Quantum computing (QC) allows for a fundamental – and even ‘disruptive’ – shift in how we analyze and try solving previously intractable problems. However, as with any great disruptive and potentially world-changing technology, quantum computing is not exempt from its share of ‘myth-mongering’, even among academics.
Here are 3 common myths that have been masquerading as facts in the world of quantum computing.
Myth#1: Quantum computers can solve all classical computer problems instantaneously
Fact#1: Quantum computers speed up the solving of only certain problems
With the help of ‘qubits’ which can hold values of both 0 and 1 (unlike classical computer bits which can be either 0 or 1 but never both), quantum computers can analyze information faster and therefore find solutions faster. But current quantum computers cannot solve all problems instantaneously. They can only solve problems that are either designed specifically for them or are more relevant to everyday life (e.g. cryptography).
However, in future, this will change. According to Viv Kendon of Durham University, today’s quantum computers already “have several tricks that can bypass what classical computers can do.” This means that future quantum computers will solve every kind of problem, especially those that are unsolvable by today’s classical computers due to their limited processing power.
Myth#2: ‘Quantum Supremacy’ spells the beginning of the end for classical computing
Fact#2: Classical computers will not be completely swept aside by quantum computers
In 2012, John Preskill at the California Institute of Technology proposed the term ‘quantum supremacy’. Seven years later, Google announced in a Nature article that it had achieved this milestone with its 53-qubit quantum computer Sycamore. This machine could perform a calculation in 200 seconds that would have taken a current, state-of-the-art supercomputer a whopping 10,000 years. Michelle Simmons of the University of New South Wales calls this the “first experimental evidence that quantum speed-up is achievable in a real-world system.”
Nonetheless, those who fear that quantum supremacy foretells the end of classical computing can rest easy because it doesn’t – at least not yet. According to Peter J. Love of Tufts University, the practical implications of the task completed by Sycamore are fairly minimal for the near future. Professor Preskill has a different take though. He believes that Google’s quantum supremacy milestone is a pivotal step towards ‘practical’ quantum computing. At Quantropi, we agree with Professor Preskill. At the same time, we also foresee that quantum computers won’t replace classical computers, while also leading to the growth of ‘hybrid’ computers.
Myth#3: Quantum-safe Cryptography provides complete data security
Fact#3: In case of a quantum attack, Quantum-safe Cryptography is not safe at all
The advent of large-scale quantum computing – which is less than a decade away according to Michele Mosca from the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing – poses a significant threat to our global information infrastructure. Current Public-key Cryptography (PKC) algorithms are fairly resistant to security breaches launched from classical computers. But in the near future, quantum computers will be able to break even the strongest PKC algorithms, putting our entire communications network and data at risk. Quantum-safe Cryptography algorithms provide enhanced data security even in case of a large-scale quantum attack. But only in theory.
The truth is that Quantum-safe Cryptography is not completely quantum-safe, despite what its adherents say. Its two key approaches, Post-quantum Cryptography (PQC) and Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) both have weaknesses that make them inadequate for protecting systems and data in case a quantum attack does happen. Quantropi’s proprietary Quantum Entropy Expansion and Propagation (QEEP) technology provides a robust solution to these challenges. Unlike QKD and PQC systems which are laboratory heroes but fall far short in reality, QEEP is truly quantum-secure, even in the real world. Moreover, it works on the principle of quantum perturbation to protect information today against tomorrow’s quantum attacks. To know more about this provably secure, super-fast and energy-efficient quantum-safe solution, read our white paper here.