Early Warning for Regional Government

How to Leverage the Opportunities and Prepare for the Threats of Quantum Computers in the Government Sector

Quantum computing is a transformative technology with the potential to address significant public sector challenges. With recent advancements in cloud access and hybrid quantum technologies, governments can now begin building practical applications to meet important public needs. 

The global focus on quantum technology is visible in the international cooperation among government leaders, who are recognizing its potential to accelerate discovery and address global challenges. However, governments are increasingly discussing the challenges and threats and preparing precautionary measures.

Quantum Computing Opportunities in the Government Sector

Together with artificial intelligence, quantum computing offers potential for an unprecedented increase in efficiency on a national and economic level.

Transportation Optimization

Quantum computing can disrupt transportation networks by optimizing routes, railroads and schedules for various modes of transportation by analyzing vast amounts of data. By leveraging quantum algorithms, governments can dynamically adjust plans in real-time, leading to improved efficiency, reduced disruptions, as well as energy consumption optimization. For example, Volkswagen successfully used quantum computing annealing technology to optimize bus routes and traffic flow in Lisbon, Portugal.

Emergency Response

Quantum computing can play a crucial role in optimizing emergency response efforts. Governments can leverage quantum algorithms to enhance vaccine distribution, optimize communication and evacuation routes during natural disasters, and efficiently allocate resources during humanitarian crises. Tokyo-based Sigma-i, using D-Wave's quantum cloud, developed optimum tsunami evacuation routes and improved the efficiency of robotic carts in a factory.

Supply Chain Optimization

Quantum computing can alleviate strains on the global supply chain by optimizing the flow of goods. By leveraging quantum algorithms, governments can enhance the capacity and velocity of cargo movement at ports and improve manufacturing operations. For instance, car manufacturers like the BMW Group, used quantum optimization to assist with partition numbering problems that subdivides stock keeping units into subsets, which are then stored in different locations. Their objective was to minimize the number of groups required to access when retrieving a particular order set using a pick-by-order policy.

Sustainability Efforts

Quantum computing can contribute to sustainability objectives, such as reducing carbon emissions. By applying quantum-powered machine learning, governments can optimize waste collection routes, improve delivery networks, and enhance resource allocation. Groovenauts, a Japan-based company, achieved significant efficiency gains and modeled a nearly 60% reduction in carbon emissions through quantum-optimized garbage collection routes.

Transforming the Public Health Sector

The Public Health Sector holds immense potential for quantum computing. With its ability to accelerate tasks like drug discovery, personalized medicine, and medical imaging, quantum computing can revolutionize healthcare. While still in the early stages, quantum computing shows promise in transforming the sector. Similar to applications and solutions emerging with the advent of the internet or the deregulation of the telecommunication sector, the future will probably bring many more implications that are not yet known and harness the full benefits of quantum computing in healthcare.

Threats Quantum Computing poses to the Government Sector

Cybersecurity Risks

The advancement of quantum computing poses a significant challenge to traditional mathematically-based encryption techniques. The White House's National Security Memorandum (NSM-10) highlights the need for government agencies to prepare for the emergence of crypto-analytically relevant quantum computers (CRQCs) and transition to post-quantum cryptography (PQC). By investing in quantum-resistant encryption methods, governments can ensure the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive data and protect national security and critical infrastructure.

Workforce Development

The successful adoption of quantum computing requires skilled human resources. Governments should prioritize quantum education and training programs to cultivate a proficient quantum workforce. By nurturing expertise and building quantum capabilities, governments can remain competitive in the quantum era and drive innovation.

The Path Forward

The government must take proactive measures to address the potential threat that quantum computers may pose in the wrong hands. It is imperative that they conduct an inventory of their existing cryptography infrastructure. By doing so, they can identify vulnerabilities and areas that require immediate attention. In order to ensure a robust security framework, the government should consider migrating to crypto agile infrastructure. These systems are designed to adapt to emerging cryptographic algorithms, allowing for increased flexibility and resilience against evolving threats. 

Additionally, implementing hybrid cryptography can provide an added layer of protection during the transition period until post-quantum cryptography (PQC) standards are established. By taking these steps, the government can enhance its readiness and safeguard sensitive information from potential quantum-based attacks.

Creating dedicated quantum sandboxes within the government, aimed at developing proof-of-concepts and testing near-term quantum applications, can accelerate the utilization of today's technology. 

By establishing public-private partnerships and leveraging quantum-hybrid solutions, governments can drive innovation, educate stakeholders, and facilitate the rapid deployment of quantum applications.

Governments worldwide have a unique opportunity to leverage the power of quantum computing to address public sector challenges. By embracing quantum technologies today, governments can keep pace with technological advancements, enhance their operations, and ensure long-term competitiveness. 

Utimaco as Partner for a Secure Government Sector Transition

Partnering with Utimaco can be pivotal in securing the government sector's transition to the quantum era. Utimaco’s Hardware Security Modules are designed to be crypto agile. This means they can flexibly adapt to new, quantum-safe algorithms without the need of a hardware exchange. The firmware extension Q-safe already offers PQC algorithms that are recommended by NIST and BSI.  

Within the government sector, Hardware Security Modules ensure secure key management and cryptographic operations, guaranteeing the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive information. The firmware extension Q-safe empowers government agencies to transition to quantum-safe algorithms for encryption and digital signatures, providing robust protection against future quantum attacks. Additionally, our Public Key Infrastructure solution u.trust Identify enables reliable identity management, safeguarding against unauthorized access and ensuring the trustworthiness of devices and applications.

By leveraging Utimaco's expertise and solutions, the government sector can embrace the opportunities presented by quantum computing while effectively managing security risks. Utimaco's comprehensive suite of products empowers government agencies to navigate the quantum era with confidence, securing critical infrastructure and ensuring the highest levels of security, trustworthiness, and compliance in their operations.

The journey to quantum has begun, and governments must take the first step to realize its potential. The White House's National Security Memorandum serves as a reminder of the need for proactive measures, such as transitioning to post-quantum cryptography, to protect sensitive data and maintain national security in the face of quantum computing advancements.

About the authors

Dawn Illing is a product development manager with over 25 years of product management experience in the banking, insurance and cyber security industries. By working internationally across EMEA, this has inspired her interest in cross-border digital identity and cyber security, including the interoperable requirements that necessitate successful delivery of digital product and market solutions.

Ulrich Scholten is an internationally active entrepreneur and scientist. He holds a PhD in information technology and owns several patents on cloud-based sensors. His research on cloud computing is regularly published in highly rated journals and conference papers. From 2008 - 2015, he was associated research scientist at the Karlsruhe Service Research Institute (KSRI), a partnership by KIT and IBM, where he researched network effects around web-platforms together with SAP Research.

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