(QuantaMag) Now that Google’s quantum processor is rumored to be close to reaching this goal, imminent quantum supremacy may turn out to have an important application after all: generating pure randomness. Randomness and quantum theory go together like thunder and lightning.
Randomness is crucial for almost everything we do with our computational and communications infrastructure. In particular, it’s used to encrypt data, protecting everything from mundane conversations to financial transactions to state secrets. Genuine, verifiable randomness-—the property possessed by a sequence of numbers that makes it impossible to predict the next number in the sequence–is extremely hard to come by.
That could change with quantum computers. Those first tasks, initially intended to simply show off the technology’s prowess, could also produce true, certified randomness. John Martinis, a physicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who heads Google’s quantum computing efforts said, “We are hoping that this is the first application of a quantum computer.”