The Future of Cybersecurity Is the Quantum Random Number Generator

Truly random numbers will provide an unbreakable tool set for cryptography

10 min read
Illustration by Greg Mably
Illustration: Greg Mably

In 1882, a banker in Sacramento, Calif., named Frank Miller developed an absolutely unbreakable encryption method. Nearly 140 years later, cryptographers have yet to come up with something better.

Miller had learned about cryptography while serving as a military investigator during the U.S. Civil War. Sometime later, he grew interested in telegraphy and especially the challenge of preventing fraud by wire—a problem that was frustrating many bankers at the time. As a contemporary, Robert Slater, the secretary of the French Atlantic Telegraph Co., wrote in his 1870 book Telegraphic Code, to Ensure Secresy [sic] in the Transmission of Telegrams, “Nothing then is easier for a dishonest cable operator than the commission of a fraud of gigantic extent.”

Keep reading... Show less

Stay ahead of the latest trends in technology. Become an IEEE member.

This article is for IEEE members only. 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 →

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

Video Friday: Robot Training

3 min read
A red bipedal robot with wheels for feet and hands stands upright at the top of steps with the city of Philadelphia in the background

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

IEEE ARSO 2022: 28 May–30 May 2022, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
RSS 2022: 21 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28 June–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL
CoRL 2022: 14 December–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today's videos!

Keep Reading ↓ Show less

Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine Turns 200

Error-riddled astronomical tables inspired the first computer—and the first vaporware

7 min read
An intricate metal clockwork consisting of columns of toothed gears on a rectangular wooden base.

During Charles Babbage’s lifetime, this 2,000-part clockwork was as near to completion as his Difference Engine ever got.

Science Museum Group

It was an idea born of frustration, or at least that’s how Charles Babbage would later recall the events of the summer of 1821. That fateful summer, Babbage and his friend and fellow mathematician John Herschel were in England editing astronomical tables. Both men were founding members of the Royal Astronomical Society, but editing astronomical tables is a tedious task, and they were frustrated by all of the errors they found. Exasperated, Babbage exclaimed, “I wish to God these calculations had been executed by steam.” To which Herschel replied, “It is quite possible.“

Babbage and Herschel were living in the midst of what we now call the Industrial Revolution, and steam-powered machinery was already upending all types of business. Why not astronomy too?

Keep Reading ↓ Show less

Modern System Level Design for Aerospace & Defense

Join this webinar series to learn the most important aspects of modern system-level design for RF and microwave applications in aerospace and defense

1 min read
Keysight
Keysight

More than ever, aerospace and defense companies must lower costs, accelerate their R&D, and reduce risk, all while simultaneously maintaining a high level of mission readiness. Register for this free webinar now!

Keysight is addressing these design challenges for RF and microwave applications, particularly for aerospace and defense applications.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less