Quantum and a New Age of Espionage

Quantum and a new age of espionage For this next session prepare to have Your mind blown From busting open sensitive encryption To creating new unbreakable codes Quantum technologies have the potential To transform the world of Espionage and Cryptography A government official and physicist a Former CA officer now operating in Industry a Stanford Professor joined Forces to explain why and how some of These new technologies are related to Things in orbit above us Please welcome Herbert Lin senior Research scholar Hank Holland fellow Stanford University Laura Thomas chief of staff and Strategic initiatives at inflection Andrew Wilson quantum physics division Chief National Institute of Standards And Technology And leading this discussion is Aerospace Corporation's very own vice president And chief technology officer Dr Deborah Emmons over to you Thank you and good morning again I'm Deborah Emmons and I'm the chief Technology officer and vice president at The Aerospace Corporation where we Operate the only federally funded Research and development center Dedicated to this space Enterprise Exclusively

So I'm really excited here to be here This morning and leading this uh this Group here and talking about uh Quantum Technology specifically their Applications in space and how they may Be transforming things as far as the Potential in the world of Espionage and Cryptography So again I'm pleased to be joined here By a distinguished panel of experts and Let me just also just say a little bit More about each one of them Dr Herb Lin is a senior research scholar For cyber policy and security at Stanford University Laura Thomas is the chief of staff at a Quantum company inflection Laura is also A former United States Central Intelligence Agency case officer And Dr Andrew Wilson is the chief of the National Institute of Standards and Technology quantum physics Division and The lead for Quantum information science Or program at nist So let's get started here so we're Certainly starting to hear more and more About Quantum Technologies whether they Be applied to sensing or Communications Or computing So I'm going to start with you Andrew Let's talk a little bit about the Advantages of quantum versus you know Classical Technologies how does that Look yeah sure I mean classical

Technology is fundamentally rely on on Binary on ones and zeros uh quantum Mechanics uh it introduces a new type of Mathematics that can be used as a Resource so in in quantum physics there Are things like superposition or Entanglement that enable you that can be Used as a resource for information Processing so for example there are some Problems in in Computing for which these Two things superposition and Entanglement enable you to do competing That you just simply can't do even on The best high performance classical Computer And so you know that that's the the the Advantage in in Computing in in sensing There are some uh Quantum States things Like squeeze States and I mentioned Entanglement before that give you a Measurement Advantage so you can measure Things more precisely than you could With classical systems in the end uh Quantum is the thing that actually Limits the Precision of of measurement Which is of course why Nest is involved Uh in in that and and then there's the Issue of of security of information and So these these Quantum States can be Used Um to provide a very high degree of Security of information to me to make it Such that the information Um can't be accessed without disrupting

The information and so that that's Really the kind of fundamental ideas Behind and so those are the three areas Computing sensing Communications and Networking Okay no great so let me think about so The end State here again you said for Computing it's about complexity and Speed for sensing it's about you know Precision and sensitivity in the Measurements and and then of course on The security side for um the Communications so maybe herb What do you think about what's more Promising one of those versus the other Let's talk about the promise well from From my perspective uh Andrew mentioned The Computing the communications and and The sensing the the sensing is where as Far as I can tell the the all most of The action is that's where you'll get uh Near-term applications Um I think sensors that are more Sensitive uh than anything that we have Uh now you know by May one or two orders Of magnitude perhaps Um and and there's some really good Near-term work uh in in that on Quantum Computing we'll talk about that later uh But uh from what I've been able to to Tell right now there aren't any really Good Problems by good problems I mean Problems of that people really need to Be solving uh in the in the commercial

World that absolutely require Quantum Computing uh so I mean there are Possibilities for that but we don't we Don't know what those we can't point This in this is a problem that we need To we need a quantum computer for that You couldn't do with classical computing And then in terms of the quantum Communications part mostly that has to Do with uh security of communications Um and I would submit that we with Current uh public key infrastructure and So on we already know how to do secure Communications pretty well Um and so Quantum Communications might Give you a little bit of an edge up but From my perspective it doesn't it's an Expensive way to solve a problem that we Already know how to solve relatively Cheaply So can I infer from that that you think Maybe outside of quantum sensing where There's more problem Apps that it's it's a little bit Overhyped in the other areas yeah that's A little overhyped yes I think I agree With that I don't know how about other Panelists anything there maybe Laura Look you've worked on the government Side you would currently work uh the Chief of staff and Commercial what do You see the applications there I I mean Like the the application space is as Vast as it is important I mean we're

Talking about going essentially from Candlelight To electricity And when you think about the current Challenges we have in the world today You think about the rise of Authoritarianism uh the focus that we've Had on software When we really need to be getting back To doing hard things again Quantum is One of those definitional definitional Platform shift Technologies and this Race that we're in right now especially With the Chinese government I mean Technology's at the heart of it and Quantum I think is even at the heart of That and back to the point on sensing Sensing has been near term here and now It can interact with the current systems We have today provide speed ups that are A thousand x times faster And it's ready to be commercialized Anything you want to add on that I that Last statement I certainly agree with Um and in terms of the the vast space of Quantum Computing that's possible that You alluded to I agree with that too but We're still mucking around in it we're Still exploring that space uh to Identify the relevant problems that People need to be solving And there are problems along the way That we can solve through sensors that I Think add to our understanding of

Building better quantum computers okay So you know one of the things that Aerospace we are certainly being asked Now are physical science Laboratories to Work more and begin to look more Quantum Sensing that's probably the area we are Working the most in whether it's atomic Clock performance and their Characterization and drift over time the Other thing that's you know again kind Of as we operate more in this commercial Space governments asked us to kind of Look at the landscape look at what's Happening in some of the commercial Companies and then sort of see can these Ground demos actually make their way to Space and so I think the big question With some of these is can we see this Insertion of these capabilities Technologies into space applications so You know I think maybe one of the things I'd like to talk about here now is a Little bit more on the challenges side And what do you guys see maybe starting Here with you Laura on the you know what Are the challenges what's going to hold Us up here on this path way Uh two huge challenges first is Talent Just having the workforce that's ready To take something that's you know Absolutely there from a research Standpoint we have prototypes they work Wonderfully they even work in field Demonstrations but then taking that and

Productizing it how do you build Something repeatably at scale because if We don't start building at scale we're Never going to hit that cost curve that We need to truly commercialize the Technology so Workforce is one of the First challenges second is supply chain A lot of the parts and pieces that go Into building this technology they're Not here in the United States It's not quick to order some of these Devices we have to figure out how to Onshore this vertically integrate it in Order to hit those economies of scale as Well So how about you Andrew where do you see The challenges and the concerns here Yeah well I agree with Laura that these Are two enormous challenges I mean Fundamentally the these ideas of using Quantum as a resource this entanglement And superposition that I talked about is Great but the difficulty with it is that Quantum systems are generally very Fragile and and that's actually part of The reason why they're an advantage Perhaps for sensing they're they're Affected by things and so that means That there are enormous engineering Challenges associated with actually Bringing these things to deployment and So I think there's a lot of work that Needs to be done along that area I I Would say that while that's a challenge

It's also an opportunity it's likely That there are going to need to be Substantial breakthroughs that are Really needed in order for the sort of The dream if you like of quantum to come Through and so that's an opportunity for Startup companies for people to inject New ideas So maybe picking up on that why don't You go yeah Clarify sort of the nature of the leaps That you might want to take okay Um you've said and I agree that uh in in Some both of you said that in some sense The sort of the basic technology uh we We sort of understand what that is what That's about and and we can make sort of Rudimentary Quantum competing work in Various in various scene scenarios and So on that's absolutely true But Matt let me let me post for a space Audience let me pose to you two problems Okay One problem number one is we do right Now there's no feasible way to get to Mars either with a crude mission Problem number two is there's no Feasible way to get the Pluto with a Crude Mission okay I submit to you that Both of those are impossible right now But there are different kinds of Impossible Um that uh we are Um you know one one I mean the quote the

Engineering is just in engineering it's Just a small matter of Engineering in Both cases well not so small and you Need the breakthroughs to get you know To to get to the to what you need to to Do to go to Pluto maybe even to to Mars Um And you know we can get to the moon now Sort of I mean nobody could get to the Moon reliably right now in any case Um but then that's closer different Kinds of impossibility and I think that You know from my standpoint there's a Lot of the the discussion about Quantum Computing in particular that is More like glowing to Pluto than it is Like more like than going to Mars So I'm going to pick up on a few couple Of things here that we were talking About both on the talent side and maybe A little bit we talked about some Opportunities for startups so let's Start with the startups here now we know This is uh Capital ex it's Capital Extensive and it's that's a big expense Here for startups so again maybe Laura Can you talk a little bit about from a Startup standpoint what that looks like And then it may be a little bit more About the problem set that you're Actually working on at inflection yeah An entrepreneur and and you're looking To get into the quantum World Specifically in the hardware good luck

This is one of the most expensive Capital intensive industries that you Could potentially possibly become Involved in you know there's deep Tech And then there's quantum And this is hard and on the software Side it's a little different Um But yet go out of the quantum software Companies you're you're building Software for Hardware that doesn't Really exist I mean that's kind of like Building dos before the computer so Um One Challenge we have is especially In the United States I guess it's Global We've got what we call the 600 little Company challenge Now maybe there's not exactly 600 little Startups in Quantum but there's so many And they're so fractured and they're not All you know working in tandem towards This bigger sort of picture and that's Where we do need some big industry Consolidators to come in uh when you Start thinking about the scale Challenges and the the financial Challenges So you're seeing maybe that we would Need some kind of Consortium or some Kind of group together working uh well Not not a Consortium okay I'm Consortions are great for many things But they're also ripe for you know Basically everybody gets a trophy we're

All trying to work together but yet we Actually have different uh you know in States and goals so I think you know Companies that are going to consolidate And vertically integrate and then we're Going to see down the quantum space more And more okay more on that side How about on the talent side you had Mentioned also that one of the biggest Challenges when we were talking about Challenges was on the talent Dimension Um You know you all representing different Perspectives here both from uh you know Both in industry and government in Academia what are you seeing on the Talent side that you said that was a Challenge How do we solve that Andrew why don't we Start with you yeah yeah I I think Initially as this industry began it Began small and and it was focused Around physics and around quantum Physics and people with phds but as the Activities have grown and they've grown Really rapidly then what's really needed Is a much more diverse Workforce there Are a lot more different activities that Have to come together in order for the For these companies to succeed Beyond Just straight quantum physics so I think Understanding where the opportunities Are that that's a hard thing but then I Think the other part is just simply you

Know maybe contradicting what I'm saying But but when you come back to the Quantum physics there are certain There's a limited number of of Opportunities for really creating large Numbers of people with expertise in this Area so I think there are activities That are going on to to try and make Improvements to that so in other words To form one example is to form research Collaborations between institutions that Are traditionally not necessarily being Very strong in quantum Um with those that are so this is a way Of really trying to juice the the Pipeline if you like Yes so maybe you know Andrew that makes A lot of sense and you know certainly One of the things I think you think About with Quantum is that everybody Needs a PhD in quantum physics so maybe You know back to you Laura and then um Then we can talk a little bit about what Do you what do you think is that's What's needed here or how do we really Open up this um Workforce We have a number of researchers we we Always need more I mean Amo physicists Are not that easy to come by but when You're talking about building devices at Scale you need technicians and you need People who are willing to do you know The hard work of building the same thing Over and over again and that's usually

Not what physicists like to do at least In the experience at my company so Finding the workforce that's willing to You know do document control and just Put in the day-to-day grind of I'm Building this same exact Optical clock Over and over again Anything from you herb well we were Talking about a little bit back before Backstage I mean it's the the idea that Disciplinary expertise in Academia is Highly valued and systems integration Experience uh and and expertise is is Less valued and I I heard a lot of what Was said here as being consistent with The yes we need the the the the you know The subject you know the physics Expertise and so on but you need people Who understand how to build systems in a Reliable way and consistently Um to make progress and and that's Really really really hard Right Okay so maybe I'm going to turn over to Andrew and ask a little bit more about Some of the work going on at the National Institute and standards and Technology with something called Post-quantum cryptography I know you Guys have been leading the way on the Standards there can you talk about that Sure yeah no happy to talk about that so I you know the early drivers decades ago Of government interests in in Quantum

Was was driven by the intelligence Community Um Shaw's algorithm which some of you May have heard of was an algorithm that Said effectively meant that that if a uh A Quantum supercomputer if you like that Would be one way to describe it Um could actually be built and that Would basically be able to break public Key encryption so if such a computer Existed today that would create a Cryptography crisis it doesn't exist Today the intelligence Community funded Researched essentially to ask the Question could this be built I think the physicists have concluded Yes it can be built there aren't Fundamental reasons why such a device Could not be constructed and the Challenges are how do you actually do That there are many different Technologies that are being worked on It's hard to know whether there will be A single winner in the technology in This area so in the meantime we need to Prepare so at the moment Nest is is Working on a a post Quantum cryptography Program which essentially is an International effort to generate a Standard that would could be applied to Cryptography to make it resistant to Attack from such a computer And that standard there are draft Versions of standards that are out

Already it's an ongoing process and the Challenge will then be to implement These standards in a practical way that Is an enormous challenge because there Are a huge number of systems that would Need to integrate Implement these these Systems and so Nest is working on on That coordinating as I said an International effort on this Certainly when we talk about standard Sometimes it can be very challenging There to get that adoption and sometimes There's that resistance to say can Everybody want to pick them up or do we Wait and see where industry is going so What do you what's your thoughts on the Timeline and what is this going to look Like over and then making sure that You're getting really that input I think Earlier this year you had an RFI out if I'm not mistaken uh yeah I think um Everyone has their opinions Um I have an opinion the usual answer You get from physicists like me as well It's at least 10 years out that's what We've been saying for a number of 10 Years and so you can Use that as a judgment to decide how Serious these things are I think it's Very hard to tell because as I said There are many different technologies That are being pursued there's an Enormous efforts that are being made in These areas progress is very rapid

Um but again it's it's it's a it's There's a lot of of fundamental science That goes into actually implementing This stuff so it's actually extremely Hard to work on the timeline of course The timeline for post Quantum Cryptography is basically dominated by The timeline for large-scale Quantum Computing as well so it's really hard to Say um do I think that there's going to Be a large-scale quantum computer in the Next two years no Um is there going to be one in five Years well some of my industry Collaborators might say well you know We're going to have something pretty Interesting in five years I think it's Going to be a lot longer but I think Maybe in my mind the reason why I think It's going to be longer is I think that You know the true dream for at least for Quantum Computing is fault tolerant Computers computers that can really deal With the kind of errors that occur in Quantum systems that you don't get in Classical Computing that's that's much Harder those systems are they require Enormous technical overhead so I I think You know when I think about the timeline I that's what I'm thinking about fault Tolerant large-scale quantum computers That's going to be some time away I Think Right I mean I think there was some

Opening discussion around the problem Sets and and the timelines there so Maybe herb do you have anything to talk About here with regards to the the Timelines from your line of work here at Stanford I mean what do you see what do You think is going to be emerging in the Next couple of years well not Not something that's a problem for the Next couple of years but at least Government agencies ought to be thinking About it and they're starting to think About it in the next couple of years However long you think it's going to Take for a Shore's algorithm to be Implementable Um I mean X years from now whatever Whatever X is Um there's right now The intelligence Community would be Willing to bet a large amount that There's a lot of encrypted traffic out There that has been recorded that is Currently not decipherable that you Can't decrypt there's a whole there are Troves and troves and troves of uh Recorded data of recorded encrypted data That people recorded that adversary is Recorded uh at some point in the hope That they might someday be decryptable Um and X years from now they will be Sort of by definition Um and so there's an interesting Question there about all the secrets

That We had that once we thought were going To be secure that in fact all of our Adversaries are going to get a hold of In X years or X plus five years or Something like that that's a really Interesting policy problem I don't know If any U.S government agency that's Thought about that part of it uh and and It's gonna happen it's going to be a Massive leak and how is that going to Affect Europe's foreign policy and our Relations with allies and adversies and All that sort of stuff and I think the Answer is nobody knows no no government Officials actually paid attention to That problem as far as I can tell That there's there's definitely starting To uh I can certainly attest I used to Run assets for the CIA and that means Recruiting people in place to spy and Writing up reports from them absolutely The question that I had for the Technical teams was what at what point Will this become Decipherable specifically from China Because this person's life is on the Line and I really care about that from An ethical standpoint but also no assets Going to volunteer to work for CIA if They think they're going to get arrested And absolutely to your point we know the Chinese CCP is sucking up massive Amounts of data it's still now decrypt

Later when is that you know zero day That a quantum computer sufficiently Powerful enough exists that they can do It and as soon as they get the Capability quite confident they're going To use it Maybe I'll just jump in here I mean There is an acute awareness of this Problem of course Um and the question is okay what can you What to what extent can you do something About this particular problem the Information that's stored probably has a Use by date or its usefulness decays Over time I I think the the people that That are deeply concerned about this Problem and the intelligence Community The solution for them is to get these Post Quantum cryptography standards uh Implemented on their critical systems uh As soon as they possibly can and I can Assure you that they're working very Hard on that problem So again you know some of these Applications and Technologies are a Little more advanced again along the Technology Readiness levels here and You've talked about applications here With the intelligence community Laura maybe talk can you talk a little Bit more about your products and Customers sure I mean primarily focused On defense and security because the Governments have the ability to shoulder

The burden of larger size systems at Higher cost But ultimately it's all Driven towards commercial markets and That's hitting that economies of scale Cost curves dropping the price dropping The size First item is Optical atomic clocks this Is absolutely critical for position Navigation and timing which is something Department of Defense and other Governments around the world carry very Much amount If our satellite capability would be Would be taken out or is taken out or Spoof tack denied how are we going to Navigate Logistics is what wins Wars if We don't know where our troops are we Can't effectively fight For the commercial markets though it's About data density when you can increase Precision and timing you're not just Selling a clock you're actually selling Time and the fabric of time you can Speed up data throughput through Networks and when you think about chat GPT it is completely breaking servers Right now We can't continue that you know that Trajectory but if you can speed up the Data throughput the accurate time exams Huge commercial Market So that's a place where we're maybe Missing out now if we can't scale this Yeah

So maybe let's talk a little bit about Where we stand uh here you know in the U.S and versus globally maybe can you Talk about let's talk about what's been Happening I mean certainly there's been A lot in the news in terms of you know Investments being made whether it's in BC or in governments Um you know where do we stand there and Where are you seeing other developments Here maybe Um Andrew you want to start yeah I mean Quantum's certainly a global activity Um Throughout the world there are many Fantastic research groups that have been And making breakthroughs for decades and So that that investment in other parts Of the world pays off over time and so And indeed it's it's a global effort so So the competition is incredibly diverse And Incredibly intense Um assessment on the U.S side the United States has a very very strong Quantum Programs I think if you try and decide Okay who's in the lead in certain areas I think different countries have Different styles and different Approaches to what they're doing and so Maybe you might argue that there are Some areas where the United States Doesn't lead uh and and that's a serious Concern I think in in on the quantum Competing side there's just an enormous

Amount of activity in the research Environments and government labs and Academia and so forth and the vast Majority of companies which is really Where the research and development is Really now being led in Quantum Computing it's more on the commercial Side rather than in Academia That's heavily in the United States so There's an awful lot of strength and of Course you know being in San Francisco Now Um the tech home a lot of of the the Real Innovation and drivers coming from This part of the country yes and where Are you seeing maybe the biggest Partners uh you did talk about book post Quantum cryptography as being an International effort so or having International involvement maybe were you Seeing some of the Partnerships and Collaboration opportunities well I think Standards are you know post-con Cryptography is a standards operation And when you do standards you really Need buy-in from everybody so and for That kind of work it's really important To have strong relationships throughout The world and to work together in in Other areas it's a much more competitive Environment and so I I think that there Are certain parts of of the world that Is easier for us to interact with I Think what we try and do is establish

Trusted networks that's how I would Describe it where the the flow of Information where it needs to flow is Able to flow and in some areas it just Simply can't and then the other part is As Laura mentioned as Workforce we want To be able to take advantage of the best And brightest and and that means being Able to have have a movement of people Okay and I'm gonna pass On all right anything else The way the U.S has traditionally Projected power Is through setting technology standards And being the leader and yes we're in The lead arguably with Quantum maybe not On the quantum communication side if you Think about you know satellite activity Maybe But that Gap is narrowing and that's What concerns me when you look at the Patents that are being filed Um in China specifically the the amount Of Ip theft That's happening out of China it's very Concerning and I fear that the US is Losing a lead and that it will not be Able to set technology standards that Keep totalitarianism at Bay Well on that note that's pretty heavy But understand and anything else here Just just closing here just Um in terms of the the three levels of

Effort that we're doing the the quantum Computing Communications and sensing I Mean the first and the third are you Know from my standpoint absolutely worth The money we're spending on on that There's no question about that and my Level of effort that I want to put into Quantum Communications is just enough is A level such that it's enough to Convince the Chinese to spend their 110 To 100 times as much as we do on it that Would be a great outcome from the U.S Standpoint well very good this was Really exciting a lot of exciting things Here in Quantum in the new age of Espionage so thank you Thank you thank you thank you


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