Hackernoon logoWhat’s Shor’s Algorithm? (Quantum Computing Weekly News for Dec 11 2018) by@jesperht

What’s Shor’s Algorithm? (Quantum Computing Weekly News for Dec 11 2018)

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This is a syndicated version of my weekly e-mail round-up of news about Quantum Computing. Visit the homepage to subscribe to updates and check out previous issues.

👋 Hi there, and thank you for taking a look at lucky issue #7!

Last week we had a great profile on Anastasia Marchenkova, and I highly recommend checking it out if you missed it, and I’m excited to say that we already have a new guest lined up for January! 🎉

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Tiny Fact of the week

What’s this Shor’s algorithm thing I keep on hearing about? In short, it’s a quantum algorithm which is able to answer a very computationally difficult question relatively quickly:

Given a number N, what are its prime factors?

Why is this important? Well, it just so happens to be that this (or variants of this) problem is what makes most modern day cryptography that’s used in computers and on the internet work — it’s simply too computationally expensive to calculate, so things stay secure! However, Shor’s algorithm is nearly exponentially faster at solving the problem than what classical computers are capable of today, so now people are starting to dig into the domain of post-quantum cryptography to counter it so that things can remain secure in the future.

This subject is very interesting area, and here’s a few additional resources to check out:

Clear explanation of how cryptography works today in laymans terms.

More in depth explanation of Shor’s algorithm

A blog post by Anastasia where she talks about Shor’s algo and its impact on cryptography <- Worth clicking for the “Too much math; didn’t read” at the top alone, though do read the rest as well!


Last week we had a link to a great PBS intro to the math of quantum computing, and now it seems like even Google has joined the party and started a quantum computing series called Quantum Casts with a focus on AI — check out one of their first videos that was very recently released:

New optical device brings quantum computing a step closer — phys.org 
 An international team of researchers has taken a big step closer to creating an optical quantum computer, which has the potential to engineer new drugs and optimise energy-saving methods.

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Is the U.S. Lagging in the Quest for Quantum Computing? — www.scientificamerican.com

U.S. government funding is needed to sustain the arduous journey toward a practical quantum computer, experts say.

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Quantum computer control system launched in east China — www.shine.cn

China’s first quantum computer control system with independent intellectual property rights has been launched.

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Harnessing the power of ‘spin orbit’ coupling in silicon: Scaling up quantum computation — www.sciencedaily.com 
 Research teams are investigating multiple pathways to scale up atom-based computing architectures using spin-orbit coupling — advancing towards their goal of building a silicon-based quantum computer.

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Quantum Computers Are Making Classical Ones Faster, Here’s How — www.seeker.com

With mathematical techniques, some problems that look rooted in quantum processes could be “de-quantized” and simulated efficiently with classical computers.

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How developments in Quantum Computing could affect cryptocurrencies — irishtechnews.ie

Among the quantum algorithms under development and experimentation, there is a certain typology, that of Shor factoring, that could be exploited to destroy the blockchain cryptography, which is based on the ECDSA (Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm).


Quantum computers pose a security threat that we’re still totally unprepared for — www.technologyreview.com

Some US experts think it could take at least 20 years to get quantum-proof encryption widely deployed.

Thanks for reading! Contribute?

Written an interesting blog post or found some interesting things to share about quantum computing? Spotted a mistake? Ping me on twitter (@jesperht).


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