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  • Writer's pictureDAVID MITLYNG

Weekly Takeaways:April 21,2022

Theme of the Week Evolution Long ago, we looked to the stars to know our place in the world. With a clear view of the celestial sky early explorers knew their north-south latitude. To know their east-west longitude position, they needed an accurate clock to account for the Earth's rotation. By WWII, radio broadcasts replaced stars as the location reference using systems like LORAN. With the dawn of the space age these RF beacons moved to satellites. Launched after the Vietnam war, GPS is still the primary position and time reference for the world. But progress has slowed since then. Russia has devolved back into using their LORAN system as they jam GPS. China has built their own system with optical links for better accuracy. And the US government is looking at GEO orbits, optical links and advanced clocks for future GPS. But if we want 6G, the quantum internet, and self-driving vehicles, we need to evolve. Last Week's Theme: Dual Use, Not Equal Use

Industry News

  • “Putin is Holding GPS Hostage,” according to the chair of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee John Garamendi. “Putin would not even need not go through the trouble of shooting down satellites and risking all-out war. He could do it with the flip of a switch.”

  • George Beebe, former Chief Russia Analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, concurs: “GPS is an enormous bargaining chip for Vladimir Putin.”

  • The UK is looking at options to reduce its reliance on GPS. “We are currently critically dependent upon GPS; the loss of which will have a major impact in capability and economically,” according to the former UK Cabinet Office PNT Strategy Technical Lead Andy Proctor.

  • A Defense Intelligence Agency report titled “2022 Challenges to Security in Space” highlights that “China and Russia continue to rapidly “mature” their counterspace capabilities.” Between 2019 and 2021 “the combined operational space fleets of China and Russia” have grown by approximately 70%, following a 200% increase between 2015 and 2019 across “nearly all major space categories.”

  • Similar concerns were raised in two other reports: the “Global Counterspace Capabilities Report” prepared by the Secure World Foundation, and the “Space Threat Assessment 2022” prepared by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

  • NATO unveiled plans to set up a “modified version of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) speed up trans-Atlantic cooperation on critical technologies, and help NATO work more closely with private-sector entities.” The initiative will include 10 accelerator sites that provide financing for startups, and more than 50 test centers to allow startups “to solve real-world problems — such as operating in a GPS-denied environment.”

  • Space startups received $15.4 billion in investment in 2021 as the number of investment deals increased to 241, up 48% from 2020, for an average deal size of $64 million, up 35% year over year, according to the BryceTech “Start-up Space 2022” report.


  • Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems, May 9 - 12, Denver, CO

  • IQT San Diego, May 10-12, 2022, San Diego

  • Commercialising Quantum, May 17 - 19, London, UK

  • Photonics for Quantum, June 6 - 9, Rochester, NY

  • Quantum.Tech Boston, June 14-15, Boston, MA

  • Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition, June 13 - 16, Boston, MA

  • Connectivity Business Summit, June 14-15, New York, NY

  • Quantum Information Science International Workshop, July 12-14, 2022, New York

  • Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA

  • ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO

  • IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO

  • Denver Startup Week, September 19-23, Denver, CO

  • International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, UK

  • US National PNT Advisory Board, December 9 - 10, Washington DC

The More You Know... In the wake of World Quantum Day, lots of articles talked about the quantum arms race:

  • A Forbes article “World Quantum Day: A Love Letter” highlights a recent McKinsey report that "shows that while China is currently investing $15 billion in quantum computing, and Europe over $7 billion, the US is only committing around $2 billion”

  • A recent “Quantum Warfare” report suggests that “There is tremendous potential for military applications of quantum technology… with the potential to change the conduct of warfare and the outcomes of battles.”

  • The America COMPETES Act of 2022 has passed the House and Senate. It identifies Quantum information science and technology as a Key Technology Focus Area with allocations for a Quantum Network Infrastructure and Workforce Development Act under the National Science Foundation (NSF).

  • China has claimed that the Act "intends to curb and suppress China's innovation and development," while The Economist reports on China’s plans for expanding innovation in interior cities like Hefei, the site of a multi-billion dollar quantum research facility.

  • The Quantum Insider prepared a brief but educational history of quantum computing.

  • Speaking of quantum computing, a list of “10 Difficult Problems Quantum Computers can Solve Easily” includes finance, weather forecasting and drug development.


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