Can anyone explain to me the benefits of quantum computing, beyond the security benefits, in layman's terms? I find this interesting, albeit over my head.

bfv's right on about quantum computing, but this isn't that. This is just taking advantage of one key part of quantum physics: observing a photon changes it. I'm not sure why fiber-optic communication doesn't always have this property, since it's just photons.

There's an interesting class of problems, BQP/BPP, that a quantum computer can solve in polynomial time. Whether it's a superset of P, the class of problems an ordinary computer can solve in polynomial time is still an open question, but there are problems (interger factorization, for example) that are known to be in BQP but not known to be in P. So they might be able to efficiently solve problems that can't be efficiently solved on an ordinary computer, or it might be that they can be solved efficiently on an ordinary computer but we haven't been clever enough to figure out how yet.

edit: As ike says, this is an answer to the question you asked, but not really related to the technology this article is about.

AFAIK, this is not so much 'quantum computing', but rather 'quantum encryption'. Quantum encryption takes advantage of quantum entanglement, which means that the states of two particles in the same quantum system are physically linked, regardless of the distance between them. Quantum computing usually refers instantaneous information transfer within a processor, and potentially, infinitely fast computation. I believe that quantum computing takes advantage of entanglement as well, but for the instantaneous nature of the quantum information transfer, and not for its inability to be intercepted.

I'll second this. I guess I don't really understand the significance and potential to this technology (past increased privacy and encryption).

Just thought about routing something encrypted at the quantum state and my head began to hurt :(

Very interesting, however!

- This is not the first time this kind of approach has been tried. The idea is that messages to the hub rely on the usual level of quantum security. However, once at the hub, they are converted to conventional classical bits and then reconverted into quantum bits to be sent on the second leg of their journey.

EDIT: This articles goes into some more detail about quantum measurements, and answered my questions: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22336-quantum-measurem...

A lot of this stuff is way over my head, so if anyone would care to comment and expand it'd be great!