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The Military Science Technology

NSA and Army On Quest For Quantum Physics Jackpot 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-win-but-only-if-you-don't-know-the-prize dept.
coondoggie sends this excerpt from NetworkWorld: "The US Army Research Office and the National Security Agency (NSA) are together looking for some answers to their quantum physics questions. ... The Army said quantum algorithms that are developed should focus on constructive solutions [PDF] for specific tasks, and on general methodologies for expressing and analyzing algorithms tailored to specific problems — though they didn't say what those specific tasks were ... 'Investigators should presuppose the existence of a fully functional quantum computer and consider what algorithmic tasks are particularly well suited to such a machine. A necessary component of this research will be to compare the efficiency of the quantum algorithm to the best existing classical algorithm for the same problem.'"
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NSA and Army On Quest For Quantum Physics Jackpot

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  • This just in... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sfazzio (1227616) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @11:19PM (#25551009)
    NSA and Army wants quantum computations researchers to do exactly what they have been doing for the last 15 years.
  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @11:32PM (#25551069)
    Why must people with no idea on a particular subject always be in charge of the budgets around a particular subject?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @11:44PM (#25551141)

    Because people who do understand subjects like this usually have a hard time deciding their budget shouldn't be unlimited.

    I know, because I happen to be one of those people. I'm just saying I can see how it might be seen as a conflict of interest to expect people to limit their own budgets (when those budgets).

  • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @12:01AM (#25551219) Homepage

    "Investigators should presuppose the existence of a fully functional quantum computer," huh?

    Does anyone else here read this as "NSA has a nifty, shiny new toy and are looking for ways to use it" ...?

    I'm sure a lot of people read it that way. Personally, I read it as, "We know a quantum computer will be practical in the near future, and when that happens we want to be able to hit the ground running while everybody else says 'we has a nifty, shiny new toy and are looking for ways to use it.'"

  • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shawb (16347) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @12:02AM (#25551229)
    Alternatively, they may be trying to convince the world that they DO have a quantum computer.
  • It's about time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @01:55AM (#25551685)

    Quantum computing has been getting quite a lot of grant money in recent years, ever since IBM's Peter Shor found a quantum algorithm to factor products of large primes in polynomial time, threatening to break a lot of public key cryptosystems. The money that this unlocked has supported a lot of neat basic physics research, but at present Shor's algorithm remains the only known killer app for quantum computers. It's about time somebody asked for more applications. If none are found soon, funding for QC will probably drop quite a bit, and probably should.

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blueg3 (192743) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @08:39AM (#25553731)

    No. Too obvious. They might as well just say they have a quantum computer. If they had one and didn't want anyone to know about it, they'd get this research done more quietly.

    This is a "construct reasons why quantum computers should be funded". Also, if they feel that working quantum computers are on the horizon, their design may need to be influenced by their future application. (For example, Algorithm We Must Have required 192 qbits -- so make sure that first working quantum computer has at least that many.)

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