In 2019, Google announced that its quantum computer solved a problem in 200 seconds that would have taken a classical computer 10,000 years to solve. Now, the Israeli government is planning to build its own quantum computer, a project with far-reaching implications. David Isaac reports:
In response to what industry observers call the second quantum revolution, Israel announced on February 15 an ambitious goal of building its first quantum computer within a year.
The first quantum revolution led to inventions like the transistor, the laser, and the atomic clock, which [make possible] today’s information technology. The second is about controlling particles that show quantum effects, like photons and electrons. Although real-world applications are 10-to-30 years off, Israel, which punches above its weight in tech, doesn’t want to be left behind.
Moshe Goldstein, associate professor in the school of physics and astronomy at Tel Aviv University, explained that “Israel is a relative latecomer. We’re definitely not the first. . . . But everyone else in the world is not that ahead, so we still have a chance of catching up.”
Goldstein says that while Israel has announced an investment of 200 million shekels—or $62 million—that’s a fraction of what other governments have invested. China leads the world with $10 billion for quantum research. Germany dedicated $3.1 billion and France $2.2 billion. The United States in 2018 set aside $1.2 billion.