India can turn to its past for the responsibility of quantum computing

The pioneering mathematical innovations in this field were carried out by the genius mathematician of the twentieth century, Srinivasa Ramanujan. He made great advances in mathematics that paved the way for countless innovations in cryptography. His works became the bedrock of many developments in the fields of modern mathematics and computer.

As Western countries and China make strides in quantum technologies, it will be useful for India to reconsider Ramanujan’s mathematical concepts to catch up with quantum computing.

With the announcement of the establishment of the National Mission for Quantum Technology and Its Applications (NM-QTA) in its budget letter for 2020-21, India has finally entered the door of the world of quantum technology.

Quantum technology, which finds its roots in quantum physics, will revolutionize the way we perceive technology today. The computational power will increase exponentially, and problems that would take hundreds of years to solve by a conventional computer will be handled in seconds by a quantum computer.

Encryption and decoding will also undergo a major change with the advent of quantum computers. These massive machines will disrupt the way we communicate. Researchers around the world believe that quantum computers will be able to crack the most powerful and robust encryption algorithms, such as the 2048-bit RSA, in a matter of seconds, posing a challenge to the secure exchange of critical information.

Since classical computers are not equipped to identify quantum-led cyber attacks, it will be difficult to mitigate such malicious actions in the future. Cybersecurity will be threatened and massive data breaches may become commonplace.

As quantum computers evolve to beat cryptography, the only way to counter it is to build quantum-resistant cryptographic standards. Alternatively, building on quantum principles, such as entanglement and superposition, to develop cryptographic algorithms is another way.

While the latter would involve huge costs and infrastructure apart from a functional quantum computer, the former uses Ramanujan’s graphs for post-quantum encryption. This can also be deployed to develop algorithms using classical computers.

In the past few decades, crypto enthusiasts have applied number theory to understand the depths of Ramanujan’s graphs. These are mathematical functions that have gained prominence for two main reasons: firstly, they have solved long-standing external problems in communication, and secondly, aesthetics.

Researchers worldwide are working on Ramanujan’s graphs for post-quantum cryptography; That is, the development of this set of mathematical functions to unlock mechanisms in order to protect data and information from quantum-led cyber attacks. This can be achieved as India continues to strive to develop quantum computers in parallel.

For countries like India that have just entered the race for quantum supremacy, it will be necessary to put in an enormous amount of effort and investment to compete with the United States and China, which have already invested heavily in this frontier technology.

Needless to say, the advantage of the first mover of technological progress can be exploited and the weaknesses of the existing communication systems of emerging economies can be exploited.

Moving on to its classics, its rich history in mathematics, linguistics, and poetic traditions may be a watershed for India in building systems that can protect information, protect the privacy of its citizens, and find ways to bolster national security.

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