With countries like China, Pakistan, and even the US spying on their citizens, it's nice to know a remedy might be on its way in the form of the Quantum Internet. As researchers like Seth Lloyd of MIT make progress toward the goal of quantum computing, they've found that the same architecture used to build quantum random access memory (QRAM) could apply across the whole of the internet. This could put an end to internet spying for good, and would mean that Batman could send email to the JLA without fear of discovery.
According to PhysOrg:
Lloyd explains how classical RAM works: "Lets say you have a gigabyte of RAM. That means you have one billion memory slots, each with an address. When you wan to access one, an address is given, let's say it is about 30 bits long. The first bit will throw two switches, the next will throw four, and so on until a billion switches are thrown at once."
"The conventional design is incredibly wasteful. And it is susceptible to noise and interference. We saw that this wasn't going to work at all in terms of quantum RAM," Lloyd continues. He and his colleagues set to work on their bucket brigade design.
"It is a sneakier way to access RAM," he explains. "In the same gigabyte RAM, we send the first bit of the address along a path. Once the first layer is accessed, the next bit comes, following the path of the first bit, until it reaches the second layer. The third bit then traces the two paths before it. In this way, all the bits of the address only interact with two switches."
There are problems with this set-up, however. Even though the experts at Texas Instruments agree that it would work, they point out that the energy saved using QRAM would not offset the larger energy problems associated with classical computing. Besides, Lloyd admits, the QRAM set-up is a little slower than the RAM. "You'd have to be willing to make that trade-off."
That brings Lloyd back to the idea of quantum Internet search. "If you had a quantum Internet, then this would be useful," he points out. "This offers a huge decrease in energy used and an increase in robustness." The other interesting aspect is the possibility of completely anonymous Internet search. Not even your service provider would know who you are or what you search for.
This system actually sounds a lot like the Tor Project, which allows users to surf the internet anonymously by setting up a chain of intermediate servers between your computer point A and your destination web page point B. The servers only communicate with the two others directly adjacent in the chain, so your traffic can never be traced all the way through.
That system works pretty well, but it'd be pretty cool if the entire internet were rebuilt to make sure Big Brother couldn't watch us. Plus, "Quantum Internet" just sounds awesome.