top of page

Search Results

79 items found for ""

  • Weekly Takeaways-August 31,2023

    The Future is Optical The Internet Age was enabled by the profound transition from analog to digital. At the dawn of the Internet Age, there was an important transition from analog to digital communications. The Internet Age was enabled by the profound transition from analog to digital communications. Slicing up a waveform into discrete bits heralded incredible advancements in the ability to transport large amounts of data. It also enabled communications to move from electrical pulses over wires (a technology that dates back to the telegraph in the 1800s) to moving data over light. The first laser and fiber optics were built in the 1960s; today lasers carry 95% of the world’s data and are being integrated onto chips. A similar revolution is happening with time. The very definition of a second is moving from a microwave to an optical standard. But modern networks don’t need just one clock – they need a network of accurately synchronized clocks. So it makes sense that these clocks are synchronized with time transfer over optical links, which is fundamentally more accurate and secure. Within local fiber networks this move has already started, but at the global scale time distribution still relies exclusively on RF signals from global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). (well, almost exclusively - see below) A new global optical time distribution system is needed. Last Week's Theme: AI's Dirty Little Secret Industry News At the recent DEF CON conference the US Air Force invited teams to hack a small satellite in a Hack-A-Sat competition, resulting in one team winning the $50,000 prize. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released a brief highlighting potential foreign intelligence risks to the US commercial space industry, warning that “foreign intelligence entities might attempt to steal technology assets and intellectual property.” Amid these concerns the US Space Force has stood up the 75th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron (ISRS) “dedicated to targeting other nations' satellites and the ground stations that support them.” The Department of Energy (DOE), who maintains oversight of America’s energy infrastructure, has identified eight critical applications that rely on timing from GPS. To solve this problem they stood up a Center for Alternative Synchronization and Timing (CAST) to develop best practices for timing within electrical grids and published “Implementing a Terrestrial Timing Solution: Best Practices.” The US Small Business Administration (SBA) announced a new program to provide billions of dollars to venture capital funds “aimed at increasing investment in U.S. startups…for capital intensive industries and those critical for national security.” A huge increase in GPS jamming has been seen in the Middle East lately. Conferences APSCC, October 10 – 12, KL, Malaysia ITSF, Oct 30 – Nov 2, Antwerp, Belgium UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2023, Nov 2, London, UK SLUSH, Nov 30 – Dec 1, Helsinki, Finland The More You Know... A decade ago, there was only one option for global time distribution: GPS. Now there are a lot of options: Galileo in Europe, BeiDou in China, GLONASS in Russia, QZSS in Japan, IRNSS in India, KASS in Korea, ANGA in Africa, and commercial solutions. They all share the same basic design that utilizes one-way RF time transfer. But there is one exception: China's BeiDou system. They announced plans to add optical links and recently conduced "inter-satellite and satellite-ground station experiment using using lasers rather than the usual radio signals" that "could increase satnav accuracy by a factor of 6 to 40 by synchronizing the satellites’ atomic clocks with laser beams." China also announced plans to develop a high-precision integrated space-ground timing system using optical time transfer. Their plans for a "High-precision Ground-Based Timing System" includes setting up 295 time and frequency transmission sites across China to distribute their time standard over fiber networks to synchronize power grids, communication and finance networks.

  • Weekly Takeaways-August 2, 2023

    AI's Dirty Little Secret Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all the buzz nowadays. Many experts believe it can be a boon for the world – if it doesn’t destroy it first. It has developed to the point where it can write articles and software, compose music, create award-winning artwork, replace actors, or be a virtual companion. This rapid advancement has led to concerns that AI will wipe out jobs or even take over the world. Or maybe not. But there is one concern that is indisputable: it is adding to our carbon emission woes. Behind the scenes are "vast data centers capable of running A.I. systems," which in turn requires more power and water for cooling “as Google and every other tech company in the AI arms race speed to build new data centers.” But there is an option to increase the efficiency of data centers: better timing. Meta and NVIDIA found that a synchronization improvement of 80x made the distributed database run 3x faster - "an incredible performance boost on the same server hardware, just from keeping more accurate and more reliable time." This resulted in reduced power consumption and cooling. This project convinced Meta, NVIDIA, and other like-minded colleagues to set up the Open Compute Project Time Appliances Project (TAP). Their motto: "Time is a key element to get the highest efficiency in a distributed system." Like it or not, AI is coming. Better timing has to come along too. Last Week's Theme: The World Changes Forever Industry News This “Quantum and Weapons Development” article discusses how the government took a major role in spurring quantum advancements after the success of the Manhattan Project. The mass failure of nearly 500 drones at a drone display in Australia may have been caused by losing GPS reception. A CNBC report on “How China is threatening US GPS dominance” noted that “in 2020, China launched the last satellite needed to complete its own global system called Beidou... Since then, the influence of Beidou has grown, with an estimated 1.1 billion people now using the system.” In light of recent drone attacks within Russia, areas around St. Petersburg and other areas of Russia have seen “a significant increase in GPS, perhaps GNSS, disruption since the first of June." Which is the correct term — “quantum networking” or “quantum communications or "quantum internet"?” While sometimes used interchangeably, there is a subtle difference. Conferences Euroconsult, September 11 – 15, Paris, France APSCC, October 10 – 12, KL, Malaysia ITSF, Oct 30 – Nov 2, Antwerp, Belgium UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2023, Nov 2, London, UK SLUSH, Nov 30 – Dec 1, Helsinki, Finland The More You Know... So how does better timing improve the efficiency of data centers? The technical answer: better timing precision reduces surge events in databases, eliminates centralized nodes and reduces the effort to work with the database. The simpler answer: it helps reduce the read and write times for many distributed users. Better synchronization allows these users to efficiently access the information across one large, or many distributed, servers. And as AI grows along with our insatiable need for data, there is a trend from huge hyperscale data centers to large numbers of point-of-presence micro data centers (POPs). And these distributed data centers need better synchronization than GPS can deliver.

  • Weekly Takeaways-July 21, 2023

    The World Forever Changes Eighty ago today, J. Robert Oppenheimer was appointed to lead the Manhattan Project, the massive American effort to build the atomic bomb. The movie Oppenheimer, and book it is based on, talk about the lasting ramifications of his work. But his success also had a major impact to the world of quantum physics - the role of government funding, and their push away from theory towards practical research and development. Quantum mechanics began with theorists and mathematicians over a century ago in Europe. The first quantum revolution began in earnest with Einstein's suggestion of a "quanta of light" in 1905, and rapidly led to the foundations of quantum mechanics: the wave function and the Schrödinger equation, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the EPR paradox and “spooky action at a distance”, were all developed in papers and thought experiments that were hotly debated by some of the greatest scientists in history. But the rise of the Nazis fractured this vigorous community and scattered these scientists to the four winds, some of whom (including Einstein) settled in America. After the success of the Manhattan Project, the US government realized the value of encouraging these previously ignored scientists and researchers (see below). Thus began the second quantum revolution. The laser, transistor, MRI, and atomic clock, were all developed with government funding before becoming commercial products with massive benefits for all of society. Today we are in the third quantum revolution where we have moved beyond just harnessing quantum properties, but actively creating and manipulating quantum properties of particles. These breakthroughs are leading to quantum computers, quantum sensors, and quantum communications (including our technology) that have the capability to fundamentally transform society. But these developments needed (and many still need) the generosity of government funding. This is also the legacy of Oppenheimer. Last Week's Theme: What is Old is New Again Industry News The US Space Force chief of space operations expressed concern about advancing anti-satellite missile capabilities: “The destruction of a satellite may not have that same public effect as a missile attack into a civilian population, but from a military standpoint, you’ve still definitely created an act of war.” In light of the recent US Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act to prepare for quantum computers one day cracking encryption, Europe is considering their own quantum cybersecurity agenda to include “setting priorities for the transition to post-quantum encryption.” GPS jammers are illegal in the US but still pretty easy and cheap to find. France uses their National Spectrum Authority (ANFR) to locate active jammers, noting recent GPS disruptions “near Merville airport in March 2023… affecting planes and air ambulance helicopters,” that led their agents to seize a "sophisticated, multi-band jammer purchased online.” The first of a planned Chinese “constellation of 13,000 satellites code-named Guo Wang” meant to compete with StarLink was recently launched. A pair of US bills to address technology areas are in consideration. Concerns about the ease of satellite hacking led to a suggested bill to fund a Satellite Task Force, but it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. And the Quantum Sandbox for Near-Term Applications Act was introduced “to take a leap of action by expanding our quantum technology program to include the development and deployment of near-term applications that promote U.S. innovation for solving critical real-world problems impacting American society.” Not one, but two Coronal Mass Ejections (CME), are coming. According to NOAA’s latest forecast model, “It should hit Earth's magnetic field on July 22nd. The one-two punch of CMEs arriving on July 21st and 22nd boost the chances of a G2 or greater geomagnetric storm later this week.” Conferences Euroconsult, September 11 – 15, Paris, France APSCC, October 10 – 12, KL, Malaysia ITSF, Oct 30 – Nov 2, Antwerp, Belgium UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2023, Nov 2, London, UK SLUSH, Nov 30 – Dec 1, Helsinki, Finland The More You Know... The Manhattan Project and the resulting Atomic Age left an indelible impact on the world. But its success also left a legacy for the scientific community and their ability to aid society. Realizing the need to keep an advantage led to setting up US national laboratories, including the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (1931), Los Alamos National Laboratory (1943), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1943), and Argonne National Laboratory (1946), Brookhaven National Laboratory (1947), and the Sandia National Laboratories (1949), to name a few. But it also started a partnership between the US government and universities dedicated to science and engineering, including MIT's Draper Laboratory (1932) and Lincoln Labs (1951) and Cal Tech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1951), that "would be in the vanguard of the kind of large-scale research that Alvin Weinberg, the director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, would call Big Science." But the biggest beneficiaries would be the companies, supported by government projects, that set up R&D centers that were once famous for their innovation: Bell Labs (inventor of the transistor, the laser, the photovoltaic cell, the CCD, and information theory), Xerox PARC (laser printing, Ethernet, the modern personal computer, GUI, and the computer mouse), Lockheed's Skunk Works (the U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird) are some famous examples. But alas, US federal R&D funding has dropped over the years, while other countries are accelerating theirs.

  • Weekly Takeaways-July 13, 2023

    Theme of the Week What is Old is New Again By the end of the 17th century, England had a problem. Their continental rivals were carving up the riches of the new world and the spice trade, and, as a result, held more ships and ports. The English ships couldn’t maneuver around them because they couldn’t figure out their East-West position, which required an accurate knowledge of local time. So they set up the Longitude Act with a cash prize to harness the ingenuity of industry. Lots of crazy schemes were floated, including a time relay across 600 barges spaced at ten mile intervals. But what if there was fog? What if a pirate took out a barge? A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Instead, England developed an network of observatories on "coastlines or ports around the world" to synchronize marine chronometers on passing ships. It was the world’s first synchronization network, and it propelled their domination of the seas and the rise of the British Empire. The modern world is even more dependent on accurate time synchronization. All networks, data centers, and power grids rely on a timing signal that starts from global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). But in some ways GNSS suffers from the same problems identified centuries earlier; instead of fog, there are RF jamming devices. Instead of pirate ships, there are anti-satellite missiles. So governments are going back to the private sector to help solve this problem (see below). Last Week's Theme: Independence Day Achievements Busy week of meetings at QuantumBasel and elsewhere in Europe. Flurry of partnership activity ahead of summer break! Check out our upcoming Time Appliances Project presentation next Wednesday, July 19, at at 11am PST. You can simply join the meeting at: or dial in at: +1- 877-309-2073 using access code: 565-185-493. Following up from meetings at World of Quantum, Q4I, Quantum 2.0 Conference and European Navigation Conference, with new partnerships in work. Also preparing for presentations and panels at APSCC in October and the International Timing and Sync Forum in November. Our next Investor Sessions are next week so contact us if you want to join! Industry News Are we “Taking GPS for Granted?” Avionics News thinks so: “The U.S. government isn’t good at tracking interference with GPS signals, and an expert advisory committee on precision, navigation and timing to the government believes GPS is falling behind similar systems in China and Europe.” Russian jamming of GPS in Ukraine has been well known as noted in two recent interviews highlighted how effective it has been against guided munitions, even when outfitted with anti-jamming systems. UK’s Royal United Services Institute claims that the jamming “is risking their accuracy” due to “the sheer power of the jamming signal that can be brought to bear." And the Ukrainian Defense Minister also noted that: “The Russians come up with a countermeasure, we inform our partners, and they create a new countermeasure against this countermeasure.” And now this Russian GPS jamming has spilled into Estonia, impacting flights. Everybody seems to be working on quantum secure networks: researchers announced a “Demonstration of quantum-digital payments” using entangled photons, Vodafone announced a “quantum-safe Virtual Private Network (VPN),” HSBC announced they are “trialing quantum-safe financial transaction network,” and Sweden announced their “Swedish Quantum Agenda.” The Fourth of July may be over, but the “Sun is not done yet with the fireworks.” A coronal mass ejection has “a chance to deliver a glancing blow at our planet” tomorrow. Conferences Time Appliances Project, July 19, virtual Euroconsult, September 11 – 15, Paris, France APSCC, October 10 – 12, KL, Malaysia ITSF, Oct 30 – Nov 2, Antwerp, Belgium UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2023, Nov 2, London, UK SLUSH, Nov 30 – Dec 1, Helsinki, Finland The More You Know... For going on fifty years, GPS has been the dominant method of time synchronization for the world. There are 6.5 billion GPS receivers installed in nearly every smart phone, vehicle, and network in the world. But, like the time relay barges of yore, the GPS satellites, links, and even the receivers themselves are vulnerable. This has spurred a movement towards resilience through belts-and-suspender redundancy. Other countries have developed their own GNSS. And the US is following the lessons from the original Longitude Problem and turning to private industry for solutions. Fundamentally, GPS isn’t going anywhere – it is too embedded in our modern world. Instead, it will be backed up by other systems that effectively “take the bullseye off GPS.” And the specific timing needs of commercial enterprise users have spawned a multi-billion dollar market for timing and synchronization units. And they are starting to take a belts-and-suspenders approach to removing reliance on any single GNSS by adding multiple quality clocks for holdover and links to multiple signals of opportunity. History doesn’t necessarily repeat itself – but it often rhymes. To learn more, please email us or schedule a meeting here.

  • Weekly Takeaways-July 6, 2023

    Theme of the Week Independence Day While America celebrated Independence Day, the rest of the world was declaring its own form of independence. Not long ago space was the domain of a few countries and international consortiums. But there is a new Space Race brewing that is reshaping the landscape. The new space era has reduced access to space by two orders of magnitude and has spawned demand for sovereign space systems. To wit: China, Europe, and the US are now rushing to establish manned colonies on the moon. China and Europe announced new mega-constellations to compete with Starlink and other US systems. The US, Europe, China, India, Japan, and Russia have their own large launch vehicles, even as Europe retires their venerable Ariane 5 rocket. China has their own space station Tiangong that recently started hosting global experiments. Numerous countries are developing a global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) to replace GPS (see below). But the real shift is the break from dependence on governments, as commercial space companies have taken over activities traditionally done by government agencies. We hold these truths to be self-evident: space belongs to everyone. Last Week's Theme: Time-of-Flight Industry News The sun has broken out into the largest number of sunspots in two decades, sparking concerns about solar storms. The last time it was this bad, “satellite operators lost track of hundreds of spacecraft for several days,” and there are now nearly ten times as many satellites in orbit. With the increase of solar activity, you can prepare with a Space Weather Impact on GNSS webinar and subscribe to the NOAA Space Weather alerts so you will get some advance warning of the next Carrington Event. Estonia has joined the list of European countries in reporting GPS interference likely coming from Russian jamming. Hackers have now found a new target: GPS and other GNSS receivers. And if you ever wanted to hack a satellite, here’s your chance – sign up now for the Hack-A-Sat 4 competition. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force announced it “is expanding its operations in space” to protect their satellites “from “junk,” “killers” and “stalkers.”” The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced their own plans to launch a quantum satellite that will demonstrate Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), joining China, UK, Europe, and Singapore in that exclusive club. Quantum technology has the capability transform a lot of industries, including heavy industry, logistics, finance, and transportation, energy applications, and materials development. Want to learn more about GPS and Galileo? Here’s a good article talking about the history and design of GPS, and a resource on the future of PNT. Conferences Small Satellite, August 5 – 10, Logan, Utah Euroconsult, September 11 – 15, Paris, France APSCC, October 10 – 12, KL, Malaysia ITSF, Oct 30 – Nov 2, Antwerp, Belgium UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2023, Nov 2, London, UK SLUSH, Nov 30 – Dec 1, Helsinki, Finland The More You Know... GPS remains the dominant GNSS, with nearly 8 billion receivers worldwide (one for every human on Earth), and a foundational role in all modern travel, communications, and network infrastructure. But that ubiquity has a downside. A large-scale outage would wreak havoc with transportation, financial markets, communication networks and power grids across the globe, which has spurred other countries to declare independence from GPS. China recalled their “Unforgettable Humiliation” as an incentive to build BeiDou. India’s break was triggered by “US denial of GPS during the Kargil Conflict in 1999.” Europe is concerned that 10% of their GDP relies on a system with “inherent shortcomings which could be compromised by a malicious actor.” A new European report is tracking new development efforts in Europe (Galileo), China (BeiDou), Russia (GLONASS), Japan (QZSS), India (IRNSS), UK, Korea (KASS), and Africa (ANGA). And even in the US there is a push is to develop a commercial GNSS solution to “take the bullseye off of GPS.”

  • Weekly Takeaways-June 27,2023

    Time-of-flight refers to how long it takes for a photon to travel from point A to point B (see below). Knowing this travel time gives you a lot of potentially valuable information about what is happening between A and B, including: The gravity gradient of the Earth or moon, relativistic effects, or even gravity waves, by measuring the distance between satellites. Weather forecasting by calculating the pressure, temperature, CO2 concentration, and humidity in the atmosphere between cell towers and from satellites. Network security by detecting line breaks or network intrusions in fiber optic cables. Locating reference or rogue signals, or even a gunshot, using time difference of arrival. Detecting and locating people behind walls using multiple wi-fi routers. Obviously, time-of-arrival calculation requires very accurate synchronization between A and B. While this synchronization could be achieved by traditional means, Xairos' quantum clock synchronization (QCS) has added benefits as it directly measures the time a photon leaves A and arrives at B. It is fundamental to our protocol. This time-of-flight of individual photons can be used to glean even more valuable information about what is going on between A and B. Last Week's Theme: PNT? It should be TNP Industry News The recent European Radio Navigation Plan claims that “10% of the European Union (EU) GDP relies on the use of GNSS services", with an annual economic benefit of nearly $400B in the US and Europe alone. The plan noted that “satellite timing is needed to keep our power grids, financial services and mobile networks working …the effects of any outage would be far reaching and potentially very damaging to European economy. To address this threat, it is important to consider backup solutions.” There was another mysterious GPS outage, this time at the Panama Canal, following the DIA and DFW airport outages. This outage occurred last August and lasted three weeks. As we enter the most active solar cycle in two decades, there is a concern about how solar weather could impact GPS and other GNSS. A recent International Telecommunications Union (ITU) paper talked about the importance of synchronization, stating “Synchronization is more important than ever in today’s 5G networks and will be even more so in future mobile networks, where emerging radio technologies and network architectures support increasingly demanding use cases, such as time-sensitive networking for automated vehicles or controlling robots in smart factories.” A US House Committee held a "Advancing American Leadership in Quantum Technology" hearing focused on reauthorizing the National Quantum Initiative Act, noting that quantum technologies "are changing our nation's economic, strategic, and scientific landscape...and continued American leadership is essential if we want to capture their many benefits." This article highlights a few tricks to squeeze better performance out of your GNSS signals using ground control points (GCP), post-processed kinematics (PPK), and real-time kinematics (RTK). The Chicago Quantum Exchange is releasing a “Quick Quantum” video series to teach high-school students about “key concepts in quantum information science and engineering and show how these concepts can be used in real-world applications.” The More You Know... It is a common misconception that photons, or particles of light, travel the speed of light. They do – in a vacuum. In any other medium, like air, water, or the glass of fiber optics, they move slower than the speed of light (though, in reality, the photon isn't really “slowing down” – it is the effect caused by the photon’s electromagnetic wave interacting with the waves of the medium). The photon speed can vary based on the properties of the medium and the color/wavelength of the photon. These variations give up a lot of information about what is happening in the medium. For example, the photon speed in air depends on pressure, temperature, CO2 concentration, and humidity. For the glass in an optical fiber, a photon’s speed are set by the glass with slight variations due to physical or temperature shifts. But an accidental break or malicious intrusion could register as a change in the photon’s travel time. In addition, there is a lot of information that can be gleaned from the travel time of the individual photons. Each photon has a specific color or wavelength. And for a lot of materials, photons of different colors move at different speeds, which creates the famous prism rainbow effect. In air, glass or water, this means a red photon will arrive at B slightly faster than a purple photon that left A at the same time. And their relative speed can help provide insight into what is happening between A and B.

  • Weekly Takeaways-June 21,2023

    Theme of the Week PNT? It should be TNP We use the acronym PNT because position, navigation, and timing are inextricably connected. Of these, position is the easiest, as you can simply reference local landmarks. If that isn't an option, you can use the local time and the angle of the stars and sun in the sky (and a bit of skill) to locate your position. Conversely, once you establish your position, you can use these celestial coordinates to accurately deduce local time. This was the function of early observatories like the Royal Observatory Greenwich (ROG). Early mariners knew that you need time for navigating the open seas, which led to the world’s first synchronization network, and the rise of the first global empire (see below). Today, GPS is the world's primary source of PNT. While most people associate GPS with the P and N, in reality, its single biggest value is the T. Your location app may be free (though, is it really?), but the GPS time reference is critical for networks, financial transactions, and power grids and the source of a multi-billion dollar enterprise timing industry. That being said, there is still value for position and navigation in areas that GPS cannot reach: Commercial: Self-driving vehicles, delivery drones, and flying taxis in urban canyons that block GPS signals. There are efforts to solve this “last 500 foot problem” using terrestrial beacons that are accurately (and securely) synchronized. Automated robots in Industry 4.0 factories that precisely maneuver using the data fusion of well-synchronized sensors and cameras. Military: Navigation in a GPS-denied environment. GPS was originally developed to "to drop five bombs in the same hole" but adversaries have figured out ways to degrade or block this capability. Underseas navigation, as the search for the lost submersible Titan has shown. Naval centers have traditionally driven the development of accurate clocks, inertial reference units, and quantum sensors that can accurately sense the Earth’s magnetic and gravity fields. Last Week's Theme: Time is Money Industry News As authorities scramble to locate the lost submersible Titan, the general public is finding out what navies have long known: you can't navigate underwater with GPS. This has spurred the development of stable clocks and inertial measurement units, as well as quantum sensors that can deduce position from variations in the Earth's gravity or magnetic field. Another option: a new paper that suggests we could use cosmic rays, or muons, that “pass through buildings, rocks, or water” for navigating underwater, underground, and indoors. Indian officials claim that their plans to establish the Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) satellite system was triggered by “US denial of GPS during the Kargil Conflict in 1999.” The head of space policy at the UK Ministry of Defense talked about the importance of space: “In Ukraine, we saw how denied airspace led to the necessity of space-based intelligence,surveillance and reconnaissance for informing decision-makers on the ground and identifying Russian disinformation,” but warned that “states are developing counter-space capabilities that threaten current and future satellites.” Meanwhile, the UK Space Command chief innovation officer talked about the need to adapt to faster innovation from commercial space: “As technologies such as Lunar GPS start to become realities in the near future, standards are going to have to be set that are definitionally international.” A new Deloitte space report highlighted the role of commercial new space and emerging technologies, stating that “the space economy’s historical barriers to entry are being decreased, de-risked, and democratized.” Another “open, collaborative, adaptable, and scalable” Quantum Communications Testbed was recently announced in Montreal “to provide companies, research organizations, institutions and small enterprises with an industrialized environment to experiment quantum networking technologies and as well to accelerate adoption strategies for use and application cases.” While funding for startups in 2022 “was down 31% from 2021,” the “amount of money VC firms raised themselves hit $170.8 billion in 2022, according to PitchBook data, up from $158.5 billion in 2021.” Conferences Quantum 2.0 Conference, June 18 - 22, Denver, CO Q4I, June 27 – 29, Rome, New York World of Quantum 2023, June 27 - 30, Munich, Germany Small Satellite, August 5 – 10, Logan, Utah Euroconsult, September 11 – 15, Paris, France APSCC, October 10 – 12, KL, Malaysia ITSF, Oct 30 – Nov 2, Antwerp, Belgium UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2023, Nov 2, London, UK SLUSH, Nov 30 – Dec 1, Helsinki, Finland The More You Know... “Whosoever commands the sea commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself," claimed Sir Walter Raleigh in the early 17th century. Portugal, Spain, France and Netherlands spent the 15th and 16th centuries carving up their part of the spice trade and the new world. Even though the British Empire held dominion over a quarter of the world by the 20th century, at that point they were well behind their rivals. So they passed the Longitude Act in 1714 with the understanding that maritime navigation relies on time. The first step: setting a time standard. Time can be deduced from the position of the stars and sun, but that requires a known location and precise observation equipment. Hence, the ROG was commissioned in 1675, setting the Greenwich Mean Time standard that we still use today. The next step: you need a stable and accurate timepiece. That was solved by John Harrison with the marine chronometer in the early 1700s. The final step: you need a way to synchronize the two. So observatories were built at ports around the world to provide a time reference for passing ships using a time ball or other visual synchronization methods. By 1908, the British Navy operated 200 of these time signals in "coastlines or ports around the world." But this ambitious synchronization network didn't stop there. By the early 1800s, watchmakers, train stations, financial markets, and merchants started to require synchronization. At first, they would visit the ROG to set their timepieces. But this became an annoyance for the ROG, so a synchronization service was set up in 1840. For a fee, John Belville, then his wife Maria and daughter Ruth, would make the trip from Greenwich to their shop with a freshly synchronized watch. This manual synchronization process was replaced with telegraph lines by the mid-1800s, then radio synchronization in the 1920s, then, of course, GPS in the late 20th century.

  • Weekly Takeaways-June 15, 2023

    Theme of the Week Time is Money On August 1611, a clock chimed over the newly opened Amsterdam Stock Exchange. While it wasn't the world's first financial market, it was considered the first modern stock exchange. The key difference? Time. Prior to this the markets weren’t well regulated so the city dictated a limited trading window, making it “easier for buyers to find sellers and vice versa” which “led to a vast expansion of liquidity in the marketplace.” Clocks weren’t only about marking the opening and closing of the exchange – they also made sure everything is above board. A timestamp is necessary to mark the sequence of a financial transaction and prevent traders from unfairly jumping the queue. But this only works if everyone agrees on the time, which drove the advancement of early clocks and synchronization networks (see below). We have long since moved on from real, physical trading floors where people barter face-to-face. The financial market today is a disperse and complex entity that is regulated by time. This is even more challenging with the emergence of algorithm and high-frequency trading (HFT) that automate transactions at computer speeds. Some of the toughest regulations "to increase transparency" by demanding verifiable timestamps could be enacted with the European Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, also known as MiFID II. While the regulations are still in work, their current iteration demands timestamps for transactions that are synchronized to UTC down to one millionth of a second. So the drive for accurate and secure time synchronization continues. Last Week's Theme: The Need for Secure Time Industry News GPS jamming from Russia caused outages and disrupted commercial flights in Estonia and Finland, with some speculation that the jamming was meant to disrupt drone attacks in Moscow. Meanwhile, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency is warning operators of an increase in jamming or spoofing of GPS and other global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). The US General Accountability Office (GAO) released a GPS Modernization report titled “Space Force should Reassess Requirements for Satellites and Handheld Devices” citing delays with delivery of key ground, space, and user equipment, including M-Code. India is now looking to launch their own GNSS, joining the US (GPS), Russia (GLONASS), Europe (Galileo), China (BeiDou), Japan (QZSS), and UK. China Telecom announced that it is investing 3 billion yuan ($434M) to create China Telecom Quantum Information Technology Group “for developing quantum technology and promoting quantum throughout the country”. In the light of Russian hacking of ViaSat and infiltration of satellite networks, the Space Systems Cybersecurity Standard working group met to discuss cybersecurity for space systems as governments “are dedicating more resources to protecting space systems such as GPS, space-based imaging and the satellites that provide internet service around the world over concerns that one successful cyberattack could have catastrophic consequences.” The US State Department released a Strategic Framework for Space Diplomacy to “advance continued U.S. space leadership" and promote "international use of U.S. space capabilities, systems, and services.” China is looking to put up its own 13,000 satellite ‘Guowang’ mega-constellation as their response to Starlink, Kuiper, E-Space, and other mega-constellations. What is a quantum network? This article provides an overview of the EPB Quantum Network. Conferences Quantum 2.0 Conference, June 18 - 22, Denver, CO Q4I, June 27 – 29, Rome, New York World of Quantum 2023, June 27 - 30, Munich, Germany Small Satellite, August 5 – 10, Logan, Utah Euroconsult, September 11 – 15, Paris, France APSCC, October 10 – 12, KL, Malaysia ITSF, Oct 30 – Nov 2, Antwerp, Belgium UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2023, Nov 2, London, UK SLUSH, Nov 30 – Dec 1, Helsinki, Finland The More You Know... Advancements in clocks – and their synchronization – have historically been driven by business. Early sundials, water clocks, and pendulum clocks helped organize early shopkeepers and trade. By the 1800s, the opportunity for maritime trade drove the development of the marine chronometer, the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) standard, and synchronization using time balls as a visual cue “to enable tall ships in the Thames to set their marine chronometers.” A few decades later, railroads drove advancements in synchronizing stations to railway time" using telegraph. This led to a GMT synchronization service for stock exchange, banks and businesses “who required standardised time to prove their compliance with licensing laws.” Today, all modern commerce, financial transactions, and communications get their time from GPS. Which is ironic, because GPS was not developed or maintained for this - it was intended for military use. As such, the needs of the financial markets aren't being met with this service. Strict financial regulations for timing that can be traced to an authenticated source are creating a new market for time synchronization: In the US, a recent Executive Order directed the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to provide a fee-based Time over Fiber service to businesses that want to remove “dependence on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)”. In Japan, the National Institute of Information and and Communications Technology (NICT) offers time dissemination services over leased line and telephone for businesses. In the UK, the National Timing Centre (NTC) is starting to offer NPLTime to provide “MiFID II compliant reporting” and “accurate time stamping.” Commercial options like the Deutsche Börse High Precision Timestamp (HPT) Service are also in development. These systems rely on direct terrestrial lines to the authenticated time source, which is still not completely secure. What is needed is a global time distribution system that is provably secure.

  • Weekly Takeaways-June 2, 2023

    Theme of the Week The Need for Secure Time We all have a general idea about what it means to be secure. If you boil it down, security relies on meeting three key elements: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Securing data is the focus of a multi-trillion dollar cybersecurity industry and the push towards a zero trust architecture. But what about securing time? Considering that all networks, financial transactions, and power grids need a common time reference, and a widespread disruption of that time source would be catastrophic. Confidentiality isn’t a concern; after all, you want everyone to know the time. But availability – having access to that time reference – and integrity - being assured the time is correct – are very important. For most commercial users, this time reference is sourced via satellite through RF signals that can be easily jammed (removing integrity) and spoofed (removing authentication). Fortunately, authentication concerns can be addressed through quantum communications. Quantum communication systems that manipulate the quantum properties of photons were developed for the secure distribution of encryption keys, known as quantum key distribution (QKD). The hardware and some of the underlining security protocols developed for QKD can also be applied for secure time distribution, effectively creating a trusted and authenticated time reference (see below). This opens the door to a whole new paradigm for a future secure time network. Last Week's Theme: Security vs. Resilience, and Why You Need Both Industry News Some analysts believe that China would act early to disrupt GPS and other satellites in case of a conflict, as described in a set of wargames that claim that “the threat of an attack on GPS could be enough to deter America from defending Taiwan.” It’s not just MEO satellites like GPS that are getting jammed in Ukraine – Russia is also jamming LEO satellites like Starlink. The director of the US National Coordination Office for Space-Based PNT highlighted the need for a commercial solution to augment GPS: “The U.S. has long held the position that high-accuracy, precise point positioning services should be provided by commercial services...the commercial market is best suited to adapt to those changing customer needs and provide the best product.” Hackers tied to China were reported to have compromised critical U.S. cyber infrastructure, according to Microsoft and a National Security Agency bulletin. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is developing a Lunar Reference Frame as “a lunar geodetic system that will guide future visitors around the moon’s surface as accurately and safely as GPS does on Earth.” Two major quantum initiatives were recently announced: Germany released a 3B Euro national quantum plan “Handlungskonzept Quantentechnologien” and Australia announced a National Quantum Strategy. It has been reported that the increase in solar storms is disrupting GPS and satellite communications, and could even impact the satellites themselves. Now there is a new concern: volcanoes. The recent Tonga volcano caused plasma bubbles in the ionosphere that “interfered with satellite communications.” Conferences European Navigation Conference, May 31 - June 2, Noordwijk, The Netherlands Quantum 2.0 Conference, June 18 - 22, Denver, CO Q4I, June 27 – 29, Rome, New York Small Satellite, August 5 – 10, Logan, Utah Euroconsult, September 11 – 15, Paris, France APSCC, October 10 – 12, KL, Malaysia ITSF, Oct 30 – Nov 2, Antwerp, Belgium UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2023, Nov 2, London, UK SLUSH, Nov 30 – Dec 1, Helsinki, Finland The More You Know... Secure Time through Quantum Communications Time distribution networks rely on “transferring reference clock synchronization from one point to another, often over long distances.” Over global distances this is achieved via RF signals from a global navigation satellite systems like GPS (check out this site for a good explanation of how these systems work). The satellite clock provides the time reference that is sent to the receiver via a RF signal. This signal contains a pseudorandom code (sequence of ones and zeros) that is also known by the receiver. The offset between the satellite code and the receiver code is then used to calculate the difference between the receiver and satellite clocks (or, conversely, the distance between the receiver and satellite using the speed of light). The problem: this RF one-way time transfer design is fundamentally insecure. An adversary that wants to spoof the signal has two methods at their disposal: If they know the pseudorandom code, they can create their own signal. They intercept the original signal and modify it or re-transmit it with time delay. But time transfer with entangled photons eliminates these security loopholes: By replacing the pseudorandom code with random entangled photons, thereby eliminating the possibility that an adversary would be able to create their own signal. By eliminating the ability to measure and re-transmit the quantum signal due to the no-cloning theorem. This eliminates concerns about the authentication of the time reference. The integrity of the time reference is addressed by building a resilient network.

  • Weekly Takeaways-May 5, 2023

    Theme of the Week Security vs. Resilience, and Why You Need Both There is a difference between resilience and security. A resilient network is resistant to outages; a secure network is resistant to eavesdropping. For any network, including satellite systems, these are two different design considerations. Security Security comes from the CIA triad: protecting against outsiders getting access to (confidentiality), modifying (integrity), and disrupting access to your information (availability, which is also a component of resiliency). RF links from satellites are subject to eavesdropping (breaking confidentiality), spoofing (integrity), and jamming (removing availability). Security is achieved primarily through sophisticated encryption and anti-jamming techniques (changing power levels and frequency). But security is always a game of one-upmanship. Even proving your secure network is actually secure is a challenge. This is the promise of quantum communications: leveraging the laws of physics to ensure a secure link, a topic that was discussed at a recent QED-C webinar focused on Network Security. Resilience At its simplest definition, resilience is the ability to withstand difficulties. For a system architecture, the US Air Force defines resiliency as the ability "to continue providing required capabilities in the face of system failures, environmental challenges, or adversary actions." There is a growing recognition that our satellite systems, including GPS, are vulnerable because they "were designed for a peaceful, benign environment without a threat." But those days are over with the recent scary advancements in anti-satellite weapons. Moving towards resilient space systems is now a priority (see below). It should be noted that for position, navigation, and timing (PNT) users, assurance is also critical. This means maintaining multiple sources in case one part of the system is compromised. Last Week's Theme: Back on the Horse Industry News Recently leaked documents noted that China has the capability “to hold key U.S. and Allied space assets at risk” if there was a “conflict with Taiwan.” The Center for Strategic & International Studies released their “Seven Critical Technologies for Winning the Next War” that includes quantum and space-based technology, including “alternatives to GPS systems." The US Department of Defense (DoD) plans to “normalize space as an operational domain” after a space strategic review found that China was a “pacing challenge.” In the wake of the launch of their third quantum satellite, China talked about their plans for "a global, all-day quantum communication network" that includes: Three to five small QKD satellites in sun-synchronous orbits that provide links between cities. MEO-to-GEO satellites with 600mm diameter optical telescopes for intercontinental quantum communications. These satellites will link to compact ground stations. France officially launched their FranceQCI Quantum Communications Infrastructure project led by Orange and co-funded by the European Commission EuroQCI initiative. “The short answer is yes, we're in a space race to get to the Moon with China,” according to NASA. They are on the case with a “Moon-to-Mars Architecture Definition Document” with an “architecture to return humans to the moon as a step towards eventual missions to Mars.” The DoD prepared a “Rapid Response to Emergent Technology Advancement or Threats” proposal that would grant them “the ability to begin development of new-start programs up to their preliminary design review level of maturity.” ‘Smart cities’ can be ‘almost anything you want,’ according to mayors from the U.S. and Canada. Who invented the measurement of time? Conferences Commercialising Quantum Global, May 17 - 19, London UK European Navigation Conference, May 31 - June 2, Noordwijk, The Netherlands Joint Navigation Conference, June 12 - 15, San Diego, CA Quantum 2.0 Conference, June 18 - 22, Denver, CO Q4I, June 27 – 29, Rome, New York Small Satellite, August 5 – 10, Logan, Utah Euroconsult, September 11 – 15, Paris, France APSCC, October 10 – 12, KL, Malaysia ITSF, Oct 30 – Nov 2, Antwerp, Belgium UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2023, Nov 2, London, UK SLUSH, Nov 30 – Dec 1, Helsinki, Finland The More You Know... A lot of attention is focused on security, but resiliency is even more critical for satellite systems. After all, what is the point of security if there are no communications? Satellites in particular are sitting ducks, and not just against anti-satellite missiles. The US Space Force chief of space operations recently described “an incredibly sophisticated array of threats” that includes jamming, spacecraft that can grapple other satellites, lasers that can dazzle them, cyberattacks, and even “nesting dolls,” or satellites that release others that spread out and track adversaries’ spacecraft. This was echoed in a recent US DOD Directive that outlined concerns “about the vulnerability of GPS systems to attack or interference," noting that adversaries "already have a variety of counterspace weapons that could degrade or disrupt GPS satellites and associated systems and impede U.S. military operations.” The solution? There is no magic technology that ensures resilience. Instead, it requires proper system design. Resiliency in networks can best be achieved through a "belts and suspenders" approach that embraces disaggregation and redundancy. The head of the Space Development Agency described his idea of a resilient satellite architecture of a large quantities of satellites in different orbits: “We'll put up hundreds and hundreds of satellites…[that] are more affordable than the missiles that you need to shoot them down.” China has also embraced resiliency with their BeiDou system. It already consists of 42 satellites in a mix of MEO, GEO, and inclined GEO orbits. Their vision is to expand to a "space segment, a ground segment and a user segment," with a 120-satellite low earth orbit (LEO) constellation, Loran-C, inertial sensors, and future systems like quantum navigation.

  • Weekly Takeaways-April 27, 2023

    Theme of the Week Back on the Horse Over the course of an eventful week the barriers to space were dramatically lowered. On Thursday, the largest rocket in human history flew for over 3 minutes before ending with a “rapid unscheduled disassembly.” Five days later, a private company attempted to join an exclusive club by putting a lander on the moon. On the face of it, these efforts were unsuccessful. But by all other metrics they were huge steps forwards. In the olden days (only a decade ago) space was the domain of government agencies. Their missions were infamous for being overly cautious, over budget and over schedule. Then came the new space paradigm: failure is an acceptable step towards success. All successful companies go through it – but unlike buggy beta software releases that are quietly patched later, space missions tend to be public and spectacular. Doesn’t matter that the ispace lunar lander likely crashed; they are already planning to return to the moon next year, joined by Astrobotics and Intuitive Machines later this year and Astrolabs in 2026. Of course, you have to be extra careful when it comes to sending humans into space. While the second Artemis mission will be nearly two years after the first successful mission, the next Starship test flight is expected within “a few months” with “hundreds of missions” before launching humans. When you have a long trail ahead, you can either wait for perfect conditions. Or you can start riding. Last Week's Theme: World Quantum Day Edition Industry News Reports are emerging of Ukraine’s effective GPS spoofing so that Russian “drones had been fooled into thinking they were in a no-fly zone, and had ceased operating.” Thales Alenia Space announced the TeQuantS quantum satellite “aimed at developing quantum space-to-Earth communications technologies,” with support from the European Space Agency (ESA), the French space agency CNES and Austrian space agency ALR. India announced a $730M National Quantum Mission “to scale-up scientific & industrial R&D for quantum technologies." The US Office of the Secretary of Defense requested $75M for a “Quantum Transition Acceleration” stating that “research and development of quantum technologies is critical to maintaining the nation’s technological superiority.” Meanwhile, the US Air Force is requesting $55.4B to fund research, development, test and evaluation efforts in fiscal 2024. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Quadrennial Homeland Security Review includes a focus on emerging technologies like quantum and space with the goal of “expanding its technology scouting efforts to understand new developments from the private sector.” The technology that enables the $700B smart city market continues to grow, but it also brings vulnerability, according to a “Cybersecurity Best Practices for Smart Cities” report: “The digital transformation of infrastructure can improve daily life, but increased connectivity may also expand attack surfaces and introduce new risks.” Included in the recent leak of classified documents: The Pentagon confirmed that Russia’s jamming of GPS was more effective than they originally let on: “A larger problem is that Russia is using GPS jamming to interfere with the weapons’ targeting process...American officials believe Russian jamming is causing the JDAMs, and at times other American weapons such as guided rockets, to miss their mark.” As part of China's broader strategy to establish dominance in space by 2045, they are developing the capability “to seize control of a satellite, rendering it ineffective to support communications, weapons, or intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems.” The More You Know... Contested space and the need for commercial solutions was a common theme at Space Symposium: The head of the US Space Force wants to “aggressively dismantle old processes and procedures” citing the concerns about anti-satellite weapons and grappling satellites. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released their annual Space Threat Assessment that mentioned GPS 37 times and the Ukraine conflict: “Commercial space capabilities are making a significant contribution to the fight and have provided Ukraine access to space that they do not have organically. Commercial space has served as a great equalizer, allowing Ukrainian forces to have the necessary intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and command and control.” The Space Foundation estimated the value of the global space economy at $469B, with the commercial sector representing three-quarters of that and "roughly 55% higher than just a decade ago," even though space investment was non-existent until roughly five years ago, according to Quilty Analytics. The Secure World Foundation released their 2023 Global Counterspace Capabilities Report that, not surprisingly, highlighted the “growing concern from multiple governments over the reliance on vulnerable space capabilities for national security, and the corresponding proliferation of offensive counterspace capabilities that could be used to disrupt, deny, degrade, or destroy space systems.” The Pentagon’s chief technology officer stated their goal to “incorporate the incredible innovation ecosystem of the commercial space economy and link them into our joint warfighting concepts to access and accelerate capability adoption.” The US government designated 16 critical infrastructure sectors “so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact.” But surprisingly, space isn’t on that list, so the Foundation for Defense of Democracies argues it is time to change that.

  • Weekly Takeaways: World Quantum Day 2023 Edition

    Theme of the Week Happy World Quantum Day! Two days ago we celebrated Yuri's Night by looking at the advances in the space industry since 1961. Today we celebrate World Quantum Day, designated to promote "public awareness and understanding of quantum science and technology around the world." April 14 isn't the anniversary of a major event, but a fun reference to the first digits of Planck’s constant (4.14 ×10−15 electronvolt seconds), the same way 3/14 is "Pi Day". There isn't a major anniversary to celebrate because there was no "first human in space" type of event to memorialize; quantum mechanics was developed through a combination of research, papers, thought and lab experiments, and rigorous debate over the last century. A lot of the early concepts were initially met with skepticism, but through this process, we have reached the point where we are manipulating the quantum properties of particles for practical and amazing applications. We are now in the midst of the Second Quantum Revolution. Quantum Technologies All quantum technologies leverage quantum properties and can be broken into three main branches: Quantum Computing – a new (but fundamentally different) type of computer that leverages the quantum properties of particles to create qubits that could solve previously intractable problems. Quantum Sensing (also sometimes referred to as Quantum Metrology) – uses the quantum properties of particles for very stable clocks and sensitive inertial, electromagnetic, gravity, and magnetic field sensors. Quantum Communications (also sometimes referred to as Quantum Networking) – leverage the quantum properties of photons (particles of light) for applications like quantum random number generation (useful for cryptography), quantum key distribution (the secure distribution of encryption keys), and Xairos’ focus: quantum time transfer (secure and accurate timing for PNT and networking applications). The Quantum Arms Race The incredible applications enabled by quantum technologies has created a sort of global quantum arms race, with $30B of sovereign funding in quantum research (according to QURECA) in 2022 across the globe: The United States: Focused on quantum networks and post-quantum cryptography, with the announcement of new quantum funding. New quantum testbeds were announced as part of public-private partnerships to develop quantum networks and research, including the EPB Quantum Network in Tennessee, the Washington Metropolitan Quantum Network Research Consortium (DC-QNet), the Chicago Quantum Exchange, and NY Quantum Internet Testbed. The Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act to develop “encryption strong enough to resist attacks from quantum computers” was signed into law. Europe: The European Commission (EC) announced two quantum network initiatives, the Quantum Internet Alliance and the HYPERSPACE research project, as well as a plan for a broadband constellation that will “leverage quantum encryption to secure the network.” The European Space Agency and SES announced the Eagle-1 quantum satellite. China: By some estimates (including recent McKinsey and Deloitte reports) China was the leader in global quantum funding. A recent report claims that “China has a 'stunning lead' over the US in the research of 37 out of 44 critical and emerging technologies,” including quantum communications and quantum sensors. As a comparison to their approach to quantum: China’s public spending on quantum is four times higher than the US. US private investment in quantum is over 1350% higher than in China. There are over 10x the number of quantum startups and 6x quantum investors in the US to China. Interestingly, China holds over 30% quantum patents than the US. However, the patents resided in the US are accredited in globally respected journals for their scientific impact and innovation. China is the leader in quantum satellites, launching their third quantum satellite as a follow-up to a quantum payload on Tiangong-2 and Micius quantum satellite. China is also rolling out a quantum network extending across the country. UK -released their $2.5B National Quantum Strategy. Singapore- opened a Quantum Networks Experience Centre and announced a National Quantum-Safe Network (NQSN) and new partnerships for their quantum satellite. South Korea -announced the development of quantum cryptography communication networks, while Samsung added quantum random number generation chips to enhance the security of their cell phones. Japan -unveiled a new quantum strategy and will “revamp its national quantum technology strategy, aiming to become self-sufficient in the area,” while also working with US partners. Australia - released their vision of a quantum future. India - allocated over $1B towards a National Mission on Quantum Technology and Applications (NMQTA), including a national quantum communication network. Taiwan - announced plans to invest $273M in quantum technology development. Russia – announced they are setting up a National Quantum Laboratory. Canada –announced a National Quantum Strategy including plans for the QEYSSat quantum satellite. The Quantum Divide The downside of this development: the growing quantum divide between the quantum haves (the 17 countries that are investing in quantum research) from the have-nots (everyone else). The World Economic Forum (WEF) believes that "quantum technology will exponentially accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution," and has raised calls for greater cooperation in quantum research between countries. And the Nobel Prize goes to... ...Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger, who were jointly award the 2022 Nobel Prize for their groundbreaking “experiments utilizing entangled photons to resolve a long-standing debate in the early history of quantum mechanics." That debate: the famous "spooky action at a distance" question that was settled with brilliant experiments that demonstrated Bell's inequality. Entanglement as a consequence of quantum mechanics was pointed out and elaborated on by Albert Einstein and colleagues in the famous 1935 EPR paper. But Einstein found the idea of nonlocal entanglement, the so-called “spooky action at a distance”, deeply problematic since, while it doesn't directly violate relativity, it certainly violates the spirit of local influences and causes at the conceptual heart of relativity. Because of this Einstein favored the idea that a local hidden variable was at work such that quantum mechanics was an incomplete description of reality resulting from an averaging over these local hidden variables. Nearly 30 years later, the physicist John Stewart Bell derived a mathematical relation, known as the Bell inequality, that demonstrated that any such local hidden variable theory could not reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics. Thus, Bell's theorem said it was possible in principle to experimentally test if the actual world corresponds to the predictions of quantum mechanics or of some deeper theory that uses local, hidden variables. What seemed to be a philosophical question was now potentially an experimental one. However, "Bell’s inequality, while massively significant as a theoretical construct, was not at first of much use experimentally; the result itself of a thought experiment, it couldn’t be squared with practical detector technology. The three 2022 physics laureates found ways to circumvent those difficulties, and to advance studies of entanglement firmly into the realm of experimental science." It is important to note that all of the progress that has been made in quantum information science and quantum technologies owes a huge debt to all of these pioneers that dared to seriously ask such a fundamental question about reality, and who were not dissuaded by accusations of the worthlessness of their research by many of their influential contemporaries. Want to Learn More? To learn more about: the "fascinating world of quantum computing," check out the Qureka! Box. quantum investment, check out The Quantum Insider Quantum Intelligence Platform. the quantum marketplace, check out the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C). US quantum development, check out National Quantum Initiative.

bottom of page