Quantum Chip Helps Crack Code

Experimental chip does part of code-cracking quantum algorithm

3 min read

3 September 2009—Modern cryptography relies on the extreme difficulty computers have in factoring huge numbers, but an algorithm that works only on a quantum computer finds factors easily. Today in Science, researchers at the University of Bristol, in England, report the first factoring using this method—called Shor’s algorithm—on a chip-scale quantum computer, bringing the field a tiny step closer to realizing practical quantum computation and code cracking.

Quantum computers are based on the quantum bit, or qubit. A bit in an ordinary computer can be either a 1 or a 0, but a qubit can be 1, 0, or a ”superposition” of both at the same time. That makes solving certain problems—like factoring—exponentially faster, because it lets the computer try many more solutions at once. The race is on to find the ideal quantum computer architecture, with qubit contenders that include ions, electrons, superconducting circuits, and in the University of Bristol’s case, photons.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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