The February 2023 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Geneva Vote Will Use Quantum Cryptography

First real-world use of physics-based encryption

2 min read

16 October 2007—A system that produces unbreakable encryption based on the quantum properties of light will be used to secure the electronic transmission of votes in a Swiss election next week. Grégoire Ribordy, CEO of Geneva-based id Quantique, the company that built the system, considers it to be the first real-world use of quantum cryptography and a major step toward creating a larger engineering test bed for the technology in Geneva.

Id Quantique approached Geneva’s regional government last August to demonstrate quantum cryptography devices, and officials immediately upped the ante. ”They said, ’Okay, we’re interested, but we’d like you to do something even more. We’d like you to use it in a real setting,’ ” says Ribordy, who cofounded the company. The 21 October Swiss parliamentary election provides a good opportunity to cut the ribbon on quantum cryptography, he says.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

Keep Reading ↓Show less