The first third of the 20th century saw the collapse of many absolutes. Albert Einstein's 1905 special relativity theory eliminated the notion of absolute time, while Kurt Gödel's 1931 incompleteness theorem questioned the notion of absolute mathematical truth. Most profoundly, however, quantum mechanics raised doubts on the notion of absolute objective reality. Is Schrödinger's cat dead or alive? Nearly 100 years after quantum mechanics was introduced, scientists still are not in full agreement on what it means.
A new commercially available quantum-enhanced, cloud-hosted key generation platform is now available to deliver cryptographic keys derived from the output of a quantum computer and ensure data is protected at foundational level against evolving cyberattacks. The new service, Quantum Origin, uses the unpredictable nature of quantum mechanics to generate cryptographic keys seeded with verifiable quantum randomness from Quantinuum's H-Series quantum computers, Powered by Honeywell. It supports traditional algorithms, such as RSA or AES, as well as post-quantum cryptography algorithms currently being standardized by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). Cambridge Quantum said that Quantum Origin is the first commercial product built using a noisy, intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) computer and has been built to secure the world's data from both current and advancing threats to current encryption. The cryptographic keys generated by Quantum Origin can be integrated into existing systems.
Quantum computing was first envisioned in the late 70s and early 80s as a means for efficiently simulating complicated physical systems. Before anyone could build a quantum computer, a new mathematical construction of quantum information was necessary. Experimentalists needed to understand how to manipulate qubits, and engineers had to develop the technology to do so. Considering the amount of research that was necessary, scientists have made incredible progress in the four decades since the first mention of quantum computing. Today we are on the brink of achieving incredible computing power.
European quantum physicists have done some amazing things over the past few decades: sent single photons to Earth orbit and back, created quantum bits that will be at the heart of computers that can crack today's encryption, and "teleported" the quantum states of photons, electrons, and atoms. But they've had less success at turning the science into technology. At least that's the feeling of some 3,400 scientists who signed the "Quantum Manifesto," which calls for a big European project to support and coordinate quantum-tech R&D. The European Commission heard them, and answered in May with a 1 billion, 10-year-long megaproject called the Quantum Technology Flagship, to begin in 2018. "Europe had two choices: either band together and compete, or forget the whole thing and let others capitalize on research done in Europe," says Anton Zeilinger, a physicist at the University of Vienna who did breakthrough work in quantum teleportation, which would be key to a future Internet secured by quantum physics.
A popular misconception is that the potential--and the limits--of quantum computing must come from hardware. In the digital age, we've gotten used to marking advances in clock speed and memory. Likewise, the 50-qubit quantum machines now coming online from the likes of Intel and IBM have inspired predictions that we are nearing "quantum supremacy"--a nebulous frontier where quantum computers begin to do things beyond the ability of classical machines.