What’s this Shor’s algorithm thing I keep on hearing about? In short, it’s a quantum algorithm which is able to answer a very computationally difficult question relatively quickly:
Given a number N, what are its prime factors?
Why is this important? Well, it just so happens to be that this (or variants of this) problem is what makes most modern day cryptography that’s used in computers and on the internet work - it’s simply too computationally expensive to calculate, so things stay secure! However, Shor’s algorithm is nearly exponentially faster at solving the problem than what classical computers are capable of today, so now people are starting to dig into the domain of post-quantum cryptography to counter it so that things can remain secure in the future.
This subject is very interesting area, and here’s a few additional resources to check out: