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Future Internet and Optical Quantum Communications

(United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)

The Future of the World Economy is a Knowledge Economy — the Internet, its Backbone



- The Internet - A Critical Infrastructure In The Digital Age

For centuries, new technologies have ushered in entirely new eras of progressive change in all facets of life, and have revolutionized countless industries. The invention of the steam engine brought about the industrial revolution and expanded trade and transportation. Quantum physics was the foundation of the electronics revolution that brought us transistors, TV, radio, and computers. And the Internet has brought about a stunning information and communication revolution, which is still sending shock waves across virtually every industry, and to the very core of our cultures and lifestyles. 

Future Internet is a general term for research activities on new architectures for the Internet. The future of the Internet is ours to shape for the next generation. Humanity must be at the center of tomorrow's Internet. No one can predict the Internet’s future, but it is too important to ignore. Most believe the Internet will continue to shape our digital future.

In our digitalized world, the Internet has long since become a critical infrastructure. Ever larger data streams flow indefatigably around the globe. For the technologies of the future, like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality, and many others, interconnection is the indispensable foundation. Digitalization without networks is not possible. 

What we do and how we do it are undergoing tremendous change right now as we travel more deeply into the next technological revolution, AI, autonomous driving, IoT, these technologies and more are transforming our daily lives. But the transition to enabling pioneering capabilities and insights needs a robust network backbone, one with the speed and heft of  the next generation wireless network of 5G. 


- Wireless 5G and The Internet

All 5G wireless devices in a cell are connected to the Internet and mobile phone network by radio waves through a local antenna in the cell. The 5G network is designed to connect a far greater number of devices than a traditional cellular network does. We are in the early stage of this technological revolution, but the development of 5G and its relationship to intelligent devices, will have an impact on all industries, in particular, to automotive, healthcare, and IoT. 

We are at the beginning of a new era which will be characterized by digitalization and the constant interconnection of everything. The goal of the next generation of the Internet is, through abstraction and automation, to enable any desired bandwidth spontaneously between any and all participants or data centers. For this, consistent further development of the existing technologies is required, and additionally, new approaches to the integration of infrastructure, software, and services must be conceived. Efficient data processing is becoming increasingly important – in the future, it is conceivable that analysis will already occur during the transmission process in the network.


South Tyrol_Italy_031621A
[South Tyrol, Italy - Civil Engineering Discoveries]

- Quantum Computing and Its Applications

Quantum computing is a fundamentally different approach to computation compared with the kinds of calculations that we do on today’s laptops, workstations, and mainframes. It won’t replace these devices, but by leveraging the principles of quantum physics it will solve specific, typically very complex problems of a statistical nature that are difficult for current computers.

Quantum computing could change the world. It could transform medicine, break encryption and revolutionise communications and artificial intelligence. Companies like IBM, Microsoft and Google are racing to build reliable quantum computers. China has invested billions. Recently (2019), Google claimed that it had achieved quantum supremacy – the first time a quantum computer has outperformed a traditional one.

Quantum computers aren’t just about doing things faster or more efficiently. They’ll let us do things that we couldn’t even have dreamed of without them. Things that even the best supercomputer just isn’t capable of. They have the potential to rapidly accelerate the development of artificial intelligence. Google is already using them to improve the software of self-driving cars. They’ll also be vital for modelling chemical reactions. 

Right now, supercomputers can only analyse the most basic molecules. But quantum computers operate using the same quantum properties as the molecules they’re trying to simulate. They should have no problem handling even the most complicated reactions. That could mean more efficient products – from new materials for batteries in electric cars, through to better and cheaper drugs, or vastly improved solar panels. Scientists hope that quantum simulations could even help find a cure for Alzheimer’s. 

Quantum computers will find a use anywhere where there’s a large, uncertain complicated system that needs to be simulated. That could be anything from predicting the financial markets, to improving weather forecasts, to modelling the behaviour of individual electrons: using quantum computing to understand quantum physics.


- Quantum Computing and Cryptography

Cryptography will be another key application. Right now, a lot of encryption systems rely on the difficulty of breaking down large numbers into prime numbers. This is called factoring, and for classical computers, it’s slow, expensive and impractical. But quantum computers can do it easily. And that could put our data at risk.

There are rumours that intelligence agencies across the world are already stockpiling vast amounts of encrypted data in the hope that they’ll soon have access to a quantum computer that can crack it. The only way to fight back is with quantum encryption. This relies on the uncertainty principle – the idea that you can’t measure something without influencing the result. Quantum encryption keys could not be copied or hacked. They would be completely unbreakable.



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