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article imageWill you be able to trust a quantum computer?

By Tim Sandle     Aug 8, 2017 in Technology
Quantum computers promise many things, including faster processing speed and the ability to perform complex calculations. Such devices can also be trusted with sensitive information, even over a cloud.
While true quantum computers remain at the developmental stage, strategies are being drawn up as to how these qubit functioning devices might be used and what their computational power promises. Also under consideration is security. Will quantum computers be safer that standard computers or will they be more exposed to security flaws?
A related concern is that using the devices is likely to appeal to businesses and research institutes who will probably seek to share information over the Internet. Moreover, given that quantum computers are likely to be prohibitively expensive for many, the idea of accessing the computing power over the Internet – renting quantum computing time – is an attractive one. This will utilize cloud computing services and this may lead to greater vulnerabilities.
IBM, for example, is developing a quantum computer with 16 quantum bits accessible to the public for free on the cloud the IBM Q; this is in conjunction with a 17-qubit prototype commercial processor. The security issue with such technology is of interest to the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore.
READ MORE: The quantum computing test revealed
To address security concerns the researchers have shown that it should be possible to control a quantum computer over the Internet without the need for the user to reveal what they are calculating. This comes about due to the variety of ways through which information can flow through a computation.
The researchers propose a way by which a quantum computer could be used securely over the Internet. The technique is designed to hide both the data and program from the computer itself. This can happen because quantum computers provide new routes to solving problems via cryptography, modeling and machine learning.
The new approach has been designed by Joseph Fitzsimons. This involves a quantum computer prepared in such a way that all of its qubits are placed into a special type of entangled state. As a computation is carried out, this by measuring the qubits one by one. The user can provide step-wise instructions for each measurement: the steps encode both the input data and the program. This approach enables users to disguise their computation. The security issues are addressed because the quantum computer does not know which steps of the measurement sequence do what, unable to decipher which qubits were used for inputs, which for operations and which for outputs. The strength of this approach is that security increases the more sophisticated quantum computers become since the set of interpretations grows rapidly with the number of qubits.
The research is published in the journal Physical Review X, under the heading “Flow Ambiguity: A Path Towards Classically Driven Blind Quantum Computation.”
For readers interested in quantum computing, Digital Journal has also published the article "Quantum technology helps prevent counterfeit electronics."
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