Ruslan Yunusov, RCC - on post-quantum algorithms, the timing of the emergence of quantum computers and Russian developments

Ruslan Yunusov— General Director of the Russian Quantum Center. Graduated with honors in physics

Faculty of Moscow State University.He continued his scientific career in graduate school at the Institute of Biochemistry and Chemical Physics named after N.M. Emanuel RAS, where he defended his Ph.D. thesis. He worked as a manager in the fuel and energy sector, as well as in investment and innovation companies.

RCCis a research organization thatconducts fundamental and applied research in the field of quantum physics, is engaged in the creation and commercialization of new technologies and devices based on the use of quantum effects. Specialists are developing ultra-sensitive sensors, optical microcavities, elements of quantum computers (qubits), as well as quantum cryptography systems and others. In 2016, the Center was the first in Russia to launch absolutely secure communications on commercial lines; in May 2017, it launched the country’s first multi-node quantum network and the world’s first quantum blockchain.

Quantum processor, Russian developments and stack

- What does the roadmap for the development of quantum technologies include?

— The roadmap includes three mainsub-technologies: quantum computing, i.e. quantum computer, quantum communications and quantum sensors. Speaking from the point of view of maturity, quantum communications today are the most competitive in comparison with solutions in the world. Over the past three years, we have managed to greatly reduce the gap from the leaders, and we are now catching up with them. The goal by 2024 is to make a world-class solution and enter world markets and sell the device there. Our target that we are talking about is 8% of the global market.

- RCC develops all three areas that you mentioned?

- Partially.We have our own team for quantum communications, but there are two more research groups in Russia. In quantum computing, we are developing some parts of this large field, but not all. If we talk about quantum computing, many people do not quite correctly understand the formulation of the problem. To solve a problem on a quantum computer, it is not enough to just have a quantum processor. You need to be able to manage it, and then you need to have an operating system, algorithms - to solve the entire stack.

- What are the tasks now, if we talk about a computer - to increase the qubit life time? If we consider the example of an IBM computer.

- Look, what you are saying now isfirst level question, hardware. How to build the processor itself so that it works properly. And there are several different technological bases on which it can be built - superconductivity, or cold atoms and cold ions. It is unclear which of them will win in five years.

- Will it all come to one solution, will not all technologies be on the market at the same time?

- Most likely, sooner or later it will come to somethingalone. Why? For example, classic processors are all built on the same technology. Although theoretically it was possible to make different ones. And there are several reasons for this - investment, efficiency and so on. It’s just not clear now which technology will win. There are technological problems with superconducting qubits, such as lifetime, but this is not the only issue. Accuracy of recording and reading is also very important. And then - how to build a large enough scalable system. This is the main question. There are many parameters that need to be addressed. Let's imagine that you have built a good processor. Your computer will not work on one processor. We also need error correction algorithms, correction codes, we need algorithms for solving problems, the operating system itself, a programming language, an interface for the industry so that you can download the problem and get a solution.

- It can be built simultaneously with the processor?

- Of course, this is done. For example, people write programming languages ​​for an abstract quantum computer. Or quantum algorithms for factoring numbers, something else - they are generally made for an abstract quantum computer, the so-called universal. When people write software, high-level programs, they do not think on which processor it will be done, they write at the logic level. Similarly, algorithms are developed at the logic level.

Quantum computers will come even in agriculture

- Can you tell us about quantum sensors?

— One example of a quantum sensor —superconducting quantum computer It uses such a chain in a superconducting state as qubits. And the problem with the lifetime is that any external disturbances destroy this state. If the same design is used as a detector of external fields that destroy it, then magnetic fields can be measured very accurately. The most accurate measurements of magnetic fields are carried out using this same qubit technology, only in a different form. You can use individual atoms - for example, nitrogen atoms placed in a diamond crystal. They are located so isolated that they can be used to measure the same magnetic fields, or temperature, or gravity. This is already happening in laboratories, but it is necessary to move on to industrial products. These will be very small, energy efficient and sensitive sensors.

- At the end of the briefing, you said that the quantumtechnology will come in all branches. And why are they in all industries? You have drawn an analogy with ordinary computers, but in many industries, ordinary computers solve all problems.

-Yes, but when conventional computers appeared, they were not needed in all industries. 50 years ago, not everyone needed a computer, and people said, yeah, I don't need one. And today there is not a single such industry...

- Do you think the same thing will happen with the quantum one?

- When you still have power, headnew challenges come. Here, too, for example, artificial intelligence - where necessary, everywhere or not? Yes, almost everywhere. Just as it becomes more accessible, simple, integrable and solves a wider class of problems, it will be used everywhere. A quantum computer is like an underlying technology that provides a solution to various problems. As this technology develops, it will come to agriculture, the industrial sector, and the banking sector.

- You said about the year 2024. But if we talk about the affordability of technologies for business, even large ones, then what terms can we talk about when such technologies can be afforded by companies?

— There’s one problem here: it’s not clear how much is neededtime to solve technological problems of scaling a quantum computer. Maybe three years, maybe more. Sometimes you get to the implementation stage and see a technical problem that will take several years to solve. Sometimes you move normally. So far there seems to be movement, but it is not obvious. Therefore, over a five-year horizon, it is expected that cost-effective solutions will be proposed.

About access - not everyone will need to buyquantum computer to try quantum computing capabilities. Already, in order to test the technology, IBM gives cloud access to its computer. And here we propose, within the framework of the roadmap, to move towards creating a cloud platform. So that everyone can test the breakthrough technology without buying a computer

- So it will be a computer built, for example, at the RCC, which other organizations can access?

- Not necessarily in the RCC, it can be anywherebuilt by And the main idea is that this platform will have access to different computers. Because now there are universal quantum computers, simulators, there are quantum-inspired classical algorithms, there are just classic computers. And depending on the nature and complexity of the task, it is sent for errors to the corresponding system. Just as now, we have a processor, a co-processor inside it, and there is also a graphics processor. And on what the task is, the system determines where to send it to solve. So it is here: depending on the task, the platform should understand where it is better to try to solve it. And to work not with one computer, but with several, and also with simulators.

“When a quantum computer appears, it can crack all the encryption systems.” Are we ready for this moment?

- Quantum communications protect against this. In Russia, appropriate solutions have been developed, in particular, by our subsidiary Qrate, the so-called quantum key distribution installations. If tomorrow this problem arises, it will not be solved in one day, because it takes time for infrastructure. Plus, there are still new types of algorithms - the so-called post-quantum algorithms - they have not been implemented yet either. We are making efforts to meet the appearance of quantum computers fully armed.

Quantum communications- communication networks that protect transmitted datadata using the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics. They are a practical implementation of the so-called quantum cryptography. They form an important element of quantum computing and cryptography systems. Allows the transport of information between physically separated quantum systems. In distributed computing, network nodes in a network can process information by acting as quantum gates. Secure data transfer can be achieved using key distribution algorithms.

Post Quantum Cryptography- the part of cryptography that remainsrelevant with the advent of quantum computers and attacks. Since quantum computers are significantly faster than classical computer architectures in computing speed of traditional cryptographic algorithms, modern cryptographic systems become potentially vulnerable to attacks. Most traditional cryptosystems rely on integer factorization problems or discrete logarithm problems, which would be easily solvable on large enough quantum computers using Shor's algorithm.

- You say that quantum technologies will begin to be introduced into the business within five years?

- Computers will appear on the horizon of five years,who will begin to solve the first cost-effective problems. This is the task of factorization - one of the most difficult, it will not be solved at the first stage. For it, for example, more power is needed than for modeling some first materials. The requirements for optimization problems, perhaps less than for factorization. That is, there are now several dozen quantum algorithms that solve different problems. Shor's algorithm, which does factorization that will hack, is quite demanding.