On Wednesday, the Commerce Department announced that U.S. firms would be barred from exporting quantum computing technology to eight Chinese companies and labs. This move aims to prevent the Chinese Communist Party from being able to decrypt U.S. data and communications, or develop new forms of military technology.
The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a final rule which added twenty-seven foreign entities and individuals to the “Entity List for engaging in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”
These foreign entities are located in China, as well as Japan, Pakistan and Singapore. One entity based in Russia was added to the Military End-User (MEU) list.
“Global trade and commerce should support peace, prosperity, and good-paying jobs, not national security risks,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced in a statement. “Today’s actions will help prevent the diversion of U.S. technologies to the PRC’s and Russia’s military advancement and activities of non-proliferation concern like Pakistan’s unsafeguarded nuclear activities or ballistic missile program. The Department of Commerce is committed to effectively using export controls to protect our national security.”
“Eight technology entities based in the PRC are being added to the list as part of the Department of Commerce’s efforts to prevent U.S. emerging technologies from being used for the PRC’s quantum computing efforts that support military applications, such as counter-stealth and counter-submarine applications, and the ability to break encryption or develop unbreakable encryption,” stated the Commerce Department. “These PRC-based technology entities support the military modernization of the People’s Liberation Army and/or acquire and attempt to acquire U.S. origin-items in support of military applications. Today’s action will also restrict exports to PRC producers of electronics that the support the People’s Liberation Army’s military modernization efforts.”
“Sixteen entities and individuals operating in PRC and Pakistan were added to the Entity List based on their contributions to Pakistan’s unsafeguarded nuclear activities or ballistic missile program,” the department added.
Earlier in November, IBM claimed to have achieved a major advance in quantum computing.
“IBM has unveiled an advanced “quantum” processor that is part of an effort to build super-fast computers,” reported BBC News. “These machines could revolutionize computing, harnessing the strange world of quantum physics to solve problems beyond reach for even the most advanced ‘classical’ ones.”
“Quantum computing is a rapidly-emerging technology that harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for classical computers,” explained IBM.
“Until now, we’ve relied on supercomputers to solve most problems. These are very large classical computers, often with thousands of classical CPU and GPU cores. However, supercomputers aren’t very good at solving certain types of problems, which seem easy at first glance. This is why we need quantum computers,” IBM said.
“For over two decades, IBM has been pioneering the development of quantum computer systems to solve these sorts of problems in fundamentally news ways, making use of these two approaches,” the company continued. “Quantum computers can create vast multidimensional spaces in which to represent these very large problems. Classical supercomputers cannot do this.”
“Algorithms that employ quantum wave interference are then used to find solutions in this space, and translate them back into forms we can use and understand,” IBM added.