Shane Curran, fifth year student at Terenure College introduced a project called “qCrypt,” a quantum-encrypted data storage solution that is resistant to quantum computers.
Over the past two years, discussions on quantum computing have been highly controversial as experts claimed that the utilization of quantum computers can break the majority of public-key cryptography algorithms and systems that are in use today.
NSA Warns Quantum Computing
The National Security Agency (NSA) previously published a memorandum on quantum computing last year, with an attempt to warn the general population of the threats that quantum computing has on encryption methods that are used by the government and industries worldwide.
“The long lifetime of equipment in the military and many kinds of critical infrastructures…means that many of our customers and suppliers are required to plan protections that will be good enough to defeat any technologies that might arise within a few decades. Many experts predict a quantum computer capable of effectively breaking public key cryptography within that timeframe, and therefore NSA believes it is important to address that concern,” the memorandum read.
However, a 16-year-old student was named as Ireland’s top young scientist and technologist of 2017, after demonstrating the application of qCrypt, which offers higher levels of protection, privacy and encryption in comparison to other innovative and widely-used cryptographic systems.
BT Young Scientist Judge John Dunnion, the associate professor at University of College Dublin, praised Curran’s project that foresaw the impact quantum computing will have on current cryptographic and encryption methods.
“qCrypt is a novel distributed data storage system that provides greater protection for user data than is currently available. It addresses a number of shortfalls of current data encryption systems; in particular, the algorithm used in the system has been demonstrated to be resistant to attacks by quantum computers in the future,” said Dunnion.
While it may be too early to predict whether technologies like qCrypt can protect existing encryption methods and data protection systems from quantum computers, Curran and the judges of the competition saw promising potential in the technology.
For his achievements and accomplishments within the Irish technology industry, Curran received over US$5,000 in funding, the BTYSTE trophy and an all-expense-paid trip to the European Space Research and Technology Center in the Netherlands.
Curran was also given an opportunity to represent the country at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, an event held in Estonia later this year. The EU event will provide larger exposure for Curran and his technology, and also offer a better ecosystem for Curran to continue his development of the technology.
Image Via: IFSA
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