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  • Kanishk Dasgupta

Quantum Computing vs Cryptography

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” ~ Arthur C. Clarke. 

With technology advancing at a more rapid pace than ever, our world is changing to an extent that we cannot begin to fathom. A new type of computing called “quantum computing” has become popular amongst data scientists and researchers. But what is quantum computing and how does it affect us?

In short, quantum computing is a revolutionary type of computing that uses the principles of quantum mechanics, a theory in physics that describes the bizarre behaviours of energy and particles at the smallest scales. Unlike traditional computers, which use bits (0s and 1s) to process information, quantum computers use quantum bits, also known as  “qubits”. These qubits can represent and process a vast amount of information more efficiently because they can exist in multiple states at once (not just as 0 or 1, but both simultaneously) due to a phenomenon called “superposition”.

While it is fantastic that we are reaching new heights in the field of technology, we must understand the threat that quantum computing poses to cryptography. Cryptography is simply the science of encoding messages so that only the intended receiver can understand them. It's like writing a message in a secret code that only you and your friend know how to decipher. “Traditional cryptography” relies on complex mathematical problems that are time-consuming for today's computers to solve, ensuring that the information stays secure and private.

However, quantum computing poses a tough challenge to traditional cryptography. Quantum computers, with their ability to process and decipher information at unprecedented speeds, could eventually break many of the cryptographic codes that are currently used to secure digital communications on the internet. This includes everything from your personal messages and emails to “secure” transactions online.

To counter this grave threat, researchers are developing something called “post-quantum cryptography”. This new approach to cryptography aims to create codes that are secure against the capabilities of quantum computers. It's based on mathematical problems that even quantum computers would find impossible to solve, ensuring that our digital information remains safe and sound.

The emergence of quantum computing has sparked an exciting race to develop more and more advanced cryptographic techniques. Keeping our digital world secure in the age of quantum computing is not just a challenge but a necessity, ensuring that private communications and sensitive information remain protected.

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