Singapore is increasing investment in quantum computing to stay ahead of security threats

Singapore aims to accelerate its quantum computing capabilities with new initiatives to develop related capabilities and quantum devices. It emphasizes the need to do so to ensure that encryption technologies remain robust and capable of withstanding “brute force” attacks.

The Singapore government on Tuesday announced plans to set aside SG $ 23.5 million (17.09 million) to support three national platforms parked under its Quantum Engineering Program (QEP), for up to 3.5 years. The scheme is part of the country’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 (RIE2020) plan.

Two of these platforms were unveiled today, including the National Quantum Computing Hub, which will bring together expertise and resources from the Center for Quantum Technologies (CQT), local universities and research institutions to strengthen relevant capabilities.

Teams from CQT, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, A * STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), and National Supercomputing Center (NSCC) would look to build international partnerships and train new talent to plug a skills gap in the emerging. industry.

Researchers at CQT and IHPC would also develop quantum computing hardware and middleware, including potential applications in a variety of sectors such as finance, supply chain and chemistry. NSCC would provide the supercomputing power needed to develop and train algorithms to be used on quantum computers.

A second program, National Quantum Fabless Foundry, was launched to support micro- and nano-manufacturing of quantum devices across clean rooms operated by industry partners. Hosted at A * STAR’s Institute for Materials Research and Engineering, the platform would facilitate product development in quantum computing, communication and sensing.

Together, both initiatives would strengthen local talent and enable researchers to explore how quantum computing could support a variety of industries as well as develop quantum devices.

The Quantum Engineering Program also encompassed a quantum-secure network introduced to demonstrate “crypto-easy connectivity” and support testing with both public and private organizations. Announced earlier in Februarythe project aimed to strengthen network security for critical infrastructure and cordoned off 15 partners at launch, including ST Telemedia Global Data Centers, Cyber ​​Security Agency, and Amazon Web Services.

In his speech revealing the new initiatives, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policy Heng Swee Keat said the country must remain vigilant amid escalating threats.

Comparing cyber threats to “cat and mouse play,” Heng said efforts were made to stay ahead of malicious actors who continually sought to exploit new gaps. With the cyber landscape rapidly evolving, he said quantum technology is a possible “game changer”.

“Strong encryption is key to the security of digital networks. The current encryption standard, AES 256, has continued because few have the computing power to use brute force to break the encryption. But this could change with quantum computing,” he warned. . “For some cryptographic functions, the fastest quantum computer is more than 150 million times faster than the fastest supercomputer. Quantum computers can solve in minutes the problem of a supercomputer that lasts 10,000 years.”

This underscored the importance of quantum technology research, the minister said. “Our investment in quantum computing and quantum engineering is part of our approach to trying to predict the future and proactively shape the future we want.”

With increasing cyberbullying has come greater cyber risks, he said, noting that Singapore needs to stay invested to stay longer in the face of potential threats.

He added that the fabled smelter would exploit the country’s production capabilities to develop quantum devices, along with industry partners that have solved “real-world challenges”.

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