Russia’s $790 million (₽500 billion) investment marks the country’s official entry to the quantum race. The investment will provide leading Russian researchers with funding over the next five years to develop practical quantum technologies and realize quantum supremacy, an achievement already touted by U.S.-player: Google.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov made the investment announcement at the December 5 – 6 technology forum in Sochi, according to Nature. The $790 million investment is part of a larger investment initiative the Kremlin has approved for research and development to move Russia ahead and improve its technological and economic standing worldwide. Russia now joins the U.S., European Union (EU), China, and Germany on the tech field to gain and retain the quantum advantage.
The EU announced its Quantum Flagship Program in 2016, and officials expect its $1.1 billion (€1 billion) investment will deliver such innovations as a working quantum processor on a silicon chip. In August 2019, Germany also placed its bets in the race with approximately $725.67 million (€650 million) in funding to develop quantum technologies. The United States announced its 10-year quantum technology plan with launch of the U.S National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) in December 2018, authorizing $1.25 billion for R&D over the first five years.
Russia’s funding comes after the National University of Science and Technology MISiS’ scientists developed a new prototype of a quantum computer in October 2019. During an experiment, scientists – under the supervision of Valery Ryazanov, the chief researcher of the University’s Laboratory for Superconducting Metamaterials – solved Grover’s quantum algorithm utilizing a two-qubit quantum computer. Scientists were able to demonstrate that two qubits performed a specific quantum algorithm and were able to exceed the accuracy limit by 3 percent.
“Grover’s two-qubit algorithm is a very important step towards creating a quantum computer,” said Ilya Besedin, an engineer at the Laboratory for Superconducting Metamaterials. “We are not the first in the world to demonstrate its solution, but here we are talking primarily about technological achievement. We have shown the possibility of implementing all the necessary logical operations for a universal quantum processor: initialization, single-qubit and two-qubit operations, and reading, and with an inaccuracy level satisfactory for small algorithms.”
Errors continue to plague the development of quantum processors, and quantum computers must address the noise factor to ensure a predictable result. Russia’s two-qubit processor has succeeded in reaching a 53 percent success rate. On the other side of the pond, Google has proven computational superiority via its own scientific experiments. However, the company has not demonstrated that a quantum computer can solve the same tasks more effectively than a classical computer.
“No one is close to the quantum-computing capacity that would be required for practical applications,” Ilya Besedin, an engineer at the National University of Science and Technology in Moscow, said. “There are many technical challenges, and we’re all looking for new avenues to explore. With serious government support, this is going to become a very interesting research opportunity in Russia.”