Quantum computing and security of information systems

A. A. Berezin
2007 WIT Transactions on the Built Environment   unpublished
Quantum computing (QC) is a fundamentally new interdisciplinary idea at the interface of physics, mathematics and informatics. Today QC is still in its initial stages in terms of its practical implementation due to difficulties related with maintaining a high level of quantum coherency at the macroscopic level. However, theoretical principles of QC are presently well understood and there is a significant on-going progress towards actual prototypes of functioning QC. Present protocols of secure
more » ... rotocols of secure electronic communication can be easily cracked by QC. Thus, the advent of QC can make almost all existing systems of confidential communications utterly unreliable. The present paper gives a non-specialist overview of the principles of QC and discusses some of its possible applications, and also addresses the above challenges concerning the reliability and security of information and communication systems. that there are tangible physical instruments (or paper-bound instructions) on how to code and how to decode the confidential messages. In practice, quite often these instructions were memorized by human information carriers to reduce the risk of interception. As a conceptual and gnoseological extension of classical (Newtonian-Maxwellian) physics, quantum physics has offered new vistas in many key areas of human knowledge. From electronics to biology (and especially, biomedicine and neurosciences), quantum physics has led to radically new advancements. Likewise, quantum vision has enhanced understanding of "information" as a physical category, which has attained the same degree of importance as physical concepts of energy and matter. This can be discussed in a broad variety of physical contexts [1], as well as historical and philosophical reflections [2]. Effects of electronic revolution Over the course of history many typical functions of human hands were gradually delegated to machines. Manual labor and our muscles have progressively less and less to do in almost all activities related to the production and distribution of material goods. A similar trend of replacing some typical human mental faculties by programmable automata has gone on since the invention of earliest informational systems. The first machines for mechanized calculations appeared long before any electronics in the modern sense. Machines like the mechanical Arithmometer (C.X. Thomas, 1820), not to mention the millennia old Abacus, can be considered prototypes of modern computers -at least in terms of their capacity of performing elementary calculations. Electronic revolution and, especially, replacement of vacuum tube electronics by semiconductor technology in the 1950s, has lead to a radical paradigm shift in computing. The invention of Bipolar and Field Effect Transistors followed by the development of Integrated Circuit technology and VLSI (very large scale integration) gave a further boost to the whole area of information technology and communication systems. The famous "Moore Law" (doubling of chip power every 18 months) could be continuously traced from the mid 1960s to the present day and is supposed to last for at least ten more years when the projected size of transistors may reach the atomic scale [3] . An important (and often confusing) point about the above developments is the role which quantum physics plays in them. Although it is true that some aspects of operation of modern VLSI systems rely on some quantum effects (such as electron tunneling, scattering, trapping, etc) they, in essence, behave as classical systems (term "quasi-classical" is used sometimes). This means that such more fundamental quantum effects as the formation of quantum superpositions, collapse of the wave functions at the measurement process and effects of quantum non-locality are not directly involved in the operation of these devices. Thus, in spite of some references to quantum effects, modern computing up to the present day remains largely a domain of classical physics and requires for its understanding only occasional glimpses of quantum phenomena. For it, quantum effects, while sometimes significant in terms of affecting their
doi:10.2495/safe070151 fatcat:qzwsmohyzng2xfvcxon7zsvxse