Despite steady progress in the field of quantum computing, until very recently, experts still debated whether it was realistically possible to build a commercially available quantum computer. But following a number of recent breakthroughs, the question has unequivocally been answered. Yes, commercially available quantum computers are coming. Today, the general consensus is that quantum computing and quantum communications will impact a number of sectors including cryptography, healthcare, finance, energy, security, and more in the very near future.
So is the quantum computing revolution truly upon us?
Revolution #1: Bits versus Qubits
First, quantum computing, which is based on the principles of quantum mechanics, is revolutionary, because it breaks away from the decades-old old binary computing model which relies on a sequence of ones and zeroes, aka bits. Since any given bit can hold a value of either a zero or a one, but never both at the same time, this classical model speaks the language of “certainty”.
Contrarily, since a quantum system relies on qubits – quantum particles that can be either a zero or a one, or a superposition of zero and one; in other words, the qubits are both zero and one (and all points in between) at the same time. This speaks the language of uncertainty and probability. In fact, it’s this revolutionary quality of superposition (which this Harvard Business Review article calls a “feature”, rather than a “bug”) that enables quantum computers to process data faster and at scale – something that conventional computers cannot do.
Revolution #2: The New “Moore’s Law” for Quantum Computing
For over half a century, Moore's Law has measured the progress of classical computers, describing how their processing power tends to double roughly every two years. Since quantum computers are designed around the laws of quantum physics, Moore’s Law does not apply. To predict the speed of this revolutionary new technology, the Director of Google's Quantum AI Labs, Hartmut Neven, has proposed “Neven’s Law”, which states that quantum computing power is experiencing 2x the exponential growth relative to classic computing. This enormously fast pace could lead to the so-called “quantum advantage”, where even small quantum processors will be able to overtake powerful conventional supercomputers.
Revolution #3: Quantum Computing Will Threaten Today’s Internet Security
According to the World Economic Forum, “The unprecedented disruption by COVID-19 is accelerating the urgency for agility, adaptability and transformation. Industry structures and business models are being disrupted – and the digitalization of the economy is being rapidly accelerated. An estimated 70% of new value created in the economy over the next decade will be based on digitally enabled platform business models.” All of this relies on today’s security technologies which do not protect against quantum computers.
A powerful quantum computer will be able to break into any system that’s “protected” with classical cryptography, effectively rendering all current encryption/ cryptographic systems obsolete.
Preparing for the Revolution
To stay ahead of future criminals armed with their latest weapon – a quantum computer – organizations will need to adopt Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) or Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) solutions to secure their data. Both approach present real challenges.
Although provably secure, QKD is not compatible with the Internet’s existing infrastructure, and would require massive, cost-prohibitive investments in new hardware for a real-world implementation.
PQC takes the PKI approach by extending intractability to cover quantum computers using math puzzles that cannot be broken by two known quantum algorithms: Shor’s and Grover’s. The challenge is there may be new quantum algorithms and processes that will break even PQC math puzzles (which were only designed to resist Shor’s and Grover’s algorithms). But you cannot design PQC to resist yet-to-be discovered algorithms and processes so it becomes a cat and mouse game of sorts. And this complexity increases power and computational requirements resulting in higher costs and doesn’t play nice with resources constrained devices like IoT.
Unlike PQC and QKD, Quantropi’s Quantum Entropy Expansion and Propagation (QEEP™) technology provides guaranteed unbreakable security and perfect secrecy in key distribution over the Internet. QEEP™ is a quantum gate technology that derives its security from the uncertainty principle, not from mathematical puzzles. And it can work on today’s Internet infrastructure which provides a cost-effective and straightforward upgrade path to true quantum security.
While the debate continues around existing quantum security technologies, QEEP™ already provides a high-entropy, high-speed, and affordable solution against tomorrow’s quantum threats today.
For technical details, check out our white paper: Quantum Entropy Expansion and Propagation Overview.