Skip to Content

Tech Expanding Quantum Computing, Super Computing For Complex Issues

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tech Expanding Quantum Computing, Super Computing For Complex Issues

The National Science Foundation awarded Tennessee Tech a $270,000 grant to put toward quantum computing.

The three-year grant will create quantum computing courses, workshops and research projects. Muhammad Ismail is Associate Professor of Computer Science at Tennessee Tech. He said the quantum computing market is predicted to be an over $100 billion industry by the end of 2024.

“Quantum now is witnessing, I will say a great time,” Ismail said. “Now we are really moving from theory into practice. So I have been reading about quantum in books like let’s say 20 or 10 years ago, but it has all the time been in books, in theory, right? But right now it is a reality.”

Ismail said quantum computing can be thought of as super computing. It uses quantum mechanics to solve complex problems faster than a traditional computer. Practical applications include cybersecurity, networking, machine learning (AI) and solving problems too complex for classic computer systems.

“This really would make our students, I’d say, prepared to join the quantum work force,” Ismail said. “This is happening and this is happening soon, and we need to prepare our students and our researchers to this kind of market and this kind of field, and I would say that our mindset at Tennessee Tech here in the computer science department is that we want to lead in quantum information science in topics of networking, security, computing and machine learning, and we’re well positioned actually to lead the efforts in these directions.”

Ismail said quantum computing is already being used in industries like chemistry, finance, life sciences and the automotive industry.

“We are very excited to start this project, and to have our students to get the proper education and training they will need to be able to join this market of quantum information science and compete,” Ismail said.

Ismail said to understand the difference between quantum computing and classical computing it is best to think about encrypting data or making data private on a computer.

“You can exchange keys to do the encryption but these keys are unbreakable,” Ismail said. “No one can break them. Why, because we call them unconditionally secured. They rely on the laws of nature, the laws of physics and you cannot break the laws of nature, the laws of physics. So these keys are unhackable, unbreakable, right? So quantum computers can break classical keys because these classical keys depend on a computational complexity problem, but you can use them to create unbreakable quantum keys.”

Ismail said quantum computing allows for a faster more efficient ways of computation which can be applied to machine learning or AI.

In the spring of 2022 Ismail started the first quantum computing course teaching the fundamentals. Ismail said this grant will help them expand the course as well as work with other universities on research projects who also received part of the grant. Those universities are University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Middle Tennessee State University, Fisk University and Auburn University. Tech received the largest portion of the grant money.


The post Tech Expanding Quantum Computing, Super Computing For Complex Issues appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.