In 2016, Jeff Plank, CEO of Agile Data Sites, warned data center providers about quantum computing. “Quantum computing is coming. It will make headlines any day now. And when it comes in force the data center colocation industry will need to adapt with it”. (link to story).
What is “quantum computing”, you ask? Quantum computing is the area of study focused on developing computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the nature and behavior of energy and matter on the quantum (atomic and subatomic) level. Development of a quantum computer, if practical, would mark a leap forward in computing capability far greater than that from the abacus to a modern-day supercomputer, with performance gains in the billion-fold realm and beyond. The quantum computer, following the laws of quantum physics, would gain enormous processing power through the ability to be in multiple states, and to perform tasks using all possible permutations simultaneously. Current centers of research in quantum computing include MIT, IBM, Oxford University, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. (link to definition ). One of the dangers associated with “QC”, according to Plank, “general purpose quantum computation would unravel the most basic building block of the modern internet: encryption”.
Fast forward to 2018, and quantum computing is closer to reality. The government, through the National Institute of Standards and Technology, knows that one day soon quantum computers will be able to crack the strongest public-key cryptosystems currently in use, for example, for securing web service. And symmetric key cryptosystems such as AES will require longer key lengths to remain secure. (link to story). America may not be very far behind, with companies like Microsoft, Intel, Google and IBM rapidly accelerating their quantum research. But quantum protection is needed today for government files. It’s the only way to protect them from the quantum computers of the future, whose agents may already be collecting the valuable data they will easily crack. Considering major advances by Russia and China in this area of #technology, it’s time we tripled down on taking back the lead.