#CyberFLASH: Toward the quantum Internet

2016-01-07-Helmy-sizedAfter terror attacks last year in Europe and Africa, speculation swirled that the plotters may have been using smartphone apps to encrypt their communications.

Now, Professor Amr Helmy of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering is leading research that could break open such encryption while ensuring the security, privacy and confidentiality of legitimate communications.

Helmy’s work is supported by a Connaught Global Challenge Award. The award, funded by U of T’s Connaught Fund, was established in 2011 to support interdisciplinary approaches to problems of global significance. Proposals come from the U of T research community, involve large teams from multiple disciplines and are subjected to the highest level of international peer review.

As more people and businesses move crucial operations online, digital security has become a challenge of global significance. Modern encryption ciphers can only be broken with powerful computers, much faster than those commercially available today. Quantum computing and quantum cryptography harness the physical laws of quantum mechanics to provide both speed and security improvements many orders of magnitude better than today’s state-of-the-art.

“A technological platform that provides a significant leap forward is sorely needed,” says Helmy. “My personal vision is for a quantum Internet that can go farther beyond quantum-based security – that can afford distributed quantum information processing, where quantum computers are connected by quantum communications.”

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