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By Zdziarski at 2017-08-19 00:03:05

Next, if you want to access this quantum processor, you have to sign up for an account. Which means you must reach this page...
...and fill out an invitation request. If you hear back from IBM, you're in, presumably.IBM doesn't get it. It's not 2007 any more. The cloud today is on-demand computing, delivered virtually instantly at scale. You pick a username, you enter a password, you hand over your credit card number, you get into the service immediately. You start using it.Since when has invitation-only limited access to scientific experiments been the cloud? How exactly do you share a five-qubit processor at scale? It's too bad Big Blue can't ask its cloud chief technology officer: he left recently, along with other top-brass and all the staffers axed in an ongoing restructuring.Don't ask Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director of IBM Research, either. This moment represents the birth of quantum cloud computing, he said in a canned quote, again demonstrating that IBM Research has a totally different definition of the word cloud to Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

It's IBM Watson-as-a-service all over again. Can't someone at SoftLayer or IBM Bluemix have a word?PR spin aside, you're not going to rewrite textbooks with five qubits. In 2001, IBM scientists factored 15 into three times five using a seven-qubit processor. In 2013, physicists in China factored 143 using four qubits. In 2014, researchers were able to factor 291,311 using only 6 qubits. Your humble hack's 2.2GHz Core i5 laptop was able to calculate it instantly: 523 times 557.
Layout of Big Blue's five superconducting quantum bit device from 2014 ... Credit: IBM Research
Classic computer bits are either one or zero; on or off; true or false. Quantum bits are either zero, one or a superposition of both. Quantum computers are expected to be able to process calculations far faster than classic binary bits by coupling this three-state capability with other quantum effects. It's something that's been promised for decades.Quantum computing has a long way to go. IBM reckons 50 qubits are needed to top the fastest known supercomputers of today, and 100 qubit CPUs should be possible in the next decade. IBM's five qubit system is a fairly big hulking thing; the brains of the processor must be kept in a cryogenic dilution refrigerator to minimize the effects of heat and electromagnetic radiation.

A dilution refrigerator that's home to superconducting qubits, which must be cooled to almost absolute zero ... Photo by Carl De Torres for IBM Research
Providing this kind of facility remotely to scientists is a nice gesture by IBM Research. Maybe one day it can scale. But dressing up this experimental technology right now as a quantum-computing-as-a-service free-for-all is absurd.One tech news site declared this morning: IBM just beat Google to a brand new type of computing. Swap computing for marketing and you're on the right track. Brocade has reset Q2 revenue expectations lower, citing a weak SAN market and continued IP networking headwinds. Instead of revenues between $542m to $562m, it now expects them to be between $518m to $528m. This is $523m at the mid-point, 4.4 per cent down on a year ago. CEO Lloyd Carney talked of a general softness in IT spending. William Blair analyst Jason Ader said: We suspect that weak systems sales, as well as a general shift to IP connectivity in storage, may have finally caught up to Brocade's FC networking business. To a lesser extent, Brocade may also be suffering from customers waiting for the next product cycle (32 Gbit/s), which is expected to kick in toward the end of the calendar year. Full results are expected on 19 May. WAHckon University students in the Australian city of Perth have landed in hot water, with one charged by Police, after finding and exploiting severe holes to rewind travel charges incurred using the city's SmartRider public transport smart card.

The Murdoch University students reported the flaws to SmartRider operator TransPerth and inflicted what is estimated to be about $18 in losses which were covered in later balance recharges, however local authorities considered the university security research an act of fraud.One student is appealing a conviction while a second involved only in the earlier parts of the research effort was not charged.Murdoch University second year student Jack Carruthers pled guilty and was handed a spent conviction, a type of criminal conviction that does not result in a permanent record that will show up in background checks.Carruthers and his colleagues undertook the research as part of their university security club Hack The Planet. Carruthers is the club's president.Members exploited the identified flaws in an effort to demonstrate the vulnerabilities at Perth train stations, in the knowledge that the act could see them breach state laws.Carruthers and his fellow researchers found still-existing failings in the MIFARE Classic SmartRider system that allowed them to roll-back charges to cards enabling free travel.

It is possible to replay an autoload (direct debit recharge) and keep getting more credit, Carruthers told the WAHckon security conference in Perth, last Sunday.The costs came out to $18 and the smart riders had $20 worth of credit, so I thought we were in the clear but the judge was of the opinion that my damning confession was all that was needed.Officers showed up on Carruthers' door about two months later, taking his laptop and 'all of his clothes' to prove his was the individual captured in CCTV photos.The researchers say the project was documented as part of the hacking club in what could conceivably demonstrate the academic intention of the work.The conviction comes at a time when the Turnbull Government under its Cyber Security Strategy is spending big to in part help lure and train students to information security university courses.Carruthers says TransPerth is planning a fix but will likely must invest in an expensive upgrade of cards to systems including the more secure MiFare DESfire EV2.He says the agency says it will remain vigilant for possible reload attacks until the upgrade.MIFARE Classic is long known to be vulnerable to compromise. The Christchurch bus system which then operated the platform was popped in similar 2013 research by Melbourne security bod William Turner who found he could load cards with any amount of money.

It was told to implement training and guidance or face court action following a data breach that led to a child's medical reports being stolen.The council just west of Glasgow has been audited twice in 2013 and advised to improve its data-handling. It failed to do so, and in 2014 an employee left a laptop and paperwork on an adoption case in a car overnight, from which it was stolen.Ken Macdonald, assistant information commissioner for Scotland, said: “Let’s be clear, what we’re asking for here is a basic requirement for an organisation that is trusted with large amounts of local people’s personal data.” When is ad-blocking ethical? How about when the adtech industry is behaving so unethically it destroys people’s livelihoods?Musician and music rights campaigner David Lowery last year made the incendiary suggestion that musicians should encourage their fans to block the advertising running on music-streaming sites – even though in the short term, it’s the musicians themselves who’ll take a hit in income. With the rise in ad-blockers, his idea is topical again, so let’s have a look at the merits of the argument.

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