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AT&T’s Foundry is teaming up with the California Institute of Technology to help accelerate the development of quantum networking technologies, the carrier announced Wednesday.

The work will be completed through the newly formed Alliance for Quantum Technologies (AQT), which will focus on uniting industry, government, and academic players to develop technology behind and practical applications of quantum networking. The collaboration will also include a research and development program called INQNET (INtelligent Quantum NEtworks and Technologies), which will focus on the need for capacity and security in communications through future quantum networking technologies.

“Quantum computing and networking holds the potential to radically transform how we connect as a society. It will make the impossible possible, as the internet once did,” AT&T’s VP of Ecosystem and Innovation Igal Elbaz commented. “The AT&T Foundry was founded to advance new products and services through innovation and collaboration. It’s the ideal place for this work as quantum technologies become a rapidly developing field in industrial research.”

According to AT&T, quantum networking is the process of connecting quantum computers and devices together to create superfast and secure networks. At the core, the idea is to apply the laws of quantum mechanics to processing and information distribution. But getting there requires knowledge from across a range of disciplines, including physics, engineering, computer science, and applied mathematics, the carrier said.

The carrier said quantum computers of the future won’t include traditional PC elements like a keyboard or monitor. Instead, they will include advanced technologies like cryogenics for cooling, lasers, and other solid-state, electronic, optical, and atomic devices. AT&T indicated moving that concept from the lab to reality is a heavy lift, but one that could help speed scientific discoveries, boost machine intelligence, and create networks with capabilities beyond what we can imagine today.

AT&T said quantum technology is still in its early stages, but one of the first demonstrations of intelligent and quantum network technologies will be in quantum entanglement distribution and relevant benchmarking and validation studies using commercial fiber provided by the carrier.

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