Quantum gauntlet has to be thrown down
The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee listened to a report on quantum science and technology by Xue Qikun, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in a collective study session last week.
That Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, stressed the importance and urgency for the Party to deepen its understanding of the cutting-edge science and technology, and strengthen planning and support for quantum science-related technologies, industries and applications indicates the Party's top decision-makers are committed to spurring the country to further advance their development.
Quantum technology is a frontier field. At present, the most mainstream application of quantum technology is superconducting computers. Quantum computers have not really been commercialized, and they have only greatly improved computing power for certain specific problems. Even so, their application in specific problems and scenarios can still produce revolutionary results. For instance, research into new materials and medicines.
The potential breakthroughs in such areas make quantum science and technology the engine of future technology.
Although China is one of the leading players in quantum telecommunications, it still lags behind the United States in quantum computing.
It is good to see Alibaba and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have jointly set up the first quantum computing science laboratory in Asia in 2015. Given the research work's huge demand for funds, the involvement of a large investor such as Alibaba, which is also a would-be active user of it, is necessary for the country to combine technology research and development with industrial applications. And it is conducive to preventing a brain drain in the sector, in which some big US companies, including Google and IBM, are trying to attract talents from around the world, particularly China, to their labs.
It is to be hoped that the government can further prompt other big companies, particularly those that can directly use the technology, to take part in such joint programs in quantum science and technology research and development. So that the scientists and engineers will not only get better payment but also stay closer to industrialization and commercialization of the technology.