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Industry Insights

Connecting Quantum Computing and Encryption

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 | by Rudy Montgelas

For this week’s CTD, I have been thinking about the more powerful computing ahead using quantum computing (Qc) and quantum encryption (Qe). I have been very curious about what our future computers are going to be like. The idea of a computer that can process information at much faster speeds to solve complex problems, or a network free from attacks, will be a terrific benefit, especially when you stop to consider the amount of data that future IoT devices are expected to generate.

What are our next computers going to be like?

Currently, our laptop computers are based on digital silicon chip technology. Future quantum laptop computers employing Qc might be based on the spin of electrons, or the state of photons, that provide an additional “quantum state”.

This will require new and different manufacturing techniques to make a type of chip or computer such as this, but the benefits in increased computing speed of adding the additional quantum state will be worth it.

Did you know?

Scientists are looking at new technologies, other than using switches on silicon chips, to process information using quantum computing, such as superconductors and optical waveguides.1

I don’t pretend to understand the superposition of quantum states, but I am interested in more computing power. It is difficult to conceive of the idea of three states (one, zero and one & zero), let alone the two we are all familiar with (digital ones and zeros). But, the idea that we can apply quantum mechanics to solve more complex problems in a shorter amount of time is intriguing.2

Solve more applications problems faster

The whole approach is to be able to provide more computing power to support many new, complex and time-critical applications such as:

  • Artificial and augmented intelligence
  • Signal and data processing
  • Secure communications systems

Quantum Key Distribution

Security is a big concern for communication networks moving forward. Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a Qe method being used for increased security, where photons of light provide encryption through quantum entanglement over the optical networks.3
 

How far away are we?

D-Wave is the only company, right now, that is making and selling quantum computer hardware.4
 


QKD has been used in Asia for increased security over optical metro networks. Google and others are looking at making quantum computing chips.5 IBM is making its quantum computers available free through the cloud.7

Quantum computing technology will continue to grow as companies find new and innovative ways to develop new computing and encryption products.7
 

Stay tuned to further CTDs on quantum computing and encryption.


References:

1 Optics & Photonics Magazine, Oct 2016, “Quantum Computing – How Close Are We?“
2 Interesting YouTube video on Quantum Computing: http://go.legrand.us/e/84502/watch-v-jg8iCnQTLfM/6xchcx/218837379
3 The Industrial Physicist, Jan 04, pages 24 - 25 Quantum Key Distribution” by Jennifer Ouellette
4 January 8, 2016, “Quantum Computing Companies That Are Not D-Wave" by Nanalyze
5 Wired Magazine, “IBM is Now Letting Anyone Play With its Quantum Computer”
6 July 22, 2016, “Google’s quantum computer just accurately simulated a molecule for the first time” by David Nield
7 September 21, 2016, “10 Quantum Computing Companies” by Nanalyze