Data privacy: Secure access to quantum computing from home now possible

Scientists at Oxford University Physics have achieved a major breakthrough in quantum computing, ensuring unprecedented security and privacy for individuals and companies. This advancement is poised to revolutionize cloud-based quantum computing, potentially opening the doors to millions for harnessing its full power.

Quantum computing, with its potential to transform services across various sectors such as healthcare and financial services, operates on fundamentally different principles than traditional computing, offering significantly enhanced capabilities. However, concerns regarding the stability of quantum computing in controlled conditions and the effectiveness of current security and encryption systems have been a hurdle to its widespread adoption.

Leading providers of cloud-based services, including Google, Amazon, and IBM, have been offering quantum computing elements separately. Yet, ensuring the security and privacy of customer data has been a critical prerequisite for scaling up its use and enabling the development of new applications. The recent study by Oxford University Physics researchers addresses these critical challenges.

Professor David Lucas, co-head of the Oxford University Physics research team and lead scientist at the UK Quantum Computing and Simulation Hub, expressed the significance of their achievement, stating, “We have shown for the first time that quantum computing in the cloud can be accessed in a scalable, practical way which will also give people complete security and privacy of data, plus the ability to verify its authenticity.”

The researchers’ approach, known as “blind quantum computing,” establishes a secure connection between two distinct quantum computing entities, potentially allowing individuals at home or in an office to access a cloud server in a completely secure manner. Importantly, their innovative methods hold the potential to be scaled up for large-scale quantum computations.

Dr. Peter Drmota, the lead researcher of the study, highlighted the implications of their work, stating, “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. Realizing this concept is a big step forward in both quantum computing and keeping our information safe online.”

The system devised by the researchers involves a fiber network link between a quantum computing server and a simple device detecting photons, enabling blind quantum computing over a network. The researchers utilized a unique combination of quantum memory and photons to achieve this, ensuring real-time compliance with the algorithm for every computation.

Professor David Lucas emphasized the urgency of addressing privacy and security concerns in the era of cloud computing and artificial intelligence, stating, “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.”