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Many new encryption techniques seek to resist powerful attacks that could be done using future quantum computers, but these methods often require enormous processing power. Now scientists in Germany have developed a microchip they say can implement such techniques very efficiently that could help make an era of “post-quantum cryptography” a reality.

In theory, quantum computers can rapidly find the answers to problems it might take classical computers eons to solve. For example, much of modern cryptography relies on the extreme difficulty that classical computers face when it comes to mathematical problems such as factoring huge numbers, but quantum computers can run algorithms that can quickly solve these problems.

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