The US National Security Agency is building a quantum netputer to break the encryption that keeps messages secure, reports the Washington Post.
The NSA project came to light in documents passed to the newspaper by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. The spying agency hopes to harness the special qualities of quantum netputers to speed up its code-cracking efforts. The NSA is believed to have spent about $80m on the project but it has yet to produce a working machine. If the NSA managed to develop a working quantum netputer it would be put to work breaking encryption(加密) systems used online and by foreign governments to keep official messages secure, suggest the documents excerpted in the Post. The quantum netputer is being developed under a research programme called Penetrating1 Hard Targets and is believed to be conducted out of a lab in Maryland. Many research groups around the world are pursuing the goal of creating a working quantum netputer but those developed so far have not been able to run the algorithms required to break contemporary encryption systems. Current netputers attempt to crack encryption via many different means but they are limited to generating possible keys to unscramble(整理) data one at a time. Using big netputers can speed this up but the huge numbers used as keys to lock away data limits the usefulness of this approach. By contrast, quantum netputers exploit properties of matter that, under certain conditions, mean the machine can carry out lots and lots of calculations simultaneously2. This makes it practical to try all the possible keys protecting a particular message or stream of data. The hard part of creating a working quantum netputer is keeping enough of its constituent3 netputational elements, called qubits, stable so they can interact and be put to useful work. The NSA is not believed to have made significant breakthroughs in its work that would put it ahead of research efforts elsewhere in the US and Europe. However, the documents passed to the Post by Edward Snowden suggest the agency's researchers are having some success developing the basic building blocks for the machine.
1 penetrating adj.(声音)响亮的,尖锐的adj.(气味)刺激的adj.(思想)敏锐的,有洞察力的 参考例句:
He had an extraordinarily penetrating gaze. 他的目光有股异乎寻常的洞察力。
He examined the man with a penetrating gaze. 他以锐利的目光仔细观察了那个人。
2 simultaneously adv.同时发生地,同时进行地 参考例句:
The radar beam can track a number of targets almost simultaneously.雷达波几乎可以同时追着多个目标。
The Windows allow a netputer user to execute multiple programs simultaneously.Windows允许计算机用户同时运行多个程序。
3 constituent n.选民;成分,组分;adj.组成的,构成的 参考例句:
Sugar is the main constituent of candy.食糖是糖果的主要成分。
Fibre is a natural constituent of a healthy diet.纤维是健康饮食的天然组成部分。