I have been exposed to design thinking in a variety of ways over the past 13 odd years. From conferences, startups and projects – I have used the framework to develop and build services, software and hardware which incorporates one of the most important elements in the design: empathy.
Empathy ensures that the designers, developers and creators of these products “walk a mile in their shoes” and put the users at the center of the development lifecycle rather than technology, limitations or costs.
This TedX talk is a nice example of empathy in something critical that all of us can in some shape or form relate to, which is being born. The video centers around the design thinking process which went into the design and development of Neonatal Intensive Care Units and the equipment which nurses and parents have to deal with when a child is born prematurely. It is a great example of how empathy was an integral part of the process from start to finish.
I just got finished submitting my last optimization circuit for the 2020 IBM Quantum Challenge. It was a hectic 4 days of spare time working through their challenges but very rewarding. It’s amazing what a small concept like a “Challenge” can do for your motivation to understand more about a technology or field, but to me the size of Quantum Computing community seems to have, all of a sudden, grown larger.
There have been over 5 billion circuits run against IBM Q, 1,745 participants, over 1000 people in a Slack channel who were sharing, bantering and encouraging their peers and a considerable amount of learning about circuit optimization. If I had only brushed up on my linear algebra I think I would have done a little better 😉
I have also learned not to take glory in the difficulty of a proof: difficulty means we have not understood. The idea is to be able to paint a landscape in which the proof is obvious.”
Over the past couple of years I have had a keen interest in quantum computing and the optimism of its benefits over traditional computing methods. I have read countless papers, articles and spent a considerable amount of time deciding how I would explain it to a 5 year old.
ELI5: A normal computer is like a light switch is either on or off. A quantum computer is more like a dimmer switch, it can be partially on, or partially off.
It’s overly simplistic but gives a simple understanding of the potential states that the device can be in. I also wonder how I would explain QC to friends or technology friends. Trying to find the right words that quantify both its elementary simplicity and its quantitative complexity is difficult, especially when you yourself don’t fully grasp it. But like other technologies, the best way to learn is by doing … experimenting, researching and proofing. Leading to your own understanding and comprehension of existing anecdotes and theories or new ones.
People usually compare the computer to the head of the human being. I would say that hardware is the bone of the head, the skull. The semiconductor is the brain within the head. The software is the wisdom. And data is the knowledge.
As a creator and contributer to open source projects I am often torn as how to license my projects to encourage the greater community to contribute and have creative freedom with a project. However I would still try to ensure that I maintain control over as much of the intellectual property (IP) or business value as possible – especially if this value is what I have in place as a revenue generator and would enable me to continue development of the project.
Sentry – which is a great error logging/monitoring tool – recently evaluated their open source licensing and had some reasonable goals in mind:
- Anyone should be able to run Sentry for themselves or their business
- No difference between our cloud service and our open-source product (no open-core model)
- Minimal limitations on usage of code; as free as possible
- Protection from other companies selling our work
Due to the weight on the last point, Sentry decided to change their license from BSD-3/Apache-2.0 to BSL.
This is a basic and simplistic implementation of RSA in JS which used to understand the implementation/math required for encryption/decryption and opportunities for hacking RSA using Quantum Computing.
If you are looking for a nice article on RSA and a small practical example, this might be helpful https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA_algorithm
Hacking RSA using Prime Number Factorization
Hacking RSA uses the numeric public exponent from the public key and tries to calculate its largest common multiple factors (p and q) – from those two numbers you can calculate the Private Key. Using traditional computing to hack “small” RSA public keys can be done with a few modern algorithms, including the currently fastest General Number Field Sieve.
A nice library for General Number Field Sieves is http://cado-nfs.gforge.inria.fr/
You can use this site to factor a prime without having to install anything https://asecuritysite.com/encryption/factors. Enter the Public Key which gets generated by the code (should be < 100 bits for the site to be able to factor)
Edit the index.js file if you would like to edit the size or message being encrypted:
// Message const message = 'Hello'; // Generate RSA keys (bits), max is 232 digits (768 bits) const keys = RSA.generate(80);
Run the code
npm run start
Public Key Exponent (e):65537
Random Prime (p): 798000088811
Random Prime (q): 563631878177
Totient (lcm of (p-1)(q-1)): 224889144420297550405280
Public Key (n = p * q): 449778288841956732777547
Public Key Length: 24 digits (79 bits)
Private Key (d = e multiplicative inverse (totient)): 210473481577786144493313
Private Key Length: 24 digits (78 bits)
Encrypted (c = encoded message (m) ^ e modulo n): 426078873740860671226694
Decrypted (m = encrypted message (c) ^ d modulo n): 72101108108111
Plaid is a company in the financial technology, or more commonly known as the “fintech” space, which was founded in 2013, pivoted sometime in 2014 and was purchased by Visa in January 2020 for $5.3 billion dollars.
Plaid was founded by two entrepreneurs who set out to develop a consumer app in the budgeting and account reconciliation field. A mobile or app-based version of Quicken or Intuits Quick Books where users could provide their credit cards and bank account and the interface would allow them to get some insights into their spending habits and create budgets and reports to better manage their personal finances. The startup entered and won a prestigious grand prize award during a TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon in New York in 2013 with their application which at that time was called “Rambler”. During the development process the founders recognized that one of the biggest challenges to building “Rambler” was the bank connectivity component – it was time consuming and resource intensive to develop a solution which connected to each financial institution. The duo wanted their application to connect to the majority of US banks and this required writing code which would need to securely connect and consume the banks exposed API’s for retrieving account information, transaction reports and transaction details. This development exercise was required for each new financial institution the company wanted to include in their app.