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Commercializing Quantum Keys

Companies link spooky techniques to off-the-shelf distribution technology

4 min read

It’s a strange business, turning the ­esoteric quantum properties of light into money. But there are a few brave companies that have been trying to do just that for the last five years, and they may have hit on the right way to do it. What these firms, ID Quantique, MagiQ, and SmartQuantum, are trying to sell is a way of distributing a cryptographic key that is theoretically theft-proof, because it relies on the quirky quantum ­physics of photons. Such a ”quantum key” distribution system could allow entities with secrets—banks, large ­technology firms, governments, and ­militaries—to encode and decode their data for transmission over optical fiber.

In the hopes of finally gaining customers, the companies involved have retooled their wares. Some are tying their quantum key distribution technology to high-bandwidth commercial devices that can use the keys to encrypt data. And some are looking to redesign their systems so that they can be integrated into telecom networks to make it more attractive for big carriers to offer quantum encrypted lines to their customers.

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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
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

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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