Quantum computing at home gains potential thanks to new breakthrough

Scientists at Oxford University Physics have made a breakthrough that could see millions of individuals and companies harness the next generation of quantum computing.

The new advance promises to unlock the transformative potential of cloud-based quantum computing by guaranteeing security and privacy.

The study is published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

About quantum computing

Quantum computing is developing rapidly. The new technology paves the way for innovative applications that could transform services in many areas, like healthcare and financial services.

It works differently from conventional computing and is a lot more powerful.

However, the technology currently needs controlled conditions to remain stable.

There are also concerns about data authenticity and the effectiveness of current security and encryption systems.

Safeguarding the customer’s privacy and security

Currently, several leading providers of cloud-based services, such as Google, Amazon, and IBM, offer some elements of quantum computing.

To scale up and extend its use, safeguarding the privacy and security of the customer is vital. Guaranteeing security and privacy is also needed for the development of new applications as technology advances.

The new study seeks to address these challenges.

“We have shown for the first time that quantum computing in the cloud can be accessed in a scalable, practical way, which will also give people complete security and privacy of data, plus the ability to verify its authenticity,” said Professor David Lucas, co-head of the Oxford University Physics research team.

What is blind quantum computing?

In the new study, the researchers use an approach called blind quantum computing.

This approach connects two separate quantum entities in a completely secure way. These objects could be in an individual home or in an office accessing a cloud service, for example.

Importantly, the new methods could be scaled up to large quantum computations.

Study lead Dr Peter Drmota at Oxford University Physics, said: “Using blind quantum computing, clients can access remote quantum computers to process confidential data with secret algorithms and even verify the results are correct, without revealing any useful information.”

Blind quantum computing over a network

The researchers created a system comprising a fibre network link between a quantum server and a simple device detecting photons. This allows blind quantum computing over a network.

Every computation incurs a correction that must be applied to all that follow. They need real-time information to comply with the algorithm.

The researchers used a unique combination of quantum memory and photons to achieve this.

“Never in history have the issues surrounding privacy of data and code been more urgently debated than in the present era of cloud computing and artificial intelligence,” said Professor David Lucas.

“As quantum computers become more capable, people will seek to use them with complete security and privacy over networks, and our new results mark a step change in capability in this respect.”

The work could lead to commercial development of new security devices

Ultimately, the results have the potential to enable the commercial development of devices to plug into laptops to safeguard data when people are using quantum cloud computing services.

The research was funded by the UK Quantum Computing and Simulation Hub.

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