Energy Department unveils roadmap for a national quantum internet

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The funding for the network would come from part of the nearly $1.3 billion budget devoted to the National Quantum Initiative.

There’s already some progress toward these goals. The Wall Street Journal noted that Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago built a 52-mile quantum network through unused fiber, and it should expand to 80 miles once the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory connects to the system.

The US has numerous incentives to build a countrywide quantum network, most notably security. By its very nature, a quantum network is extremely secure — you disrupt the data just by observing it, making it virtually impossible to intercept. It can also transmit large amounts of data, and might help with extremely sensitive quantum sensor networks that could better detect earthquakes or even medical conditions.

It’s still very early days for the prototype network. And much like ARPANET, the precursor to the modern internet, this would be a government research project rather than something you could use for everyday communication. However, it does hint at a future where quantum computing is a crucial part of daily life.

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