Quantum computing challenges current cryptography

Help report on the implications of quantum computing for the security of encryption.

We’re working on a story intended to outline the history of quantum computing and what the future holds for it at a time when attention is perhaps more on blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Questions we’d like to explore:

  • What is quantum computing?
  • What sort of problems can be solved with quantum computing?
  • How secure is today’s encryption against it?
  • What progress has been made to ensure security is protected?

Key facts and concepts we think are central to the story: 

  • The idea was invented only 30 years ago and is still at a nascent stage.
  • Conventional computers are binary: 1s and 0s that represent on/off states. Quantum computing uses qubits, and can be both 0 or 1 at the same time – a state known as superposition – which is the same phenomenon that allows Schrödinger’s cat to be in two states simultaneously.
  • Superposition allows a quantum computer to process more information, much faster.
  • A quantum computer can, theoretically, solve, in a matter of seconds, calculations that would take millions of years for a conventional computer to solve.

Interviews so far or sought include: 

  • John Preskill, runs the Institute for Quantum Information (IQI) at Caltech.
  • Raymond Laflamme, physicist and former director of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, Canada.
  • Edward Farhi, Professor of Physics at MIT.
  • Samuel Leon Braunstein, a professor in Computer Science at the University of York, UK.
  • Martin Albrecht, lecturer in Information Security at Royal Holloway, UK.

What or who would you add to this story? Use EDIT to add to directly or tell us in TALK

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