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Quantum Pride

Sorry, it's a comic strip

One of the curious features of Quantum Cryptographers is the way they harumph at mathematics. “Don’t trust that math stuff, you should trust physics.”

It’s easy to sneer at this attitude because physics has traditionally gotten its cred because of its foundations in math. Physicists are just mathematicians who don’t squick at canceling dxes. Quantum people had a hard time for a while because some of their math ended up dividing by zero, which squicks many people even more than canceling differentials. Feynman got around that with some clever drumming and some pictures, but I sneer at the Quantum Crypto lack of respect towards mathematics every chance I get.

On the other hand, some of their attitude is justified. A few months ago, I shut up a cryptographer who was railing about the stupidity of religious people by saying, “Oh, yeah? Well, there’s no proof that factoring is hard. You’re taking that on faith. Intelligent Design, RSA, what’s the diff?” just because I hate all forms of certainty.

And so it is impossible to hide the smile on my face as I point you to the arXiv blog entry, “How to build a quantum eavesdropper” in which physicists Yuta Okubo, Francesco Buscemi, and Akihisa Tomita describe an experiment in how to create a quantum eavesdropper on quantum cryptography. The paper is here.

No word on when they’re going to propose to the ESA to do the experiment on the ISS.

The xkcd comic is “Purity” by the talented Randall Munroe.

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