North Korea touts quantum computing for economic development

North Korea is promoting the adoption of quantum computing for economic development, according to a South Korean news service.

A d:wave quantum computer chip on display at a trade fair in 2017. North Korea is turning its attention to advanced technologies. File Photo by Focke Strangmann

NK Economy reported Thursday quantum computers are being highlighted in Korean Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.

“In changing times, a computer’s renewal, improvements in information processing capacity, is pushing out humanity,” the Rodong said. “More than a few countries are bearing the demands of the age and are actively pursuing the development of quantum computing.”

The North Korean newspaper also said the world is entering an age of artificial intelligence and digitalization, and that the demand for better processing capacity is “exploding.” Quantum computing provides an alternative at a time when traditional computer capabilities are “limited,” state media said.


The Rodong provided details about the history of quantum computing, including the introduction of its earliest prototypes in 1982. Quantum computing has remained mostly at the concept stage, the paper said.

State media also claimed there is an “international race” in quantum computing. The article mentioned U.S. firm IBM and its release of prototypes in January.

The Rodong article included information on China’s quantum computing developments, and the country’s recent achievements in quantum computing in May 2017: a machine that predicts the behavior of photons, which make up light.


Quantum computing and its lower toll on the power grid — relative to supercomputers — could hold appeal for North Korea.

Rolling blackouts and power outages are a common occurrence in the country, according to defectors and former residents of the country.

The regime could be preparing for damage to infrastructure ahead of a typhoon that could reach the Korean Peninsula by the weekend.


State news agency KCNA reported Typhoon Lingling could arrive in North Korea by Saturday, and that heavy downpours are expected.

North Korea has in the past struggled to recover from massive flooding in rural areas.

ByElizabeth Shim