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[ISN] Quantum threat to our secret data


By Saswato Das
13 September 2007
Magazine issue 2621

IT MIGHT seem like an esoteric achievement of interest to only a handful 
of computer scientists, but the advent of quantum computers that can run 
a routine called Shor's algorithm could have profound consequences. It 
means the most dangerous threat posed by quantum computing - the ability 
to break the codes that protect our banking, business and e-commerce 
data - is now a step nearer reality.

Adding to the worry is the fact that this feat has been performed by not 
one but two research groups, independently of each other. One team is 
led by Andrew White at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, 
Australia, and the other by Chao-Yang Lu of the University of Science 
and Technology of China, in Hefei. Both groups have built rudimentary 
laser-based quantum computers that can implement Shor's algorithm - a 
mathematical routine capable of defeating today's most common encryption


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