(FinancialTimes) Anjana Ahuja has written a thoughtful, reflective article discussing the UK’s new £50 note with Alan Turing’s image date of birth written in binary code plus drawings of the Bombe, the device he co-invented for cracking Enigma. The note also quote from a 1949 newspaper Turing interview: “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only a shadow of what will be.” Turing’s prescience brings to mind the quantum computers we see emerging out of labs today.
The big challenge today is keeping data secret in the face of accelerating computer power. And the most serious threat to that secrecy is the prospect of quantum computers, a concept that can be viewed as a natural successor to Turing’s vision of a “universal machine”. Computer scientists are now scrambling to develop “post-quantum cryptography”, a set of new cyber security protocols that cannot be undone by these futuristic machines. Quantum computers, a concept that took off in the 1980s, are a world apart from their conventional counterparts.