Quantum supercomputers could safely store and manipulate sensitive data, with help from University research.
Dr. Elham Kashefi from the University's School of Informatics has helped demonstrate quantum cloud computing, for the first time.
Quantum computers store data using subatomic particles known as qubits, rather than the silicon chips used in conventional computers.
Silicon chips store data using binary code - a series of ones and zeros - while qubits represents a range of values simultaneously, enabling fast, powerful computing.
Scientists translated qubits into code by representing them using light particles, each aligned in a different way, creating a password that cannot be reproduced.
The encrypted data was transferred to a server and computations carried out, without the third-party server being able to read the true data.
Conventional encryption schemes are at risk of fraud because of the power of quantum computers.
The proposed scheme, however, is unconditionally safe as long as the quantum mechanics is correct.
The work was carried out in collaboration with the University of Vienna, Austrian Academy of Sciences, University of Waterloo, National University of Singapore and University College Dublin
The findings are published in the journal Science.
Quantum computers will be more powerful than any computers we have seen before, but this means they will be well equipped to break encryption codes. We have found a way to use quantum computing to design a failsafe third-party computation.
Dr Elham Kashefi
School of Informatics
This article was published on Jan 31, 2012