For years, quantum computing, which leverages the difficult, and, to many, spooky science of quantum mechanics, has been a subject mostly of interest to the technical elite. Yet as scientists and now policymakers point to the rapid progress that China is making in the field, it’s the intelligence community that appears to be the most alarmed.
“Our folks in the intelligence community are completely worried about this,” said Will Hurd, a Republican congressman from Texas and a former CIA officer who has criticized President Trump for his failure to defend the nation’s spy agencies.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration hosted an event focused on quantum science with major companies in attendance, and has demonstrated an appetite for confronting China on issues like trade and economic espionage. Yet researchers working in the field argue that much more needs to be done in advance of China’s progress.
For a great majority of the population, the science behind quantum computing is difficult to comprehend. A quantum computer, like a standard computer, encodes information as bits to process information, but it does so by manipulating the physical properties of the quantum bits, or qubits, allowing them to store and process an exponentially larger amount of data in a far shorter time period.
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