[Cryptography] Quantum computers and the Government

Henry Baker hbaker1 at pipeline.com
Fri Sep 3 12:00:31 EDT 2021

-----Original Message-----
From: Phillip Hallam-Baker <phill at hallambaker.com>
Sent: Sep 3, 2021 8:46 AM
To: Henry Baker <hbaker1 at pipeline.com>
Cc: John Levine <johnl at iecc.com>, Cryptography Mailing List <cryptography at metzdowd.com>
Subject: Re: [Cryptography] Quantum computers and the Government

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.

Perhaps the whole US QC project is a plot to con the Chinese into wasting a huge amount of money ? (Heck, Star Wars worked to con the Soviets, so perhaps this is a tried-and-true disinformation campaign?)


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