoms and smaller particles, are good for more than superhero movie plot twists. They're also well suited to the computing needs of designing new medical drugs, optimizing financial investments and cracking today's encryption.

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Qubits, the fundamental element of quantum computing, allow for the transmission of more information than conventional computer processors, which handle data as a bit -- a state of 1 or...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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