[Cryptography] Quantum computers and the Government

Phillip Hallam-Baker phill at hallambaker.com
Fri Sep 3 11:46:02 EDT 2021

On Fri, Sep 3, 2021 at 12:47 AM Henry Baker <hbaker1 at pipeline.com> wrote:

> Current QC research may be focusing too much on Grover's algorithm, and
> haven't considered other valuable possibilities for quantum computation.

The main reason to build quantum computers is so we can do protein folding.
There are no positive applications in information security that I can see,
only negatives.

The Harbor-Solvay process uses about 1% of global energy use and is the
primary source for nitrogen fertilizer. Roughly 3/4 of all the nitrogen in
all of our bodies was fixed using that process which uses extreme
temperature and pressure to make ammonia. Yet a turnip can do the same
thing because it has a much better catalyst.

It is the same thing with DNA engineering. The current focus is vaccines of
course but a lot of the research effort is going into looking at ways to
make bacteria that make petrol and the like.

That is why systems like the D-Wave are interesting even if they turn out
to not be able to break crypto. It is also why the threat of Quantum
Cryptanalysis has to be considered. If the only use for Quantum Crypto was
to break ECC, the machines would simply get slapped with a government order
and only the NSA would have access to them. But that isn't the case.

Making QC work has the potential to shave as much off global energy demand
through eliminating Harbor-Solvay alone as shutting down cryptocurrencies
or the transition to LED lightbulbs (about 1% each). Of course it is a
matter of and-and not either/or, we do all of them. QC to Harbor-Solvay is
not the lowest hanging fruit.
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