Vikram Sharma talks about quantum random number generators and cryptography

How quantum physics can make encryption stronger

Currently Vikram Sharma is the CEO (and founder) of QuintessenceLabs (or Q-Labs) which uses quantum technology to strengthen cryptographic key management and recently released a quantum random number generator stuffed into a PCI card that plugs into a standard computer.


In this talk, presented at a TED Institute event given in partnership with Westpac, Sharma talks about the significance of a strong random number generator in cryptography, and present to the audience a Q-Lab product, probably the qStream 100P PCIe card.

Despite the “advertising message”, this is a good high-level talk on encryption:

“Recently, several casinos have been victims of a creative attack”

The output of slot machines was recorded over a period of time and then analyzed. This allowed the cyber criminals to reverse engineer the pseudo-random number generator behind the spinning wheels. And allowed them, with high accuracy, to predict the spins of the wheels, enabling them to make big financial gains.

“Similar risks apply to encryption keys”

So having a true random number generator is essential for secure encryption. For years, researchers have been looking at building true random number generators. But most designs to date are either not random enough, fast enough or aren’t easily repeatable. But the quantum world is truly random. So it makes sense to take advantage of this intrinsic randomness. Devices that can measure quantum effects can produce an endless stream of random numbers at high speed.

References and further readings


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