Oxford Team Claims Secure 'Quantum Computing From Home' Breakthrough

Verifiable blind quantum computing promises ultra-secure access to cloud quantum services

clock • 3 min read
Oxford Team Claims Secure 'Quantum Computing From Home' Breakthrough

A team of scientists at Oxford University Physics department claim to have achieved a significant breakthrough in the field of quantum computing, with a new method that promises guaranteed security and privacy when using cloud services remotely.

According to the researchers, this breakthrough could pave the way for individuals and companies to access advanced quantum computers in the cloud remotely, potentially form home or an office, without compromising their data.

"Never in history have the issues surrounding privacy of data and code been more urgently debated than in the present era of cloud computing and artificial intelligence," said the team's co-leader Professor David Lucas.

"As quantum computers become more capable, people will seek to use them with complete security and privacy over networks, and our new results mark a step change in capability in this respect."

The Server Never Sees The Data

In the study published in the US scientific journal Physical Review Letters, study lead Dr Peter Drmota and his team demonstrated the effectiveness of an approach dubbed 'blind quantum computing' linking two entirely separate quantum computing entities, one in the cloud the other local.

The experiments involved linking a trapped-ion quantum computing server to a client device set up to detect photons with a standard fibre network cable.

The researchers say they performed several computations remotely on the server without the server ever seeing the data.

Each computation incurred a correction that needed to be applied to subsequent computations, requiring real-time information to comply with the algorithm. The researchers were able to achieve that by using a unique combination of quantum memory and photons, plus statistical analysis. The client accepts a result if the observed fraction of failed test rounds is below a chosen threshold.

According to researchers, the biggest advantage of blind quantum computing is that users don't need to possess any quantum capabilities; they simply instruct the server through an interface. Once the calculations are completed, the server returns the results. 

"Using blind quantum computing, clients can access remote quantum computers to process confidential data with secret algorithms and even verify the results are correct, without revealing any useful information," said Drmota.

"Realizing this concept is a big step forward in both quantum computing and keeping our information safe online."

In an era where the race to develop proprietary algorithms is intensifying, with countries and corporations investing billions, the Oxford team's breakthrough could be a game-changer, particularly for industries like pharmaceuticals that require the highest levels of data security.

Currently, quantum computers are primarily used for experimental purposes, research and training.  But the Oxford researchers said are confident that their findings will scale for operations on larger quantum computer systems as they become more advanced and widely available. They say their experiments demonstrate a path to fully verified quantum computing in the cloud.

"As quantum computers become more capable, people will seek to use them with complete security and privacy over networks – our new results here mark a step change in capability in this respect," Lucas said.

Ultimately, we could see commercial devices designed to plug into laptops, safeguarding data when individuals access quantum cloud computing services.

This article originally appeared on our sister site Computing. 

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