Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Investors Bet Quantum Technology Will Make the Internet Faster and More Secure

Quantum computing is a distant prospect but techniques to improve broadband and encryption are closer to market
December 27, 2012

Security and speed—two challenges facing the Internet that most Web users will feel familiar with. The partners of a new venture capital fund are betting that they will be solved by applying quantum physics.

“Hardware has to go through a revolutionary change,” says Serguei Kouzmine, managing partner of the Quantum Wave Fund, which says it has raised over $30 million to invest and aims to collect $100 million. Kouzmine says it makes sense to launch the fund because advances in software and increased usage of the Internet have created problems that can’t be solved using the communications networks and approaches to online security in use today.

Quantum physics does indeed offer some intriguing ideas about how fiber optic data links, the Internet’s backbone, could be made more capacious and secure. New ways to handle individual or small groups of photons could allow existing fiber optics to carry more data, for example (see “A Quantum Communications Switch”). Prototype systems that use quantum properties of light to create unbreakably secure communications links (see “Quantum Cryptography for the Masses”) might be made more practical, allowing them to become widespread.

Kouzmine says he’ll announce the fund’s first investment “soon,” and expects most of the companies funded to come out of academic physics labs, not the kind of place most people think of as the source of major new computing companies.

The Quantum Wave Fund is advised by a board of scientists in quantum physics, including Vladimir Shalaev of Purdue University, whose research group has pioneered work on invisibility cloaks (see “How to Make an Object Invisible”) and nanoscale lasers with a potential to be used for new forms of communication and computing (see “The Smallest Laser Ever Made”).

As for the prospect of computers based entirely on quantum computing, Kouzmine says it is distant, despite the claims of a certain Canadian start up company, D-Wave Systems (see “The CIA and Jeff Bezos Bet on Quantum Computing”). “It’s a tough question if you talk about general purpose computing,” he says. “Quantum computing is sort of our ultimate goal, but we try to focus on what exists today. We invest in companies that already have a product first customers and a team.”

However, Kouzmine adds that more limited applications of quantum computing are conceivable. “Think about quantum calculators. You don’t need to build a huge, complex device to take advantage of image recognition or code breaking.”

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.

lucid dreaming concept
lucid dreaming concept

I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.