Jacob said, “Okay, got it. Can you give me a real world example that will help me cement this concept?”
Petra studied him for a second to consider a good example and then said, “You know how a telephone book works? All last names in a geographic area are alphabetized with a first name which creates a useful index for finding the person you want to call. Once you have found the name of the person you want to call, you run your finger across the page to their associated telephone number and make the call. Simple and easy for lookup and use. But if all I gave you was thousands of phone numbers and told you to find the people associated with those numbers, you would have no way to work backwards to the original telephone book alphabetic listing. This is an example of a one way encryption algorithm. Does that help as an example?”
Jacob nodded and smiled. “This is complex but easier with your explanation. So I can even see the use of quantum computing in this encryption process to improve the reliability and integrity of the security routine, right?”
“Yes, of course.” She smiled with his understanding.
It was refreshing to find someone to discuss these topics with, and she almost basked in his silent approval during their rather lengthy discussion.
“I can see how leveraging this could be of great value. Ahead of the curve for stopping bad guys,” he chuckled.
Jacob thoroughly enjoyed her delivery of what some would suggest was a complex casual discussion. He found himself more totally drawn to her and fascinated with her grasp of the information and delivery. Great mind, with a very nice wrapper.
“My research indicates that quantum computing is feasible and that it can be used to quickly generate the inverse of an elliptical curve discrete logarithm and read the cipher text as quickly as it is being generated. Much like what was done when Bletchley Park had decrypted the German enigma cipher machine at the outbreak of World War II,” Petra added.
At that point, Petra stopped looking at him for understanding or acceptance, yet she was slightly embarrassed at being perceived as bragging.
“Okay, so I get this and did not realize these roots went back to the WWII cipher machines, though it makes sense. Humans build on information over time. Hmmm, I wonder what other complex discussions we might have.” He smiled at her. “I think for right now, with my lack of sleep, I have heard all I can digest. However, I’d like to continue my education in this area at another time. You have a way of explaining that works. Thank you very much.”
She beamed at the compliment but returned to a more serious expression, trying to keep him from seeing too much. She was finding him too attractive as well as too smart.
“Perhaps if the weekend works out, we can discuss further or cover other topics of mutual interest, Jacob?”
“Agreed. I need to head home and catch up on some things. Let me know about the weekend on Friday, or sooner. I think we’d have fun.”
He felt her watch him as he mounted up and began the ride home.
Arriving home, he parked his bike and picked up his mail on the way inside. He found nothing of value in the mail but ads, which he added to the recycle pile. He connected his PC and did a small amount of clean up. Confronting Buzz was a good idea, but he simply wasn’t in the mood. He replayed some of the conversation with Petra. The information shared was good, and he could apply it. He needed to get perhaps a sample program that leveraged the formulas and tested his ability to effectively apply them. Maybe she could grade him. However, he found his thoughts strayed to the visuals of her face, hair, graceful hands, and willowy frame. Admonishing himself, he decided sleep was in order
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