If we hear more and more about quantum computers, it is tricky to understand the technology and its challenges. Some prototypes suggest that they become a reality and significantly disrupt our future. The stakes are so high that the States are involved in the quest for the holy grail.
Understanding Quantum Computers
It is proper to comprehend the contrast between a quantum PC and an old-style PC to see better the limits and issues that result from it. The exemplary PC we utilize daily stores data coded in parallel, that is, arrangements of 0 and 1. In any case, mainly, it works out in parallel through rational doors (electronic parts) which are portrayed by a result in two potential states: 0 or 1, additionally called a “little”.
Regarding it, the quantum PC works with “qubits”, which offer them a boundlessness of states: we discuss superpositions of states somewhere in the range of 0 and 1. To do this, the quantum PC utilizes the way of behaving of issue and light at the tiny level, the scale at which abnormal and, in some cases, considerably irrational peculiarities happen.
For instance, a vastly undersized molecule can be in a few states or an uncertain expression: this is the guideline of quantum superposition. Or on the other hand, once more, two items can impact each other commonly in any event when a significant stretch isolates them since they structure just a similar framework (we can know the condition of an article as per the condition of the other): this is the standard of the quantum trap.
Conventional PCs are restricted because they consecutively cycle data, playing out another estimation when a variable changes. Each new measure follows a remarkable way, all activities showing up with a solitary outcome. Regarding this, the quantum PC can hypothetically get to all the conceivable computation that brings about a solitary step. It relies upon the number of qubits it can make due, realizing that the force of a quantum PC is multiplied each time a qubit is added to it.
In this way, the Canadian organization Xanadu played out a computation in 36 microseconds with a quantum PC called Borealis. As per the consequences of a review distributed in the diary Nature, this equivalent computation would require around 9000 years on the best supercomputer. There are solid imperatives to building an all-inclusive quantum PC on which any calculation would work and have a critical number of qubits. Which makes a few researchers say that we won’t ever arrive.
Without a doubt, to control qubits, they should be steady; that is, the climate encompassing them doesn’t coincidentally change their worth. For this, quantum PCs are frequently cooled to temperatures near outright zero, i.e., 273.15°! This requires exceptionally particular information and specific gear, which is hugely unwieldy and costly today. These requirements, in any event, when settled, won’t permit quantum PCs to be PCs or pinnacles that we will have at home, but lucky we are!
At this point, we will not be in that frame of mind of current supercomputers: a couple of makers or state foundations will possess the innovation. They will make accessible to the remainder of the world the processing power it permits through the cloud. This is the very thing we are seeing today with a couple of existing models that give, best case scenario, two or three hundred qubits. However, they are restricted concerning calculations.
What Are The Challenges Behind Mastering Technology?
Like any new technology, this computing power should bring its share of beneficial advances wherever complex calculations are involved, from finance to industry via metrology (invention of molecules, creation of new superconducting materials at room temperature, meteorological predictions, etc.). Unfortunately, it can also be diverted from its primary use for malicious purposes. Computer security is particularly affected by this risk.
Indeed, what is put in place today considers the current power of computers but will no longer be sufficient tomorrow when faced with quantum computers. Thus, any long-life cycle asset in the embedded domains such as critical infrastructures, industrial control/command, aerospace and military electronics, telecommunications, transport infrastructures and connected cars will be threatened. To explain the risk, let’s take the example of symmetric encryption, which uses a key to “lock” the data and an identical key to “unlock” it.
One method of breaking symmetric encryption called an “exhaustive attack” or “brute force attack,” is to try all possible decryption keys until you find the right one. Good symmetric encryption algorithms are designed with a critical mass large enough for an exhaustive attack not to be within the capabilities of a conventional computer due to a lack of computing power, memory or even energy. But with quantum computing, many possible keys can be tried simultaneously: the time needed to find the right key is considerably reduced.
A simple example: if, for a given key length, there are 10,000 possibilities, halving the size of this key would reduce the work factor to just 100 keys. Another way to express this technology’s power is through the work of researchers who have demonstrated that it would only take 8 hours of calculations by a quantum computer of “only” twenty million qubits to break 2048-bit RSA encryption, unbreakable today!
Even if all these notions are not easy to grasp, it is easy to understand that if hackers manage to hijack a quantum computer to take control of it, few things could resist them: passwords or any other current means of protection would then be sufficiently resistant to the computing power of a quantum computer. Only large authorities such as banks or financial institutions could prepare for this scenario.
Who Are The Current Players?
Given the economic and sovereignty issues, quantum computers are the subject of global competition involving both States, digital giants and startups trying to bring their stones to the building. India has a financing plan of 1.8 billion euros over five years, comparable to that of Germany with 2 billion, but much lower than Chinese investments (10 billion announced for its national quantum laboratory) and Americans (mixed between state and industrial funding), but more than Canada, Switzerland or the United Kingdom.
This disparity of means may explain why the Indian State is involved in the future of Atos and its BDS branch, which is currently in difficulty, for fear of seeing its work on quantum computers go abroad. Nowadays, only a few companies like Google, IBM, ATOS, and D-Wave… have prototypes. Some countries are also more advanced than others; China seems to be in the lead with Le Zuchongzhi 2, which has fewer applications and is 100 sextillion times faster than today’s best conventional computers.
No Fatality, But Work To Be Done
Fortunately, work is being carried out to try to provide answers to the cybersecurity risks that quantum computers could bring. Thus, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a US government agency that is a reference in the field of cybersecurity risk management, is already working on post-quantum cryptography algorithms to guarantee the security of “classic” platforms, even against a “quantum attacker”.”, particularly in the field of online banking and messaging software, but also in various embedded sectors.
These tools always work on the same principle: mathematical problems that even quantum computers should have great difficulty solving. These tools will undoubtedly be integrated into the post-quantum cryptographic standard of the NIST, which should be finalized during 2024, therefore well before the universal and finalized quantum computer exists.