The Apple M1 Mac processor ushers in a new era of Arm-based PCs. The company’s CEO is optimistic

The British chipmaker that dominates smartphones is now trying to fix the poor performance of PCs.

 

Arm’s Cortex-X1 chip design can be tweaked to improve performance, and this approach should be useful as Arm tries to expand its processor family to PCs.

 

 

For years, computer manufacturers have tried to sell PCs based on Arm processors, a family of energy-efficient ones that are used in smartphones.

 

However, compared to models running on Intel and AMD’s x86 chips, Arm-based PCs suffer from performance and software compatibility flaws.

Now the Apple M1 processors developed by Apple, a member of the Arm family, which are used in the new MacBook, change the idea of the Arm PC.

 

The M1 chips offer not only good battery life, like the Qualcomm Arm chips in some Windows laptops, but also good performance. At the same time, x86 PCs improved only gradually.

 

So it’s no surprise that Arm CEO Simon Segars has become more optimistic.

 

“We’re now starting to see real innovation happening in a market that hasn’t had a lot of innovation”, Segars said in an interview during the CES 2021 technology conference. “Every time there’s a gap that makes people question how we do it, it energizes innovation.”

CAIT Asks Government to Ban WhatsApp and Facebook over New Privacy Policy

In a message to Prasad, CAIT demanded that “the government immediately ban WhatsApp from implementing the new policy or impose a ban on WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook, “the traders’ organization said.

 

 

In New Delhi: On Sunday, the traders ‘ organization CAIT wrote to Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanding that the government restrict WhatsApp in implementing its new privacy policy or impose a ban on the messaging app and its parent company Facebook.

 

The Confederation of All Traders of India (CAIT) said that thanks to the new privacy policy, “all kinds of personal data, payment transactions, contacts, location and other important information of the person using WhatsApp will be obtained and can be used for any purpose using WhatsApp.”

 

In a message to Prasad, CAIT demanded that “the government immediately ban WhatsApp from implementing the new policy or impose a ban on WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook, “the traders’ organization said.

CAIT said that Facebook has more than 200 million users in India, and giving it access to each user’s data could pose a serious threat not only to the economy, but even to the country’s security.

 

From the representatives of Whatsapp, the following was heard: “To further increase transparency, we have updated our privacy policy to describe that in the future, businesses may choose to receive secure hosting services from our parent company Facebook to help manage their communication with their customers on WhatsApp. Although, of course, the user is left to the user whether they want to communicate with the company via WhatsApp.”

 

The spokesperson also said the update does not change WhatsApp’s data sharing practices with Facebook and does not affect how people communicate privately with friends or family, wherever they are.

 

“WhatsApp remains deeply committed to protecting people’s privacy. We are communicating directly with users via WhatsApp about these changes so that they have time to familiarize themselves with the new policy over the next month,” the representative added.

 

An email sent to Facebook asking for comment on the issue did not elicit a response.

 

CAIT General Secretary Pravin Khandelwal said: “WhatsApp’s amended privacy policy is an infringement on an individual’s privacy and is contrary to the basic principles of the Constitution of India, and therefore CAIT has demanded immediate government intervention.”

The US Department of Justice has also been a victim of the SolarWinds Orion compromise

The US Department of Justice has joined the list of federal agencies that have fallen victim to a vulnerability in the SolarWinds Orion network management platform.

 

“On December 24, 2020, the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) of the Department of Justice became aware of previously unknown malicious activity related to the global SolarWinds incident, which affected, among others, several federal agencies and technology contractors.” the ministry said in a statement. “This activity provided access to the Department’s Microsoft O365 email environment.

“Upon learning of the malicious activity, OCIO eliminated the identified method by which the attacker gained access to the O365 email environment. At the moment, the number of potentially accessible O365 mailboxes is limited to about three percent, and we have no evidence that any secret systems have been affected.”

According to the federal law for state systems, this is considered a “serious incident,” the statement said.

In addition, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) also warned on Wednesday that it is considering the possibility that an attacker linked to recent incidents not only used Orion as an entry point, but also abused Security Claims Markup Language (SAML) tokens. “CISA continues to work to confirm the initial access vectors and identify any changes in tactics, methods and procedures (DTS),” the statement said.

There are cases where initial access was obtained by password guessing, password spraying, and improperly protected administrator credentials accessed through external remote access services.

Since its use in cyberattacks became known in December, investigators have discovered two vulnerabilities in Orion. It is unclear whether the same attacker is responsible for both. Earlier this week, four U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies said that an elevated persistent threat (APT) entity, “likely of Russian origin,” is responsible for most or all of the recently discovered and ongoing cyber compromises of both government and non-government networks.

U.S. federal agencies that have publicly acknowledged being exposed to Orion’s vulnerabilities include Treasury, Commerce, Health, Homeland Security, Energy, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, State Administration, and the National Nuclear Safety Administration. According to ZDNet, the governments of three states were also affected, as well as the city of Austin, Texas, and a number of technology companies, including Microsoft and Cisco Systems.

Log in to JetBrains

An investigation is also underway following several news reports that software from a Czech Republic-based technology company called JetBrains, which makes a widely used software development tool called TeamCity, could have been used to infiltrate SolarWinds ‘ infrastructure or used separately to attack organizations. An article in the New York Times notes that JetBrains has a research laboratory in Russia. One of its clients is SolarWinds.

In a statement, JetBrains CEO Maxim Shafirov said his company “did not participate or participate in this attack in any way. SolarWinds is one of our clients and uses TeamCity, a continuous integration and deployment system used as part of software development. SolarWinds has not contacted us or provided any details regarding the breach, and the only information we have is what has become publicly available. It is important to emphasize that TeamCity is a complex product that requires proper configuration. If TeamCity was somehow used in this process, it may well have been due to a misconfiguration rather than a specific vulnerability.”

He added that JetBrains has not been contacted by any government or security agency about recent cyber attacks.

China Telecom launches Quantum-encrypted phone Calls

Using a special SIM card and app, some China Telecom smartphone users in Anhui Province can make phone calls protected by quantum encryption. And the race to develop quantum technology could threaten traditional encryption and lead to new, more secure forms of cryptography.

 

 

China Telecom, one of the country’s three state-owned telecommunications giants, has announced a new pilot program allowing smartphone users to make phone calls protected by quantum encryption. Last week, the company announced that some users of China Telecom, one of the country’s three state-owned telecommunications companies, can now make quantum-encrypted phone calls using a special SIM card and a smartphone app.

 

This is the latest move by China, demonstrating the country’s commitment to all aspects of quantum computing – an area that, like artificial intelligence and 5G, is also very important.,

 

The service was launched as a pilot program in Anhui Province, where China Telecom said it was gaining “friendly customers.”

 

To get the new feature, users must visit a regular China Telecom store and change their SIM card. According to a statement from China Telecom last Friday, it also requires the company’s “Quantum Secure Call” app, which is currently only available for Android. The company did not disclose pricing for the new feature.

 

Unlike traditional encryption methods, which rely solely on algorithms, quantum encryption is protected by the laws of quantum physics. In theory, all information encrypted with traditional encryption algorithms can be hacked by a computer in enough time. Quantum cryptography differs in that any attempt to intercept data will cause a physical change in the message, alerting the sender and recipient of possible eavesdropping.

For users of China Telecom’s new service, launching a quantum phone call will generate two secret keys using quantum information technology. They are used to verify the caller’s identity and call information, providing end-to-end encryption.

 

According to Gao Chengshi, a cryptography expert and founding partner of blockchain developer Shanghai Hashvalue Information Technology, the current technology that uses asymmetric cryptography to verify identity is easier to develop than quantum encryption, and it is secure enough to meet current market demand. However, ultra-fast quantum computers that can easily crack such encryption schemes could threaten current technologies.

 

“The development of quantum technology will violate the privacy of asymmetric cryptography,” Gao said. “When quantum computing reaches a higher and more practical level, quantum computing should be used for encryption.”

 

China Telecom said the new service will first be available to users from certain sectors that need “absolute security,” such as the government, military and financial institutions. The company added that it will be expanded to civilian use in the future.

 

The service was developed by a joint venture created last November by China Telecom and quantum telecommunications company quantumctek Group. Liu Guiqing, chief executive of China Telecom, said at the time that the company aims to provide quantum call security to more than 10 million mobile users within five years.

 

The companies also said they will release special phones with quantum encryption features that are already being developed, according to a January 1 report by Chinese media outlet Jiemian, citing a company representative who did not provide additional details.

 

Although quantum cryptography has been around for many years, there are practical limitations, such as transmission distance. In recent years, China has become a leader in increasing data transmission distance using quantum key distribution.

 

Other countries are also seeking to take the lead in quantum science and technology, with the US, European Union and UK publishing their own plans in recent years. Companies in other countries are also already using quantum technologies in phones and telecommunications. Last May, Samsung released a 5G smartphone that includes a chipset that generates quantum random numbers as an additional layer of security. British-based BT Group and European-based Toshiba also announced last October the deployment of a 6-kilometer quantum secure network between two local research institutes.

 

According to the domestic think tank Qianzhan Industry Research Institute, China’s quantum telecommunications market size in 2019 was 32.5 billion yuan (US $ 5 billion), up almost 20 percent from a year earlier.

Modular data centers from Microsoft Azure: why do we need “special clouds”?

Microsoft’s “Azure in a transport container” offering could play a prominent role in its cyber-sovereignty and “special cloud” efforts in the coming year. Announced last fall, the Azure Modular Data Center, or MDC, is an Azure data center in a transport container that is delivered to remote locations on a truck platform. It runs under the Azure Stack Hub (at the moment) and can work without a connection or via satellite. In addition to the data center device itself, Azure MDC is interesting for a number of reasons.

 

 

 

When Microsoft announced MDC last October, many readers and commenters wondered why Microsoft had once again hit out at the idea of Azure in a container. After all, Microsoft has been experimenting with Azure in transport containers since 2008 – a couple of years after other tech companies like Sun Microsystems (with “Project Blackbox,” back in 2006) – promoted the concept of a data center in a container.

 

Bill Karagounis of Microsoft, who is currently the general manager of Azure Global Industry Sovereign Solutions, gave the following answer to this question: “In the past, container solutions required operators, and they were individualized when implemented. Azure MDC adds value by running the Azure OS. with familiar APIs, resource management, and cloud portal; these are very different from previous container solutions. Azure MDC modules are already used in defense and private sector organizations.”

According to Karagounis, this, combined with advances in computing and networking, heating / cooling systems and other related technologies, made the time right for the transition to a container-based approach. Companies that are in the process of migrating to the cloud may want to take advantage of prefabricated data centers, where they can continue to work locally while increasing capacity. Users can be attracted by the pay-as-you-go business model offered for MDC.

 

“The company is committed to building back-up infrastructure to support 5G, smart cities and edge computing, going far beyond the content delivery network that previously required “edge” needs, and radically improving the quality of service. Fast deployable and small data centers fill this gap well with the ability to run highly optimized edge scenarios with a public cloud application model when the data center is unavailable or takes a long time to configure, ” added Karagounis.

 

However, there are several other reasons why Microsoft decided to go the container route with MDC: Azure MDC is by definition a peripheral computing device, and Microsoft has slowly and steadily built a stable line of intelligent peripherals. Microsoft’s alleged lack of tactical peripherals, which AWS refers to in an unpublished complaint about Microsoft’s JEDI victory, is one of the key areas in which AWS has said it has a clear advantage over Azure.

 

These devices are the “tactical edge” that were part of the JEDI RFP; these are the ones that are suitable for operating environments with the ability to connect limited connections and storage availability. These devices included both high-strength portable devices, such as Microsoft Azure Stack Edge Pro computers, and modular, fast-deployable data centers. In October, Microsoft officials said that Azure MDC modules were “initially used by defense and private sector organizations.”

 

Microsoft seems to use the terms “sovereign” and “special cloud” mostly interchangeable on their website. A product like Azure MDC is specifically designed for this sovereign / dedicated cloud / government space. Right now, Azure MDC is running Microsoft’s hybrid computing offering, the Azure Stack Hub. But it looks like it won’t always be that way – or just that – based on the information Microsoft shared with me last year. As Azure’s presence continues to grow globally, the installed base of Azure MDC may also increase.

iPhone maker Foxconn may save Chinese electric car startup Byton by investing $ 200 million

This could save a struggling electric car startup. It is reported that one of the main suppliers of components Apple is in talks to buy the financially struggling manufacturer of electric vehicles.

 

 

According to a Bloomberg News report that quoted “people familiar with the matter,” Foxconn Technology Group is in talks to invest $ 200 million in Chinese electric vehicle startup Byton Ltd.

 

The funding injection is expected to help Byton start production of its M-Byte electric vehicle by the first quarter of 2022. Although this information is not confirmed, and the sources are not named.

Byton is one of a host of emerging Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers that are looking to become key players in the globalized market. However, Byton did not achieve the same success as competitors BYD, NIO and Xpeng.

 

In July 2020, Byton had to suspend production of its first electric car, the M-Byte, the concept of which was introduced a few years earlier. He also had to lay off non-essential staff as he was unable to get funding.

 

Credit: bitonbyton M-Byte is the company’s first electric car, but its production has been suspended due to financial problems.

While Foxconn and Byton have not commented on this potential deal, if it goes through, it will undoubtedly be a reliable lifeline for the electric car maker struggling to bring its vision to life.

 

Foxconn currently also supplies components to other electric car manufacturers, and Tesla is one of them.

 

With recent reports that Apple is also developing its own electric car , it will be interesting to see if Foxconn uses its position as one of the iPhone makers ‘ key suppliers to help it with its automotive adventures.

Five Microsoft Technologies to look out for in 2021

While making predictions in this environment is difficult, there is a list of five Microsoft technologies that could impact Microsoft’s business customer base in 2021.

 

 

Predictions this year seem to be more unreliable than usual. As shown by the year 2020, attempting to predict what any more do not make sense. But these five may have the greatest potential impact on business users in 2021.

 

  1. MetaOS for mobile masses:

 

Microsoft has an evolving strategy and baseline in the Microsoft 365 cloud space that is somewhat better known internally than externally. This initiative is known as “Meta OS” (and also sometimes as “Taos”). Metaos is conceived as a single mobile platform that provides a consistent set of services for work and entertainment on all devices. It is not an OS, unlike Windows, but it consists of a number of layers or layers, including the Office substrate and Microsoft Graph, as well as the application model, which includes the work that Microsoft does with the Fluid Framework (its fast collaborative editing and object embedding technology); Power Apps development tools and Visual Studio.

In 2021, we will learn more about how Microsoft views applications as a set of products and services for a single task (for example, Planner, Stream, Tasks, Lists, Files, Whiteboard, Notes). Fluid Framework plays a big role here. This strategy and its implementation can have serious implications for developers, consumers, and first-level employees.

 

  1. Universal Search: new information at your fingertips

 

Microsoft founder Bill Gates sought to give users the ability to get information, rather than search for it. His keynote address at Comdex 1990 was even titled ” Information at Your Fingertips.” Decades later, Microsoft is finally getting closer to bringing this idea to life with its universal search technology.

 

From 2018 to 2020, Microsoft teams created elements for unified search in Windows, Edge, and existing Office applications. Microsoft Search is the company’s unified intranet search offering, which should exist alongside Bing, Microsoft’s web search technology. Microsoft Search and the basic Microsoft Graph API are designed to help understand users ‘ working lives (documents, objects, people they regularly work with, etc.). According to officials, Bing’s main goal is to provide an understanding of the world outside the organization, with the extraction of abbreviations and entities, the understanding of machine reading, computer vision and other tools and technologies.

 

In 2021, Microsoft will actively look for ways to encourage more users to “enable” single search and use it to get results wherever they are-in the Office app, in the new Edge browser, or even inside Bing. Unified search works perfectly with Project Cortex, Microsoft’s knowledge management technologies. And, just like in metaos, single search is focused on people and is not tied to any particular device.

  1. The “Smart Frontier”: More than just the Internet of Things

 

Microsoft was the first major cloud service provider to adopt hybrid solutions. While some officials have called PCs and servers examples of” smart peripherals, ” Microsoft’s adoption of this definition is likely to become more prominent in 2021 and beyond.

 

When many people think of “peripheral” devices, they immediately think of Internet of Things (IoT) products. But over the past couple of years, Microsoft has expanded its portfolio of peripherals. Secure PCs such as Azure Stack Edge Pro and Pro R are peripherals. Any device with built-in AI processing capabilities qualifies as an intelligent peripheral device. Even the recently announced Azure modular data centers – data centers inside shipping containers that can operate without an internet connection, connect periodically and / or continuously via satellite – are also peripherals.

Microsoft has yet to announce its competitor AWS Outposts, codenamed Fiji. It is expected that this could be a 2021 announcement. It is designed to provide users with the ability to run Azure as an on-premises cloud, managed by public Azure and provided as server racks provided by Microsoft directly to users. Fiji is also part of Microsoft’s smart device family.

 

  1. Cloud PCs-Desktop virtualization at a fixed rate:

 

Microsoft is expected to announce its “Cloud PC as a Service” offering in the spring of 2021. The cloud PC, codenamed Deschutes, is built on top of the existing Windows Virtual Desktop service. But, unlike WVD, Cloud PC will be a fixed-rate service on a subscription basis, not on a consumption price.

A cloud PC will be an option for customers who want to use their own Windows PCs made by Microsoft and / or other PC manufacturers, mostly as thin clients, with Windows, Office, and possibly other software virtually delivered by Microsoft. It could debut alongside Windows 10X, giving the first group of 10X users a way to run their existing Win32 applications (as the first version of 10X will not include support for the Win32 container, our sources say).

Depending on how different cloud PC plans are priced, this service has the potential to become a strong member of the Microsoft 365 / commercial cloud stable service package.

 

  1. Windows 10X – Another test for Chromebook Compete:

 

In 2021, Microsoft Device Director Panos Panay and his team hope to prove that the company has decided to invest more in improving Windows. Through various efforts, including the launch of Windows 10X, a new version of Windows 10 that should be simpler and better in every way.

 

Microsoft’s original plan was for 10X to debut as an OS for dual-screen and foldable Windows devices. The new post-COVID plan calls for 10X to debut on new single-screen PCs, including clamshell laptops and 2-in-1s, among other form factors. Microsoft officials have publicly denied that the 10X is the company’s latest attempt to compete with the Chromebook, but sources say it’s definitely the best place for 10X devices. Their initial target markets include education and rank-and-file workers – the same customer groups that Microsoft focused on with Windows 10 in S Mode (and which officials also declined to publicly state was an attempt to compete with Chromebooks).

 

Microsoft officials have not made 10X available to external Windows Insider testers. Word is 10X will only be available on brand new (not existing) PCs, and shipments to these devices may begin this spring. Windows 10X is expected to run on Intel-based PCs at launch, but Microsoft is testing 10X internally on Arm devices, sources say, so it’s possible it will also be available on new Arm-based devices at some point in the future.

Big Tech in 2021: Washington is ready to issue a law

From antitrust lawsuits to a potential privacy law and restrictions on protecting free speech, Silicon Valley will face calls for increased regulation next year.

 

 

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to curb the rampant power of big tech.

 

For more than a decade, lawmakers and regulators have ignored Silicon Valley. But all of that is likely to change for big tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter as the people in charge in Washington seek to rein in their power and influence.

 

Politicians and senior officials on both sides of the aisle are increasingly concerned about the power these companies wield – how it can harm consumers by allowing firms to stifle competition from smaller players, use personal data for profit, and distort what is shared in the media and consumed online.

 

Some on Capitol Hill are calling for a full-scale reset. In October, the House Judiciary Committee released a scathing 449-page report that concluded that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google had become centers of monopoly.

 

“Companies that were once ragtag failed startups that challenged the status quo have turned into monopolies that we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons,” the report says.

 

Many Democrats in Congress support legislation to break up technology monopolies. And in the past two months, Google and Facebook have been sued from dozens of states across the country. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s Justice Department is pursuing Google, and the Republican-led Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against Facebook.

 

President-elect Joe Biden is gearing up to take office in January, and as the new Congress gets underway, the days of rampant power of big tech seem numbered.

 

“Everyone agrees that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed,” Rep. David Chichillin, a Rhode Island Democrat and chairman of the House Antitrust Committee (who wrote the October report), told the New York Times earlier in the debate. “The era of self-regulation is over, and Congressional action is needed,” he said.

Major challenges Big Tech will face in the coming year: the antitrust goals set by some of the world’s largest tech companies are getting bigger. Google and Facebook are already facing numerous lawsuits from federal and state law enforcement agencies, as well as regulators.

 

And it will be even worse. Here’s a rundown:

 

In October, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit alleging that Google used anti-competitive tactics to preserve its search engine business. On December 17, 38 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against the company, accusing it of illegally monopolizing digital advertising and engaging Facebook to rig advertising auctions. These states also allege that Google manipulated digital advertising markets in violation of antitrust laws. Another group of state attorneys general, led by Colorado, is also expected to file an antitrust case against Google.

 

The social media giant is facing legal action from the Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of more than 40 states and territories. The lawsuit accuses the company of illegally suppressing innovation and competition by buying and suppressing small startups. Instagram Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram is being challenged by the lawsuit, which calls for Facebook to stop acquiring WhatsApp and Instagram.

 

So far, neither Apple nor Amazon are suing either the U.S. government or the states, but the trial Chamber report also singled them out for their behavior. The report accuses Amazon of having monopoly power over third-party sellers on its site. And it accuses Apple of monopolizing its App Store.

 

While the lawsuits are being litigated, there is a growing desire among lawmakers on both sides to pass antitrust legislation that could go far beyond the technology industry and affect all concentrated industries.

 

Privacy policy

Who owns your personal data, and how should companies protect the information they collect about you? This is a big question that many people hope Congress will answer in 2021.

In December, there were signs that Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee were beginning to find common ground for legislation. Earlier this month, the committee held a hearing that included testimony from a bipartisan group of former FTC commissioners, including three former chairmen. Major differences between Democrats and Republicans over the proposed law remain, but it seems that the federal privacy law is likely to be one of the top items on the agenda of the next Congress.

The FTC is also putting some pressure on companies, asking several, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter and ByteDance, owner of TikTok, for information on how they collect and use their users ‘ personal information. The FTC also wants to know how these companies sell this information to advertisers and how this practice affects children and teens.

“These digital products may have been launched for the simple purpose of bringing people together or fostering creativity,” FTC commissioners Rohit Chopra, Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Kristin Wilson wrote in a statement confirming the requests. “But over the past decades, the industry model has shifted from supporting user actions to monetizing them.”

The statement said: “Never before has there been an industry capable of tracking and monetizing so much of our personal lives. Social media and video streaming companies are now following users everywhere through apps on their ever-present mobile devices. This ongoing access allows these companies to track where users go, the people they interact with, and what they do.”

According to members of the Commission, the fact that these companies are doing with data, “remains worryingly opaque”.

Apple in 2021: moving forward and up

The tech giant, like all of us, will have to fight COVID-19.  But that’s only half the story.

 

 

Now that Apple’s iPhone has 5G and its Mac computers have M1 chips, what’s next?

 

Apple has spent the past few years making high-profile changes, such as promoting its services, with the $ 5-a-month Apple TV Plus; adding 5G to the iPhone 12; and its hit airpods wireless headphones, which cost $ 149.

 

In 2021, Apple will make changes that most of us won’t notice or care about, but they may be some of its most important steps. One example is that Apple plans to start using non-standard chips in more of its Macs, which will lead to thinner and probably more durable laptops.

Apple is also expected to introduce cheaper alternatives to its premium products. We already have an Apple Watch SE for $ 279, and there are rumors that the company will take a similar approach to the AirPods SE, which may have a design close to that of the well-tested noise-canceling headphones AirPods Pro for $ 249, but without additional services such as surround sound simulation.

 

“Our mission is to create products that play a meaningful role in people’s lives,” Apple CEO Tim cook said at one of the company’s live broadcasts in November. He said that by 2021, Apple will do even more.

What is the quantum Internet? Everything You Need to Know about the Strange Future of Quantum Networks

All this may sound like a science fiction concept, but the creation of quantum networks is a key goal of many countries around the world. The U.S. Department of Defense (doe) recently released a first-of-its-kind plan outlining a step-by-step strategy that will make the dream of a quantum Internet come true, at least in very preliminary form, over the next few years.

 

 

 

The US has joined the EU and China in showing great interest in the concept of quantum communication. But what is the quantum Internet, how does it work, and what wonders can it do?

 

WHAT IS THE QUANTUM INTERNET?

 

The quantum Internet is a network that will allow quantum devices to exchange some information in an environment that obeys the strange laws of quantum mechanics. In theory, this would provide the quantum Internet with unprecedented capabilities that cannot be realized with modern web applications.

 

In the quantum world, data can be encoded as qubits, which can be created in quantum devices such as a quantum computer or a quantum processor. simply put, the quantum internet will involve sending qubits over a network of multiple quantum devices that are physically separated. most importantly, all of this would be due to strange properties unique to quantum states.

 

This may sound like a standard Internet connection. But sending qubits through a quantum channel, rather than a classical one, essentially means exploiting the behavior of particles at their smallest scale – the so-called “quantum states” that have caused excitement and alarm among scientists for decades. And the laws of quantum physics that underlie how information will be transmitted on the quantum Internet are nothing but unfamiliar. In fact, they are strange, illogical, and at times even seem supernatural.

So, to understand how the Internet 2.0 quantum ecosystem works, you can forget everything you know about classical computing. Because little of the quantum Internet will remind you of your favorite web browser. in short, not much that most users are used to. So, at least for the next few decades, you shouldn’t expect to ever be able to switch to quantum Zoom meetings.

 

Central to quantum communication is the fact that qubits that use the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics behave very differently from classical bits. when encoding data, the classical bit can actually be in only one of two states. Just like a light switch must be on or off, and just like a cat must be dead or alive, the bit must be either 0 or 1.

 

Not so much… Instead, qubits overlap: they can be 0 and 1 at the same time, in a special quantum state that does not exist in the classical world. It’s a bit like being able to be both to the left and right of the sofa at the same time. The paradox is that a simple measurement of a qubit means that it is assigned a state. The measured qubit automatically exits the double state and is converted to 0 or 1, like a classic bit. This whole phenomenon is called superposition and is the basis of quantum mechanics.

 

Unsurprisingly, qubits can’t be used to send familiar data, such as emails and WhatsApp messages. But the strange behavior of qubits opens up huge opportunities for other, more niche applications.

 

QUANTUM SECURITY

One of the most exciting areas that researchers armed with qubits are exploring is security. when it comes to classical communication, most of the data is protected by distributing a shared key between the sender and receiver, and then using that shared key to encrypt the message. the receiver can then use its key to decode the data on its side.

The security of most classical communications today is based on an algorithm for creating keys that are difficult for hackers to crack, but not impossible. That’s why researchers are trying to make this communication process “quantum”. this concept is at the heart of an emerging field of cybersecurity called quantum key distribution (qkd). qkd works when one of the two parties encrypts part of the classical data by encoding the cryptography key into qubits. the sender then passes these qubits to another person who measures the qubits to get the key values.

 

The measurement results in the collapse of the qubit state; but the value that is read during the measurement is important. A qubit, in a sense, is only needed to transmit a key value. More importantly, QKD means that it is easy to know if a third party has intercepted qubits during transmission, as an attacker could cause the key to be destroyed just by looking at it.

 

If a hacker looked at the qubits at any point during their sending, it would automatically change the state of the qubits. a spy will inevitably leave a trail of eavesdropping – which is why cryptographers claim that qkd is “provably” secure.

 

QKD technology is at a very early stage. The “normal” way to create a QKD at the moment is to send qubits unidirectionally to the receiver over fiber-optic cables; but this significantly limits the efficiency of the protocol. Qubits can easily get lost or scattered over a fiber-optic cable, which means that quantum signals are very error-prone and have difficulty traveling long distances. In fact, current experiments are limited to a range of hundreds of kilometers.

 

There is another solution, and it lies at the heart of the quantum Internet: to use another property of the quantum, called entanglement, to communicate between two devices: when two qubits interact and become entangled, they have certain properties that depend on each other. As Long as the qubits are in an entangled state, any change in one particle in the pair will lead to changes in the other, even if they are physically separated.

 

Thus, the state of the first qubit can be “read” by looking at the behavior of its entangled counterpart. That’s right: even Albert Einstein called it all ” creepy action at a distance.”

And in the context of quantum communication, entanglement can actually teleport some information from one qubit to the entangled other half without the need for a physical channel connecting the two qubits during transmission.

 

HOW DOES ENTANGLEMENT WORK?

 

The very concept of teleportation entails, by definition, the absence of a physical network bridge between interacting devices. But what remains is that entanglement must first be created and then maintained. To perform QKD using entanglement, you need to create the appropriate infrastructure to first create pairs of entangled qubits, and then distribute them between the sender and receiver. This creates a “teleportation” channel through which cryptography keys can be exchanged.

In particular, after the entangled qubits have been generated, you must send half of the pair to the key recipient. An entangled qubit can travel, for example, over fiber-optic networks; but they can’t maintain cohesion after about 60 miles. Qubits can also be kept entangled over long distances via satellite, but covering the planet with cosmic quantum devices is expensive.

 

Thus, there are still huge engineering challenges to create large-scale “teleportation networks” that could efficiently link qubits around the world. When the entanglement network is created, the magic begins: bound qubits no longer need to pass through any physical infrastructure to deliver their message.

 

Thus, during transmission, the quantum key will be virtually invisible to third parties, impossible to intercept and reliably “teleport” from one endpoint to another. This idea will resonate in industries that deal with sensitive data, such as banking, medical services, or air travel. And it is likely that governments with top-secret information will also be the first to adopt this technology.

 

WHAT ELSE CAN QUANTUM INTERNET DO?

 

“Why bother with obfuscation?” you might ask. In the end, the researchers could simply find ways to improve the “normal” connection… Quantum repeaters, for example, could significantly increase the communication range in fiber-optic cables without going so far as to entangle qubits. And that’s without considering the huge potential that entanglement can have for other applications. qkd is the most frequently discussed example of what the quantum internet can achieve, because that this is the most accessible application of this technology. But security is far from the only area causing a stir among researchers.

 

The entanglement network used for QKD can also be used, for example, to provide a reliable way to create quantum clusters from entangled qubits located in various quantum devices. Researchers won’t need particularly powerful quantum hardware to connect to the quantum Internet – in fact, even a single-qubit processor can handle the task. But by combining quantum devices, which in their current form have limited capabilities, scientists expect that they will be able to create a quantum supercomputer that will surpass them all.

 

Thus, by connecting many smaller quantum devices together, the quantum Internet can begin to solve problems that are currently impossible to solve with a single quantum computer. This includes accelerating the exchange of huge amounts of data and conducting large-scale sounding experiments in astronomy, material discovery, and life sciences.

 

For this reason, scientists are convinced that we could take advantage of the quantum Internet before tech giants like Google and IBM even reach quantum supremacy – the point where a single quantum computer solves a problem that is unsolvable for a classical computer.

 

Google and IBM’s most advanced quantum computers currently contain about 50 qubits, which in itself is far less than necessary to perform the phenomenal calculations needed to solve the problems that quantum research hopes to solve.

On the other hand, connecting such devices through quantum entanglement can lead to the formation of clusters worth several thousand qubits. For many scientists, creating such computing power is actually the ultimate goal of a quantum Internet project.

 

What can’t quantum internet do?

 

In the foreseeable future, the quantum Internet will not be used to exchange data in the way we currently do on our laptops. Imagining a generalized, mass-scale quantum Internet would require anticipating several decades (or more) of technological advances. no matter how much scientists dream about the future of the quantum internet, it is impossible to draw parallels between the project in its current form and the way we browse the internet every day.

Today, many studies of quantum communication are devoted to finding ways to best encode, compress, and transmit information using quantum states. Quantum states, of course, are known for their extraordinary density, and scientists are confident that a single node can teleport a large amount of data.

But the type of information that scientists are going to send over the quantum internet has little to do with opening a mailbox and looking at emails. and in fact, replacing the classic internet is not what the technology intended to do.

Rather, the researchers hope that the quantum internet will be next to the classical internet and will be used for more specialized applications. the quantum internet will perform tasks that can be performed on a quantum computer faster than on classical computers, or that are too difficult to perform even on the best supercomputers available today.

And what are we waiting for?

Scientists already know how to create coupling between qubits, and they’ve even successfully used coupling for QKD.

China, a longtime investor in quantum networks, has broken records for entanglement caused by satellites. Chinese scientists recently established entanglement and reached QKD at a record 745 miles.

However, the next step is scaling the infrastructure. All experiments so far were linked only to the two endpoints. Now that point-to-point communication has been achieved, scientists are working to create a network where multiple senders and multiple recipients can exchange data over the quantum Internet on a global scale.

Basically, the idea is to find the best ways to produce on-demand lots of entangled qubits over large distances and between lots of different points at the same time. This is much easier said than done: for example, to maintain communication between a device in China and a device in the US, you will probably need an intermediate node on top of the new routing protocols.

And countries choose different technologies when it comes to establishing entanglement in the first place. While China is opting for satellite technology, fiber is the method favored by the U.S. Department of Energy, which is now trying to build a network of quantum repeaters that can increase the distance separating entangled qubits.

In the US, particles remain entangled through an optical fiber on a 52-mile “quantum loop” in the suburbs of Chicago, without the need for quantum repeaters. The network will soon be connected to one of the Department of Energy’s laboratories to create an 80-mile quantum test bed.

 

In the EU, the Quantum Internet Alliance was formed in 2018 to develop a quantum Internet strategy, which last year demonstrated entanglement at a distance of more than 31 miles.

 

For quantum researchers, the goal is to first scale networks to the national level, and one day even to the international level. the vast majority of scientists agree that this is unlikely to happen before a couple of decades. the quantum internet is without a doubt a very long-term project, and many technical obstacles still remain in its path. but the unexpected results that the technology will inevitably bring will be an invaluable scientific journey with many outlandish quantum applications that at the moment are even impossible to predict.