200 million shekels to finance Israel’s first quantum computer

The Israel Innovation Authority and the Ministry of Defense will allocate around NIS 200 million to develop Israel’s first quantum computer and lay the foundation for Israeli computer capacity, which they say will lead to advances in economics, technology, security, engineering and science.

According to their joint announcement on Tuesday, the budget will fund two parallel tracks. The Israel Innovation Authority will focus on developing the infrastructure for quantum computing capacity, which it says could include the use of foreign technologies. The Ministry of Defence’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR & D) will meanwhile establish a national center with quantum capabilities that will work with academic, industrial and government partners to develop a quantum processor and then a complete quantum computer.

In short, quantum computers process exponentially more data than classical computers using quantum bits or qubits, the basic unit of quantum information. While classical computers perform logical operations based on one of two positions – 1 or 0, on or off, up or down – quantum computers can hold qubits in “superposition”, a quantum mechanical principle that they are both at the same time. In this state, quantum computers can “see through a large number of potential outcomes simultaneously,” according to an explanation from MIT Technology Review.

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There is also the concept of entanglement, where pairs of qubits exist in a single quantum state. “Quantum computers utilize qubits wrapped in a kind of quantum daisy chain to perform their magic. The ability of these machines to speed up computations using specially designed quantum algorithms is why there is so much interest in their potential.” according to the magazine.

Illustrative photo: A quantum computer. (Credit: sack master; iStock by Getty Images) fleve

The field is relatively new and hugely complex, but experts say quantum computers can be hugely beneficial in industries such as cybersecurity, materials and pharmaceuticals, banking and finance and industrialization.

Israel has about 20 start-ups and companies currently focusing on quantum technologies, including Quantum Machines, which raised $ 50 million last September. The company was founded in 2018 and continued to develop a standard universal language for quantum computers, as well as a single platform to help them run.

Tech giants like Google, Microsoft, IBM and Intel are all racing to make quantum computers more accessible and build their own systems, while countries like China, USA, Germany, India and Japan are pouring millions into developing their own quantum capabilities.

According to the latest market forecasts, the global quantum computer market size is expected to be $ 487.4 million by 2021 and to reach $ 3.7 billion by 2030.

Drawing. computer processors. Conventional computers process information or bits, each of which can be either a zero or one, in the binary computer language. In contrast, quantum bits used by quantum computers can be a zero and a simultaneous one. (Credit: Rost-9D; iStock by Getty Images)

“Quantum computing is a technology that Israeli industry cannot ignore,” Dror Bin, chief executive of the Israel Innovation Authority, said in a statement on Tuesday. “The industry must develop knowledge and access to infrastructures where it can develop growth engines for activities where it decides to be a leader. »

Danny Gold, head of DDR & D at the Department of Defense, said that “quantum computers at all levels appear to be an important future component of state security and technological superiority.”

“The start of this process under the national program is an important step towards achieving Israeli independence in this area,” he added.

The new initiative is part of the launch in 2018 of Israel’s national quantum science and technology program, with a budget of 200 million shekels, later expanded to 1.25 billion shekels. The program was launched to facilitate relevant quantum research, develop human capital in the field, encourage industrial projects and invite international research and development cooperation.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the launch of the program that it would help increase Israel’s ability to gather intelligence. “What we are talking about today is promoting Israel as a world leader in quantum information science,” Netanyahu said in 2018.

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