The British Standards Institution (BSI) is set to lead the world's first international committee dedicated to establishing new standards for quantum technologies. This move signifies the UK's steps towards becoming a global pioneer for quantum technologies by 2033, as outlined in the Government's National Quantum Strategy. BSI's appointment marks a shift in quantum technologies from a theoretical concept to an array of potential commercial applications.
New advances are expected from quantum technology, capitalising on the inherent principles of quantum physics to achieve previously impossible functionalities and performances. The technology is anticipated to revolutionise the solution of complex problems that are currently unsolvable, even with the most powerful classical computers. This capability could lead us to new frontiers in diverse areas such as timing, imaging, communications, and sensing.
Industries such as energy, finance, aviation, and healthcare are beginning to implement quantum technologies, revealing a pressing need for comprehensive, robust, and consistent standards that can cater to the global quantum marketplace. Quantum applications are surfacing in a range of fields, including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, drug development, financial modelling, and climate modelling.
The BSI-led committee, which also includes Korea as chair, is scheduled to create a set of standards across quantum information technology, quantum communications, quantum metrology, quantum sources, detectors, and imaging. The standards will be established within the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) framework.
Andrew Griffith MP, Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, expressed the UK government's commitment to driving the development of global standards for quantum technologies. He said, “Quantum technology’s revolutionary speed and capabilities will power opportunities from drug discovery to financial market analysis. The UK is determined to support the commercialisation and adoption of quantum tech, unlocking untold advances in healthcare, green technology, and beyond.”
Scott Steedman, Director General, Standards at BSI, detailed the potential impact of quantum technologies and the role of BSI in guiding its evolution. He cited, "Quantum technologies can unlock solutions to address the greatest societal challenges. As the secretariat, BSI is committed to leading and driving the development of international standards to guide the evolution and integration of quantum technologies, fostering innovation for the benefit of industries and society globally.”
This news follows the recent establishment of the Quantum Standards Network Pilot - a collaboration that involves BSI, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), NPL, and the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC). The collaboration serves as a focal point on standards for the UK industry, helping to overcome barriers to the potential of quantum technologies.