News / USA

NSA Building Quantum Supercomputer

An undated aerial handout photo shows the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland.
An undated aerial handout photo shows the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland.
VOA News
Quantum computers that can perform vast numbers of calculations simultaneously may be closer to science fiction than reality, but previously unpublished documents indicate the secretive U.S. National Security Agency is working hard to build a real quantum supercomputer, powerful enough to decode virtually every form of encryption now known.

Such a computer, many times faster than today’s fastest machines, could easily solve codes now considered "unbreakable" - the type of ciphers currently used worldwide by scientific and financial institutions and governments to protect their data.

The basic principle of quantum computing is a physical phenomenon that is not yet fully understood: certain subatomic particles can simultaneously exist in two different states. A conventional computer works with binary "bits" of information that are represented as either zero or one; quantum bits could be both zero and one simultaneously.

In theory, that quirk of physics will allow quantum computers to skip through much of the elaborate mathematical computations necessary to solve complex encryption keys.

Documents made public by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the code-breaking agency is spending nearly $80 million on a secret research program called "Penetrating Hard Targets."
   
NSA would not comment on this week's disclosures by Snowden, who has been living in asylum in Russia since last year, after exposing secret U.S. diplomatic cables and worldwide surveillance activities.
 
The U.S. government is said to be competing against quantum-computer research efforts by the European Union and Switzerlands, but experts in the field say practical exploitation of such systems is years if not decades in the future.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
January 06, 2014 9:43 PM
The NSA is getting ready for tracking computer hackers, data security of the government and banks, and cyber warfare. I hope the US develop the quantum computer alone without any outside assistance for security reasons. Is the quantum computer capable of automatic sending of stealth drones to incapacitate the computers of the hackers?


by: Mike from: USA
January 04, 2014 2:23 PM
Thank You National Security Agency. The realization of Quantum computing has been on my radar for a few years now. Congrats. What I am thanking you for is that you, not the Fed, will be the one that puts an end to this crypto currency nonsense from both a purely economic and cybersecurity standpoint. 1) I trust the NSA to be the first to have quantum. If it were anyone else besides them, that would be scary. 2) The onset of Quantum computations flipping the petaflops produced by the power used to try to dig the hash rate will cause a scare devaluation then runaway inflation versus what it can be bought for. NSA 1 MIT 0


by: Gerry
January 04, 2014 2:16 PM
Progress yes but it can never replace people, whose vigilance and dedication is paramount to the USA.


by: Matt from: London
January 04, 2014 7:56 AM
Can it run Assassins Creed IV?


by: Pantelis Roussakis
January 03, 2014 2:43 PM
Essentially a Quantum computer will have the ability to ponder multiple inane conversations on Facebook simultaneously. Yet the big questions remain, will it give the NSA the ability to predict what might happen (ala Minority Report)? Can it resurrect Schrödinger's cat and will the NSA use it for Bitcoin mining?


by: Wushu Tene from: Antartica
January 03, 2014 1:53 PM
Its already build

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid