National Academies Press: OpenBook

Quantum Computing: Progress and Prospects (2018)

Chapter: Appendix A: Statement of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Quantum Computing: Progress and Prospects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25196.
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Page 143

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A Statement of Task A study will provide an independent assessment of the feasibility and implications of creating a functional quantum computer capable of addressing real-world problems including but not limited to deployment of Shor’s algorithm. The study will examine hardware and software requirements, quantum algorithms, drivers of advances in quantum computing and quantum devices, benchmarks associated with relevant use cases, the time and resources required, and how to assess the probability of success. The committee will consider: 1. What are the technical risks associated with developing a quantum computer, and what are realistic timelines to achieve a functionally useful machine? Who are the primary players capable of producing and using a quantum computer? 2. What are the implications of having a quantum computer, for example on signals intelligence, communications, banking, and commerce? 3. What is the future of public key cryptography? What are the prospects and time scales for developing and deploying quantum-resistant encryption? 4. What are the costs and benefits from a national security perspective of quantum computing, under various assumptions of time, cost, non-U.S. development, alternative technologies, etc.? In its report, the committee will provide an assessment of prospects and implications but make no recommendations. PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION A-1

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Quantum mechanics, the subfield of physics that describes the behavior of very small (quantum) particles, provides the basis for a new paradigm of computing. First proposed in the 1980s as a way to improve computational modeling of quantum systems, the field of quantum computing has recently garnered significant attention due to progress in building small-scale devices. However, significant technical advances will be required before a large-scale, practical quantum computer can be achieved.

Quantum Computing: Progress and Prospects provides an introduction to the field, including the unique characteristics and constraints of the technology, and assesses the feasibility and implications of creating a functional quantum computer capable of addressing real-world problems. This report considers hardware and software requirements, quantum algorithms, drivers of advances in quantum computing and quantum devices, benchmarks associated with relevant use cases, the time and resources required, and how to assess the probability of success.

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