Shor’s code-breaking algorithm inspired reflections on quantum information

By Tom Siegfried, 18:11 PM April 18, 2014

Second of two parts (read part 1)

When the Robert Redford film Sneakers hit theaters in 1992, most moviegoers had never heard of the Internet. They’d have guessed “World Wide Web” was a horror film involving spiders. And nobody knew that the secret code-breaking box that the Sneakers plot centered on was a quantum computer. All you learned from the movie was that it involved a “shortcut” for solving the mathematical problem on which codes were based.

But then 20 years ago, in 1994, Bell Labs ma...

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