Feeds

Pentagon in QuEST for quantum-teleport spooky IT

Well, some crypto-cracking hardware anyway

High performance access to file storage

US military boffinry bureau DARPA*, which sees the bleeding edge as a blunt instrument, is getting into quantum effects. The Pentagon mad-science profs have offered government funding for researchers who can help them obtain Quantum Entanglement Science and Technology (QuEST).

Initially, the DARPA chaps are fairly non-specific about what they actually want at the end of the quest for QuEST. They merely say the aim is to "investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in the fundamental understanding of quantum information science".

Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in which properties of two different atoms can be linked together despite the atoms being separated. In theory it doesn't matter how widely separated: one atom could be on Earth, and the other at Jupiter, or even light years away. The properties of the two will still be related instantaneously.

This can give rise to so-called "quantum teleportation", or - as Einstein put it - "spooky action at a distance", in which effects and correlations can occur at once between entangled atoms.

These rather promising phrases would seem to suggest that DARPA is after some kind of matter transmitter teleportation device - or at the very least a theory-shattering instantaneous communications link. In fact, entanglement theory calls for a normal, sub-light speed communication as well as the miracle quantum one; so this seems unlikely.

That said, one should never underestimate the wackiness of thought processes at DARPA. The body that funded the man cannon is quite capable of embarking on at least a small search for StarGate type instellar portal technology, no matter that the theory doesn't seem to offer any potential for it.

In fact, however, the likelihood is more that DARPA is thinking of so-called "quantum computing", which is reckoned by some boffins to offer ways of cracking hitherto unbreakable crypto. The Pentagon scientists emphasise that they're mainly interested in IT systems which might be good to go in the foreseeable future:

Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in the fundamental understanding of quantum information science related to "small" quantum systems. In this context, "small" refers to quantum systems with minimal quantum resources (e.g. number of coherent qubits, entanglement, quantum memory, etc). Results of such research are expected to lead to revolutionary advances in quantum information science and technology.

That sounds more like a crypto-smasher quanto-puter to us, rather than an interstellar portal or instantaneous subether radio. Disappointingly enough.

Read the full announcement here (pdf).®

*Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.