Los Alamos National Lab's R&D fueling new quantum-crypto firm

Technology development firm Allied Minds says it has set up a new company, Whitewood Encryption Systems, to develop quantum-crypto technology under an R&D licensing arrangement with Los Alamos National Laboratory.

John Serafini, vice president at Boston-based Allied Minds, which funds early-stage companies, is expected to be general manager at Whitewood Encryption Systems until its further expansion. Serafini says the goal is to have two quantum-crypto products during the second quarter of next year in the form of hardware modules for quantum random-number generation and scalable quantum key management. Serafini acknowledges Whitewood Encryption Systems aspires to compete with Swiss company ID Quantique, one of the few vendors selling available quantum cryptography products.

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Photon-based quantum crypto has been known to face some technical difficulties, such as geographical distance limitations, but it offers considerable promise due to ways it can be used to generate what are believed to be unique unbreakable keys, among other attributes.

Serafini says the basic quantum-crypto technology developed by engineers at Los Alamos National Laboratory is well along in "alpha" stage toward full commercialization.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: emessmer@nww.com

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