ERNIE 5: Powering Premium Bonds using quantum technology

ERNIE 5 quantum chip
Peter Oakley, NS&I Project Assurance Manager, and Patrick Cook, Risk & Assurance Manager, from Atos UK & Ireland, give an overview of how we took the power of Premium Bonds into the quantum realm.

ERNIE 5 has arrived!

After 18 months, working together with colleagues from NS&I, Atos and ID Quantique (IDQ) – we’re proud to launch ERNIE 5 this month.

ERNIE 5 was independently reviewed on its security, both logical and physical to ensure the highest standards of integrity were maintained.

The Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) has also played a vital role throughout the project, providing independent verification that the numbers generated by ERNIE 5 are truly random.

Upgrading an icon

Whilst technology changes quickly, each generation of ERNIE has managed to successfully do the job we need for about 15 years.

Read more about the different generations of ERNIE.

When it launched in 2004, ERNIE 4’s ability to generate 1 million numbers per hour was three times faster than its predecessor. But by 2019 it was beginning to look slow when considering the volume of numbers required for each monthly prize draw.

The new ERNIE 5, created by ID Quantique (IDQ), has refreshed the system hardware, replaced the Random Number Generator, produced new software and enhanced its security.

The result is that ERNIE 5, with the ability to produce draws of up to 100 million numbers, can produce a volume ten times larger than ERNIE 4 could manage, and so is future proofed for many years to come

About IDQ

IDQ based in Geneva, Switzerland, provides quantum key distribution (QKD) systems, quantum safe network encryption, single photon counters, and hardware random number generators.

Find out more about IDQ’s quantum random number generation technology.