The Cyber-Defence Campus is currently conducting tests on quantum computing. The aim of this project is to implement the so-called Shor algorithm with open source code. The CYD Campus aims to evaluate the ongoing progress of quantum computers, particularly with regard to their ability to crack existing encryption methods.

Quantum computers represent the forefront of technological innovation, yet their practical realization remains unknown. At present, most of these machines exist as experimental prototypes, lacking the full computational power to achieve truly groundbreaking capabilities. In the cybersecurity world «Q-Day» is awaited, signifying the day when someone builds a quantum computer capable of completely breakdown the encryption protocols that underpin the Internet.

The current progress of the CYD campus

Dr. Julian Jang-Jaccard, Evgueni Rousselot, Dr. Alain Mermoud and Dr. Vincent Lenders have been evaluating the capability of Shor’s algorithm on several current state-of-the-art quantum computers from IBM available to understand the advancement of this important quantum algorithm. A key measure of the algorithm’s capability is its power to factorize large numbers. Our current progress finds that the advancement of Shor’s implementation is still in its infancy, with the current capability of quantum machines only able to factor very small numbers (such as N=15 and 21), and even that with various constraints. Factoring 2048-bit numbers remains a distant goal.

Evaluating Quantum Infrastructure

A critical aspect of our CYD Campus project involves assessing the existing quantum computing infrastructure. By collaborating with five quantum computing companies and utilizing three cloud service providers, we provide valuable insights into the field’s current state. This evaluation not only aids in our research but also offers strategic benefits to the military sector by informing future investment decisions and collaborations with industry and academia.

Looking ahead, the focus will remain on validating the findings and continuing experiments across various platforms. This extensive research will enrich our understanding of quantum computing, preparing us for its inevitable integration into future technological landscapes. The true potential of quantum computing, though still somewhat elusive, will become clearer through diverse applications and continuous exploration.

Info box “Quantum computers”

Central to the functionality of quantum computers are qubits, the quantum counterparts to classical bits. While classical computers encode information in binary form (either 0 or 1), qubits exist in a superposition of both states simultaneously. This unique property enables quantum computers to explore multiple computational pathways concurrently, a capability that holds immense promise for solving complex problems.

In order to tackle the big computational problems, they’re supposed to solve, researchers estimate that quantum computers will probably need at least a million qubits. The quantum computers we know of today are nowhere near close to that. For example, Google’s latest quantum processor has just 72 qubits. The biggest known quantum computer in the world, developed by IBM, has currently 1,121 superconducting qubits arranged in a honeycomb pattern. And scaling up a quantum computer from just a few dozen or a few hundred qubits to a million qubits is a huge technological challenge. That’s because qubits are notoriously fragile. They’re made of single subatomic particles in delicate quantum states, and keeping them stable in those quantum states is really hard.

The allure of quantum computers lies in their fundamentally different approach to computation compared to classical systems. Whereas classical computers process information sequentially, quantum computers leverage superposition and entanglement to perform parallel computations. This paradigm shift holds profound implications, particularly in the realm of cryptography, where quantum computers could potentially render existing encryption methods obsolete by swiftly deciphering encrypted data.

However, the journey towards harnessing the full potential of quantum computing is fraught with challenges. Factors such as heat, electrical signals, magnetic fields, and even cosmic rays can disrupt the delicate quantum states of qubits, leading to computational errors. Scaling up quantum computers to accommodate the millions of qubits necessary for substantial computational tasks amplifies this challenge, as maintaining stability becomes increasingly difficult.

Source : Cyber-Defence Campus