September 10

Computer Users Surrender Privacy Law Sweeping Security

Computer Users Surrender Privacy Law Sweeping Security

The Australian computer government introduced a number of changes to Australia’s security laws during its last sitting. This now being consider by Parliament. The National Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 Cth is controversial because it contains stronger anti-whistle blower. Clauses and a special Intelligence Operations regime which would give ASIO officers immunity from criminal and civil liability.

Proposals to increase ASIO’s power to collect intelligence on computers and networks have received less attention. These measures, like the government’s proposal to retain metadata. Suggest that intelligence agencies will have a greater ability to invade Australians privacy.

Open The Door To Computer Access

The current section 25A of Australia Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1978 Cth. ASIO Act, allows the attorney general to issue a warrant for computer access. Upon request by the director-general security the head of ASIO. If the attorney-general has reasonable grounds to believe. That access to a particular computer’s data would significantly assist in the collection of security intelligence, the warrant could be issue.

ASIO officers can then engage in activities to get that data. This includes entering private areas and hiding their actions. The Act defines computer as a computer or computer system, or part thereof. ASIO can only have access to one computer with a computer access warrant.

Definition Of Computer

The government proposes to change the definition of computer in statute so that one access. Warrant can be use to access multiple computers or networks. Computer would be define by the ASIO Act as:

  • One or more computers
  • More computer systems
  • One or more computer networks
  • Any combination of the above.

This means that whenever the word computer is use in the ASIO Act. It should understood to refer to any number or combination of computers (plural). The legislation doesn’t attempt to define computer networks. A singular noun could refer to an unlimited number of electronic or telecommunications systems. Which is a remarkable feat of legislative drafting.

The warrant must identify a specific computer, a computer that is located at particular. Premises or a computer likely to used or associate with a particular person. These should read in plural. ASIO could specify, for instance, multiple computer. Networks at a university or other networks to which a person can have access.

Access to data via computers owned by third parties (such as family members. Friends, and co-workers would allow under the Bill. It would be permit if it is reasonable in all circumstances to do so. If warrant is execute, ASIO officers will be authorize to cause interference. With computer or network systems if this is necessary. However, it must not cause any loss or damage.

Everybody’s Privacy Is At Risk

While the government’s metadata proposals are more prominent, these other changes will significantly increase ASIO’s power to invade privacy of Australian citizens.

Access to multiple computer networks can, at its broadest, imply access to all computers that are connect to the internet. Because the internet a network made up of computers networks, there is no reason to believe that it would not cover by the legislation. As require by legislation, the internet likely to be use by the person of security interests.

Although this is unlikely to be the intended meaning, it does show how much thought the government has given to limiting warrant provisions.

ASIO could access any computer at a university or workplace where a person of interest is studying. This scenario would be more realistic. Even if the government adheres to this narrower interpretation, it will still expose many innocent people to potential severe invasions of privacy.

To limit the potential impact of these provisions, it would helpful to define computer network to include only computers that are locate at a specific premises or that are associate with a particular individual. Although this language is already in the Bill it does not limit the power to that degree.

Another way to make sure ASIO has access to only the computer or network that is necessary for collecting relevant intelligence would be to state this. Another way to make sure ASIO has access to multiple computers is to state that it can only do so after exhausting all other means of obtaining intelligence.

All of these options are viable to limit the impact of warrant provisions. These would still give ASIO access to data stored on multiple computers. However, the government has not made any effort to include these limiting factors into the legislation.

It Important To Clearly State

These provisions do not have any limits. This is not due to the government trying to expand ASIO’s power. It is a difficult task for the government to create legal language that accurately describes and accounts in new and emerging technologies.

This is how the government approached the challenge: they didn’t provide clear definitions for key terms in Bill. This is one view. This gives intelligence agencies enough power to collect intelligence, without being constrained by statutory definitions which are likely to be overridden by new advances in computer technology.

However, the government grants vague powers to intelligence agencies while the privacy of all Australian citizens are at risk. It is important that the law be clearly stated in advance. Overreaching and vagaries are not good ways to address difficulties in legislative drafting.

As Parliament examines the amendments it should ensure that the powers of computer access warrant are clearly defined. Privacy invasions should be kept to a minimum. The country learned something from the period of lawmaking following September 11, 2001: laws that were rushed to make sense in the face of security threats are often poorly written and too broad.

The amendments should be discussed in Parliament, but not overshadowed or dominated by the next round of national security reforms. Both the security threat posed in return foreign fighters and privacy threats posed from data retention are important issues. However, ASIO’s current access powers pose a serious threat to privacy at universities and workplaces.

September 10

Pi To 62.8 Trillion Digits Useless And Fascinating

Pi To 62.8 Trillion Digits Useless And Fascinating

This week, University of Applied Sciences Graubunden in Switzerland set a new world record by calculating the number of digits of Pi. It was 62.8 trillion numbers. My estimate is that these numbers would have filled every book in the British Library ten-fold if printed. This feat of arithmetic by the researchers took 108 days, 9 hours, and is far more impressive than the January 2020 record of 50 trillion numbers

Why Do We Care Pi?

Pi (the mathematical constant) is the ratio between a circle’s diameter and its circumference. It is about 3.1415926536. These ten decimal places all that is need to calculate Earth’s circumference with a precision of less then a millimetre. We could calculate the circumference our Milky Way galaxy with 32 decimal places to the same precision as the width of a hydrogen Atom. With only 65 decimal points, we could calculate the size of the universe to within a Planck length. This is the shortest distance that can be measure.

The remaining 62.79 trillion numbers are of no use. The short answer is they aren’t scientifically useful. However, computer scientists and mathematicians will eagerly await the details of this massive computation for many reasons.

Why Is Pi So Intriguing?

Although the concept of pi is easy enough to understand for primary school students, its numbers are notoriously difficult to compute. One number such as 1/7 requires infinitely many decimals to write down, 0.1428571428571… but the numbers repeat themselves every six positions, making it simple to understand. Pi is an example of an irrational numerical number that has no repeating patterns. Pi is not only irrational but transcendental. This means that it cannot be define by any equation containing whole numbers.

Since ancient times, mathematicians have been computing pi worldwide. However, techniques for doing so changed drastically after the 17th-century with the introduction of calculus and the infinite series technique. Madhava series, named after Madhava of Sangamagrama, an Indian-Hindu mathematician, is one example.

p = 4 (1 – 1/3 + 1/5- 1/7 + 1/11 +)

Adding More Terms

This computation is closer to pi’s true value by adding more terms. It takes a while after 500,000 terms it only produces five correct decimal places for pi!

New formulae for pi are a way to improve our mathematical knowledge and allow mathematicians to compete for bragging rights. In 1988, the infinite sum was discover and can calculate 14 new pi digits for every term that is added.

Breaking the record is a motivator for new digits, but there are other important benefits.

The first is the testing and development of supercomputers as well as new high-precision multiplication algorithms. The optimization of the computation of pi results in computer hardware and software that can benefit many other areas, such as accurate weather forecasting, DNA sequencing, and COVID modeling.

The most recent calculation of pi was 3.5x faster than the previous attempt, despite 12 trillion more decimal places. This is an amazing increase in supercomputing performance within just 18 months.

Involves The Investigation

The second involves the investigation of the nature of pi. There are fundamental questions that remain despite centuries of research into the nature of pi’s digits. Pi is consider a normal number. This means that all possible sequences should be equally common.

We expect that the digit 3 will appear as frequently as the number 8, and the string of digits 12345 to occur as often or more often than 99999. We don’t know if every decimal digit in pi appears infinitely frequently, or if there are more complicated patterns.

Researchers are still waiting confirmation from Guinness Book of Records. We hope that there will be many mathematically fascinating treasures in the numbers.

The digits pi will not be finished there will always more data to discover and new records to break. If you don’t have a supercomputer but are interested in computing decimal numbers (and a PhD), you might consider other interesting irrational number like 3, which is only known to be 10 billion digits, the tribonacci constant (20,000) or the Twin Prime Constant (1.001 digits). Although you may not be featured in the morning news, it is a way to get your name into the record books.

September 10

Simple Crystal Pave Full-Scale Quantum Computing

Simple Crystal Pave Full-Scale Quantum Computing

The development of a quantum computer on a large scale will transform many areas, including vaccine and drug development, artificial Intelligence, transport and logistics, and climate science. Over the past decade, quantum computing investments have seen an explosion. However, quantum processors of today are very small in scale. They have fewer than 100 qubits, which are the fundamental building blocks of quantum computers. Qubits is the smallest unit in computing. It comes from quantum bits.

Although early quantum processors were crucial in demonstrating quantum computing potential, it is likely that processors with more than a million qubits will be require to realize globally important applications. New research addresses a fundamental problem in scaling up quantum computers. How can we control millions of qubits instead of just a few? We present a new technology in Science Advances that could offer a solution.

What Is A Quantum Computer Exactly?

Qubits are use to store and process quantum information in quantum computers. Qubits are able to do some calculations faster than classical computers, unlike classical computers’ bits of information.

A qubit, unlike a classical bit which can be represent by either 1 or 0, can exist in both 0 and 1 simultaneously. This is call a superposition state.

Google and other companies have demonstrated that even early-stage quantum computers can surpass the most powerful supercomputers in the world for a highly specialized task. This is what we call quantum supremacy.

Google’s quantum computer built using superconducting electrical components. It had 53 qubits. The temperature was close to -273 in high-tech refrigeration. This extreme temperature is necessary to remove heat which could cause errors in the fragile qubits. These demonstrations are important but the challenge is to create quantum processors that have many more qubits.

UNSW Sydney is making major efforts to create quantum computers using the same material as computer chips every day: silicon. The prospect of using this technology for building a quantum computer is exciting because a conventional silicon chip is small and can hold several billion bits.

Control Quantum Problem

Information store in silicon quantum processors by individual electrons. These electrons are located beneath small electrodes on the chip’s surface. The qubit coded into the spin of the electron is a specific example. You can imagine it as a tiny compass within the electron. The needle can point either north or south, representing the 0 and 1 states.

A control signal must be direct at the qubit to set it in superposition (both 0 & 1), which is a common operation in quantum computations. This control signal for qubits in silicon is in the form a microwave field. It’s similar to the ones used to transport phone calls over 5G networks. The electron spins (compass needle), when the microwaves interact with it.

Each qubit currently requires its own microwave control area. The microwave control field is deliver to the processor via a cable that runs from room temperature to the bottom of a refrigerator at around -273. Each cable carries heat, which must be remove before the cable reaches the quantum processor.

This is difficult, but it is possible at 50 qubits. The current refrigerator technology is capable of handling the heat load from cable. It is a major problem if we want to use systems with more than a million qubits.

Global Control Is The Solution

In the late 1990s, a simple solution was found to the problem of controlling millions of spin qubits. Global control was a simple concept: Broadcast one microwave control field over the whole processor.

To make qubit electrodes interact with the global fields (and create superposition states), voltage pulses can be applied to them locally.

It is much simpler to generate these voltage pulses on-chip that it is to generate multiple microwave field. This solution is simple and requires only one control cable. It also removes the obtrusive microwave control circuitry.

Global control over quantum computers has been an idea for more than 20 years. Researchers couldn’t find a technology that would allow for the integration of a chip to generate microwave fields at low power.

Our work shows that a component called a dielectric resonance could allow us to do this. A dielectric resonator, a transparent small crystal that traps microwaves for a brief period of time, is what we are referring to.

Resonance is a phenomenon that traps microwaves. This allows them to interact longer with spin qubits and reduces the power required to create the control field. This was crucial for operating the refrigerator’s technology.

Our experiment used the dielectric resonance to create a control field that covered an area that could hold up to four million qubits. This demonstration used a quantum chip with two qubits. We were able show that the microwaves generated by the crystal could flip each spin state.

The Road To A Quantum Computer On A Large Scale

This technology will not be able to control a million qubits. There are still many things to do. Our study showed that we were able to change the qubit state, but could not produce superposition states.

This critical capability is being demonstrated by ongoing experiments. Further research is needed to determine the effect of the dielectric resonance on other aspects and functions of the processor.

We believe that these engineering challenges can be overcome and will eventually lead to a large-scale spin-based quantum computing system.