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EPB in the News

27 December 2022 · 2 min. read
Broadband Breakfast:

Quantum Technologies on Fiber Will Advance AI, Other Applications: Company Exec

WASHINGTON, December 27, 2022 – The new technology of quantum networking, run over fiber infrastructure, can enable advances in technologies, including artificial intelligence and virtual reality, according to an executive at a quantum computing company.

Quantum technologies will likely enable a range of highly advanced technologies, including many related to artificial intelligence, said Qubitekk chief technology officer Duncan Earl at a Fiber Broadband Association web event. He suggested quantum could be used to enhanced language translation tools and enhanced virtual reality.

But those quantum networks will need to operate over fiber, according to FBA President Gary Bolton.

Quantum technology is not merely be a stepwise improvement on current technologies, Earl said, but a seismic leap. Quantum computing is “…billions and billions of times more powerful on certain types of problems, problems that we can’t solve today, even if…the whole world was covered in super computers,” he said.

Quantum deals with tiny particles, and it relies heavily on two concepts, “superposition” and “entanglement.” Superposition is the ability of particles to exist in multiple places at once. Entangled particles are distinct particles that behave as a single particle – even if they are far apart.

Quantum networks, like traditional networks, transmit information between nodes. Instead of sending classical bits, however, quantum networks send quantum bits – or qubits – each of which is comprised of a single photon, Earl said. Unlike the classical binary bit, which is limited to a “1” or a “0”, a qubit has unlimited values.

“The biggest difference is the signal type,” Earl added later in his presentation, comparing traditional fiber and quantum networks. “Instead of sending an optical pulse with billions and billions of photons down the fiber, you’re sending just a single photon and so the detection of that is going to be quite a bit different and the preservation of that information is quite a bit different.”

Quantum computers, operating systems, and networks currently in development are likely to rapidly spread into markets, according to Earl. In November, the City of Chattanooga’s EPB announced a partnership with Qubitekk to launch a quantum network. A long-standing network innovator, Chattanooga in 2010 announced the availability of 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) speeds and in 2015 launched speeds of 10 Gbps.

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