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Information Security in a Quantum World

Speaker:Prof. Hoi-Kwong LO
Affiliation:Physics and Electrical & Computing Engineering, the University of Toronto
Date:March 3, 2010 (Wed)
Venue:Lecture Theatre P3, LG1/F, Chong Yuet Ming Physics Building



The human desire to keep secrets is almost as old as writing itself. The contest between code-makers and code-breakers has been going on for thousands of years. With the recent advent of the Internet, the importance of encryption is growing. Recently, quantum mechanics has become a dream tool to both code-makers and code-breakers. Quantum computers can break standard encryption schemes such as RSA. Therefore, if a quantum computer is ever built, much of conventional cryptography will fall apart. Fortunately, quantum mechanics also comes to the rescue. Quantum cryptography can provide unconditional security guaranteed by the laws of physics. Commercial quantum cryptographic products are currently on the market. In this talk, I will provide a survey of the basic ideas of quantum cryptography and discuss briefly some of its recent developments such as quantum decoys and quantum hacking.

About the Speaker:

Hoi-Kwong Lo is a Professor of Physics and Electrical & Computing Engineering at the University of Toronto. He was among the first to solve two fundamental problems in quantum cryptography, namely to prove the security of quantum key distribution and to prove the impossibility of quantum bit commitment. His research group was the first to implement experimentally quantum decoy protocols and to hack successfully a commercial quantum cryptographic system. He received his B.A. in Mathematics from Cambridge University and Ph.D. in Physics from Caltech in 1989 and 1994 respectively. He has worked at the IAS, Princeton, USA, Hewlett-Packard Lab., Bristol, UK and MagiQ Technologies, Inc., New York. He is a Canada Research Chair and has won a number of awards including an Outstanding Young Researcher Award (OYRA) of the Overseas Chinese Physics Association (OCPA) in 2003. He was a co-founder of the leading journal, Quantum Information and Computation (QIC), in the field.
Physics colloquium series is organized to introduce cutting edge researches and new development in physics, designed to be suitable to graduate and undergraduate students, and also to scientists working on different fields. Each colloquium will generally start with an extensive introduction of the background of the field, followed by forefront research topics and results. The colloquium will serve as an education forum for students and laymen alike, and also serve as a platform for exchange and update their knowledge of various branches of physics among academic staff members.