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Indian Army Sets Up Quantum Computing Lab, AI Centre

Image credit: adgpi; Twitter

The Indian Army, with support from the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), has established a quantum computing laboratory centre at the Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE) in Madhya Pradesh. The centres will carry out extensive research in developing transformative technologies for use by the armed forces. The Army also set up an artificial intelligence (AI) centre at the same institution with over 140 deployments in forward areas and active support of the industry and academia.

Through a state-of-the-art cyber range and cybersecurity labs, the centre will run training sessions on cyber warfare. The Army’s involvement in electromagnetic spectrum operations was discussed during a seminar on Electromagnetic Spectrum and National Security organised in October last year. Since then, the government has urged Army technology institutions to invest in AI, quantum technology, and cyberspace.

According to the Defence Ministry, the research undertaken by the Indian Army in the field of quantum technology would help it leapfrog into next-generation communication and transform the current system of cryptography to post-quantum cryptography (PQC). Key thrust areas are quantum key distribution, quantum communication, quantum computing, and PQC. The initiative uses a multi-stakeholder approach and incorporates academia (such as the Indian Institutes of Technology), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), research institutes, corporate firms, start-ups, and industry players. Requisite timeline-based objectives with adequate funding have been worked out for projects and the progressive fielding of solutions in the Army is expected on a fast-track basis.

Last year, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology launched the country’s first Quantum Computer Simulator (QSim) Toolkit. The project was developed by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee (IIT-Roorkee), and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). Quantum Simulators are devices that allow scientists to study quantum effects, which are otherwise difficult to study in a lab. The simulator is a software library that simulates quantum computation on classical computers. The novelty of this simulator is that it includes various types of errors that can occur in a realistic, practical device.

Similarly, in September 2021, the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi (IIT-Delhi) set up a Centre of Excellence on Quantum Technologies. The centre brings research in the field into one facility. As OpenGov Asia had reported, the centre focuses on quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum sensing and metrology, and quantum materials and devices. The centre helps principal investigators pitch more projects from the Indian Department of Science and Technology. Along with the design and development of new quantum materials, the centre carries out research activities related to quantum processors and cryogenic controllers, the modelling and technology development of semiconducting qubits, and CMOS and 2D materials. Furthermore, the centre explores quantum sensing and metrology, quantum biophotonics, the development of single-photon detectors, and sources based on semiconductors (2D materials, III-V). The centre also studies superconductors, the development of bright single and entangled photon sources based on SPDC, quantum secure communication in free space, and optical fibre, quantum imaging, and sensing using quantum correlated photons.

The global quantum computing market size is expected to reach US$3728.4 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 25.40%, according to a recent report. Countries from around the world, including India, are increasing investment and fostering partnerships to improve quantum technology development.

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