Privacy in a Quantum World

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Science  30 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5415, pp. 747-748
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5415.747

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Classical approaches to encoding information generally rely on using encryption protocols that are difficult for computers to crack, because the required mathematical operations are prohibitively slow on classical computers. However, the same encryption protocols will not work when quantum computers are developed, because these mathematical operations are much easier for them. Therefore, new protocols must be developed if information transfer is to be secure in a world where quantum computers are in use. Bennett and Shor discuss recent advances in this field, through which theory has caught up with experiment in quantum cryptography.