Prime Minister Netanyahu teased the upcoming announcement at a conference hosted by the Israel Ministry of Science on Monday.

Currently, IBM's simulations of quantum computer are some of the most advanced in the world.

Currently, IBM’s simulations of quantum computer are some of the most advanced in the world. Photo Credit: IBM Research

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to a conference of the Israeli Ministry of Science, which featured some of Israel’s foremost scientific and technological minds. During the conference, Netanyahu told the gathering of public officials and scientists that his office would soon be announcing a new plan for military defense technology, which includes “quantum technology.” The Prime Minister added no further details regarding what this plan may entail or how Israel plans to compete with the other organizations world-wide that already work to make quantum computing a reality.

Currently, all computers in the world are based on transistors, which at their lowest level represent information in binary strings. In binary, any single bit of memory has only two possible states: on or off. Quantum computing is a heavily theorized and explored idea that a computer could leverage phenomenon of Quatum Mechanics such as superposition and entanglement to produce a computing system that has more than two possible states.

Quantum computers would theoretically surpass ordinary computers’ speed of calculation by several orders of magnitude and would thus be able to outperform any modern supercomputer. The speed at which a quantum computer could carry out calculations would also theoretically enable it to solve problems that are currently not practically solvable on ordinary computers.

Currently, some of the most successful research groups to produce simulations of quantum computing on a small scale are those such as the ones at IBM, Google and the University of California Santa Barbara.

If achieved, quantum computing would render the vast majority of modern encryption protocols obsolete. Thus, there is a concrete security incentive for a country to be the first to develop the technology. Given the Prime Minister’s announcement, it can be presumed that groups of Israeli scientists and researchers intend to throw their hat into the ring. Presumably, the first country to achieve such technology would have a strong interest in keeping it a secret for as long as possible, given the strategic advantage such a computer would bestow to the country’s cyberwarfare capabilities.