Quantum Bayesian Networks

March 1, 2012

Purveyors of Quantum Bustle Skirts

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 9:54 pm

Check out the following article

Secret codes ready to take quantum leap in space
(Mar 2012, MSNBC) By Jeremy Hsu


“If we can build these quantum key distribution systems and make them global, we will be able to transfer information in such a way that if there’s a hacker who tries to find this information, we will know,” said Raymond LaFlamme, director of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. “Then we will be able to find a better way to encrypt that bit of information.”

The European Space Agency has even pushed for a “QUEST” space experiment that would test quantum communication to and from the International Space Station. Researchers discussed such ideas during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver on Feb. 19.

The Canadian Space Agency is working on plans for its Quantum Encryption and Science Satellite, while the European Union has teamed up with China’s Academy of Sciences for an intercontinental quantum key distribution test. The European Union also continues to work on using the space station to transfer a quantum key between ground stations separated by 870 miles.

Meanwhile, Japan has been running its own Earth-based quantum key distribution network in Tokyo. The country could launch an experimental satellite in four or five years, said Masahide Sasaki, director of the National institute of Information and Communications Technology in Tokyo.

The U.S. has seemed strangely absent from the quantum communications discussion, researchers agreed.

He forgot to mention that the US already spent millions of dollars on a boondoggle quantum network. It was built by the defense contractor Raytheon-BNN in Boston. (Ref) Maybe the US realized, after they had built it, that there was no use for it.

The most common use of the word “bustle” is to describe a situation full of activity, as in the sentence “the small harbor bustled with boats”. However, the word is also the name of a kind of frame worn under a skirt to make it puff out conspicuously in the derrière. Bustles were commonly used during the Victorian era (the period of Queen Victoria’s reign, 1837-1901). Victorians were big fans of good science and technology (Charles Darwin, Sherlock Holmes…). But they also patented the bustle. I find Victorian bustles decidedly ugly and unsexy. Especially so when compared with other historic female fashions, like, for instance, my favorite, flapper outfits from the roaring twenties (think naughty girls, jazz, swing dance, speakeasies, art deco, slang such as “bee’s knees”).

Quantum cryptography, a flourishing fashion in the quantum information field, reminds me of the Victorian bustle skirt. The public is clamoring for sexy quantum computers (the equivalent of flapper outfits), but instead, some governments are spending millions of dollars to subsidize research aimed at producing quantum crypto (the equivalent of bigger bustles).

The heads of 3 prestigious scientific institutes

  • Artur Ekert (director of Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore)

  • Raymond Laflamme (director of the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, Canada.)

  • Anton Zeilinger (head of his own team at University of Vienna in Austria)

(Each one has a personal Wikipedia page longer than the ones for Einstein and Feynman combined :) )

have been recently putting out press releases ardently proclaiming the wondrous, game changing research that their institutes are conducting into making bigger quantum bustle skirts.

Meanwhile, almost at the same time, IBM has been reporting on their truly exciting advances in the hot topic of building superconducting QCs. IBM is the bee’s knees right now. It makes the 3 institutes mentioned above look as glamorous as the bustled Victorian lady in the following photo.


Institutes headed by Ekert, Laflamme, Zeilinger

I’ve spoken about quantum cryptography in previous blog posts. See, for example:

Post Quantum Crypto

A must read is Bruce Schneier’s opinion about quantum cryto.


  1. I think you underestimate the power of paranoia. Since quantum computing can beat the current most dominant factorization based encryption schemes governments will get ever increasingly nervous. Apparently they either don’t understand that you can find other hard math problems to base you encryption schemes on, or they won’t trust any other scheme unless it is mathematically proven to be to hard for QCs as well (i.e. not BQP). I don’t think such a proven scheme exists at this point.

    Now, if I put my tinfoil hat on for a second: Assuming that governments are in fact that paranoid, then they will have a vested interest to either delay or heavily regulate scaleable QC, until they believe to again have regained unbreakable encryption.

    Does this have anything to with a realistic risk assessment? Absolutely not. I think Bradley Manning demonstrated this quite nicely.

    Of course governments are not the only ones paranoid out there. That is why in fact I argue that quantum encryption could do wonders to further Cloud computing acceptance. After all adoption of new technology seldom follows a purely rational trajectory:

    Comment by Henning Dekant — March 2, 2012 @ 1:13 am

  2. Mine is not to explain why, mine is to make fun or die. (The Charge of the Light Verse Brigade)

    Comment by rrtucci — March 2, 2012 @ 3:23 am

  3. Looking at the Ekert, Laflamme, Zeilinger photo I should have realized you take your humor serious around here. This is a lady not to trifle with. Solid, stoic and a bit intimidating. Also the Bustle Skirts will clearly offer some protection against the Canadian winter :-)

    Comment by Henning Dekant — March 2, 2012 @ 7:31 am

  4. [...] that the amount of effort and funding that goes into Quantum Cryptography is substantial (some even mock it as a distraction from the ultimate prize which is quantum computing), it seems to me that the fact that classic thermodynamic resources allow for [...]

    Pingback by Quantum Cryptography Made Obsolete? | Wavewatching — April 3, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

  5. […] this to an entirely different level.  This is of course no panacea against security breaches, and has been criticized as providing superfluous security illusions, since the social engineering attacks clearly demonstrate the human users as the weakest link. […]

    Pingback by Septimana Mirabilis – Major Quantum Information Technology Breakthroughs | Wavewatching — May 11, 2013 @ 7:24 pm

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