(NextPlatform) Alibaba has been carving its own path through the early quantum computing landscape, starting with a cloud-based service rooted in their own 11-qubit quantum system along with simulators, including one 32-qubit that is available as a service with demonstration of a 64-qubit simulator via work with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The quantum technology Alibaba has developed is now being put to the test for quantum encryption for financial transactions among its cloud users, including Ant Financial and Alipay.
At the heart of the work, which is running on one of Alibaba’s quantum simulators, is random number generation. That might sound like a simple function but it is the key to secure financial transactions. Compared to past approaches, quantum random number generation has been proven the most secure cryptographic approach but it takes multiple methods to arrive at a robust result to reduce predictability of the generated set.
Using the quantum simulation platform, Alibaba uses its own cloud to provide random number generation across four different types of generators with more granularity in a post-processing stage. They can then pop these random numbers directly into applications running on their cloud services (Alipay, Ant Financial, etc.) and for ultra-secure transactions, can combine numbers further for different grades of security.
According to Alibaba engineers, depending on specific circumstances, different strategies can be applied to meet the requirements of different levels of security and speeds. For example, financial services such as Alipay require the utmost security and all possible loopholes in the cryptosystem must be closed. For this purpose, random numbers from various quantum devices are taken and processed.
Here’s another unique element to Alibaba’s service. These numbers can also be combined with existing encryption protocols (IPsec and SSL/TLS) and can be delivered via a users own VPN. In these protocols, the existing pseudo-random numbers used in key exchanges, authentication, and digital signatures are replaced with quantum random numbers.
More details about the four types of random number generation techniques and its implementation for both Alibaba cloud users and those connecting via an enterprise network can be found here.