If you follow tech news, you must have heard this one before: Quantum Computers will break internet encryption. This is thanks to one of the most celebrated results in Quantum Information: Shor’s algorithm for factorizing prime numbers. In early 2020, Google CEO Sundar Pichai claimed that

“In 5–10 years, quantum computing will break encryption as we know it today”.

Is that right?

Pichai’s statement should be considered seriously, but with a big dose of skepticism. …


Quantum technologies are all the hype now. Companies pop up left right and centre to sell you quantum computers, quantum simulations, simulations of quantum simulations, quantum encryption and quantum risk management.

The only caveat? Quantum computers don’t do anything useful yet! And while they one day will — with huge implications — there is another quantum technology which is already here, already useful, and might soon become a game-changer. Say welcome to quantum sensors.

Artist’s impression of NV magnetometry. Source: Patrick Maletinsky, Quantum Sensing Lab, University of Basel (www.quantum-sensing.ch)

In this sequence of stories, we will see what these sensors can be good for! Here in part 1, we will look at sensing magnetic fields…


The last decade has seen quantum computing grow from a niche research endeavour to a large-scale business operation. While it’s exciting that the field is experiencing a surge of private funding and media publicity, it’s worth remembering that nobody yet knows how to build a useful fault-tolerant quantum computer. The path ahead is not “just engineering”, and in the coming decade we have to pay attention to all the “alternative approaches”, “crazy ideas” and “new ways of doing things”.

With this in mind, I created this subjective list of quantum computing research highlights of 2019. It highlights experimental achievements which…

Hearing the Quantum

Podcast and blog about quantum. www.HearingTheQuantum.com

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