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Q&A With Post-Quantum Computing Cryptography Researcher Jintai Ding

How quantum computers threaten our current cryptography system and what we can do about it

4 min read

Quantum computers may be the perennial ”computer of the future,” but if (or when) they do become a reality, their sheer power could threaten the security of our information-technology infrastructure. Online shopping, e-mail, and automatic software updates rely on public-key cryptography methods to ensure those transactions are safe. The two main methods of public-key cryptography are RSA, which is based on an algorithm that relies on the difficulty of factoring large numbers, and elliptic-curve cryptography (ECC), which is based on the mathematical structure of elliptical curves. But a quantum computer could quickly crack either cryptosystem. In October, the University of Cincinnati hosted an international cryptography conference with industry and government experts to address this very problem.

IEEE Spectrum’s Monica Heger talked to Jintai Ding, conference cochair and professor of mathematics at the University of Cincinnati, about the possible solutions to the quantum computer problem.

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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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