Weekly Takeaways-November 21, 2022
Theme of the Week
A Sputnik Moment The new space race is underway, and in many respects China has taken a lead. China is the clear leader in quantum satellites as shown in this list compiled by Russ Fein. They performed ground-breaking quantum experiments on their 2016 Micius satellite, and recently launched their third quantum satellite with more on the way. While the US has one quantum payload in orbit, it does not have a quantum link with the ground. This is well behind quantum satellites already underway in China, Europe, Singapore, Canada, and UK. At least the US is the leader in position, navigation and timing (PNT) satellites - for now. While GPS has been the PNT standard for nearly five decades, China is catching up fast.
Their BeiDou constellation of “24 MEO satellites, three Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites, and three Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO) satellites" may offer “global decimeter-level positioning and navigation” and “underwater, indoor and deep space coverage.” This is better than GPS, which is accurate to 2 meters (20 decimeters) in open sky conditions. But clearly the US has a plan to keep up - right? Last Week's Theme: A Modern Horror Story
Thank you Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and Business Finland for the opportunity to join the Colorado quantum delegation to Finland! Great chance to explore collaboration opportunities with the Finnish quantum community.
China released a "China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System in the New Era” white paper that claims that BeiDou “has been built into a world-class navigation system” and it’s next generation design “will give unprecedented accuracy and coverage for a range of services, including mobile phone access,” and “would extend its services to include underwater communications and deep space.”
Meanwhile, Europe announced a new LEO PNT satellite constellation to augment their Galileo constellation.
China is also surging in quantum computing patents, increasing from “137 as of September 2020 to 804 by October 2022.” China now accounts for 15 percent of global quantum computing patents, behind the United States (40 percent), and ahead of Japan (11 percent).
A “State of the Quantum 2022” report claims that “shows that 91% of business leaders are investing or planning to invest in quantum computing, a field in which private investment has grown 500% from a total of $0.4 billion in 2017 to $2.2 billion in 2021.” This is corroborated by a separate survey where 81% of organizations claimed to have plans or candidates for quantum computing by next year.
According to NASA, we are now in the “Decade of Light” where optical communications enables new satellite systems, “but the 2030s will be the Decade of Quantum. There are a lot of technologies that are being developed now to enable us to move seamlessly to the next decade.”
Another good QED-C Quantum Marketplace webinar focused on Quantum Networks as a follow up to a previous webinar, including quantum networking leaders like AWS, GE, Verizon, Accenture, Deloitte, and EPB.
Time and Money Conference, January 17, New York, New York
Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems, March 13 - 16, Vancouver, Canada
Satellite 2023, March 13 - 16, Washington DC
Space Symposium, April 17 - 20, Colorado Springs, CO
The More You Know...
The world’s timekeepers voted recently to stop using leap seconds, an artifice to help keep official time in line with the rotation of the Earth.
If the Earth maintained a rotation rate of 86,400 seconds per day this wouldn’t be necessary.
But the Earth has a habit of slowing down, or, lately, speeding up.
Network operators have longed argued that we should scrap the leap second.
Even a discontinuity as small as one second can wreak havoc with their networks:
“The leap second change triggered a massive Reddit outage in 2012, as well as related problems at Mozilla, LinkedIn, Yelp and airline booking service Amadeus. In 2017, a leap second glitch at network infrastructure company Cloudflare knocked a fraction of customers' servers offline.”
Fortunately, the main source of network timing comes from GPS, which doesn't use leap seconds.
Because of this GPS time has diverged by 18 seconds from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
But at least that gap won't change going forward.