Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Flaw Found in Quantum Code," by Charles Seife. Science, 16 May1997, page 1034.

"Quantum Cheating," by Ivars Peterson. Science News, 14 June 1997, page373.

In recent years, researchers have been developing the notion of quantumcryptography, which they hope will provide more secure transmissions of data.Because one cannot observe a quantum mechanical particle without altering it,efforts by eavesdroppers to observe observe information encoded by the use ofquantum cryptographic methods would inevitably leave traces behind.Researchers have, however, hit a snag. Work of Dominic Mayers, Hoi-Kwong Lo,and H.F. Chau have shown that an important cryptographic method called "bitcommitment" can be easily compromised in the quantum setting.

--- Allyn Jackson