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Creator. Innovator. Entrepreneur looking to make an impact. Quantum Computing | Artificial Intelligence
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In October, I had the privilege of attending the Tough Tech Summit, hosted by MIT’s The Engine. The summit consisted of talks by some of the biggest industry leaders, including the co-founder of Nest Labs, on building technology for real, long-term change.

One talk in the conference that really stumped me was a fireside chat between Mariana Mazzucato and Tom Kalil, where they discussed the role of government in building an innovation economy beneficial to all. As a high-schooler who spends his time both nerding out over quantum computing and competing in policy debate, it amazed me that I never really thought about the obvious intersection between the two. …

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Disclaimer: The latter half of the article gets pretty technical. For casual readers, I suggest looking into the first and second sections for a brief overview of what quantum computers are and some pretty neat quantum mechanics that they manipulate.

An Introduction to Quantum Computing

As a kid, or even as an adult, it’s always fun to grab a maze and try to figure out the correct path between the entry and exit points.

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In my previous article, I talked about Shor’s Algorithm- a quantum algorithm that can be applied to break current RSA encryption. Luckily for us, current quantum computers have been using Shor’s to factor numbers such as 21, not 512 bit RSA keys. However, this has just been due to the limitations of quantum hardware. As technological advancements occur, we need a way of combatting quantum decryption to properly secure our data.

One way we can do this is by fighting quantum with quantum, using Quantum Key Distribution (QKD).

BB84 Protocol

According to the BB84 protocol, QKD would work as follows:

Let’s say you have two people that are sending data to each other — Alice and Bob. Alice randomly generates the digital key to “unlock” the data, which is a series of 0s and 1s. …

You’re watching a spy movie. The secret agent has 1 minute to decrypt the message to save the country from an incoming attack. He whips out his computer and smashes the keys on his keyboard. He exclaims, “Dammmit I can’t get past this firewall!” More key smashing. And just when his time is almost up, he hits enter. Boom. He has now saved the entire country.

Well, in reality, breaking current encryption messages isn’t that easy. But could it be?

Currently, RSA protocol is the standard encryption method given by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. At its heart, the encryption method relies on the fact that it is pretty difficult for computers to efficiently find the two prime factors of a large number. …

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