(NationalAcademies.org) The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have released a new report entitled “Quantum Computing: Progress & Prospects” recommending the development and deployment of new cryptography now even though a quantum computer that could compromise today’s cryptography is likely a decade away. Their urgency arises because the replacement of an established internet protocol generally takes over a decade, and work to develop and deploy algorithms that are resilient against an attack by a quantum computer is critical now.
The report describes how a quantum computer operates, describing both the advantages and constraints of this type of computing. It points out that quantum computers cannot improve all computing and require today’s computing technologies to operate, so quantum computers are unlikely to replace current computers. Rather, they are more likely to be used as accelerators attached to more conventional computers.
The study was sponsored by the Office of Director of National Intelligence. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. The National Academies operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.