Quantum Communications for ALL (QCALL) is a European Innovative Training Network that endeavours to take the next necessary steps to bring the developing quantum technologies closer to the doorsteps of end users. QCALL will empower a nucleus of 15 doctoral researchers in this area to provide secure communications in the European continent and, in the long run, to its connections worldwide. Check out our research work packages and training activities in the form of Schools and Workshops to find more about the scope of the project.
Story of the Month
Q&A session on quantum Cryptography
Following the recent spotlight session where Carlo explained QKD , Shouvik Ghorai our ESR based at UPMC has created some FAQ page around cryptography and talked more about Continuous-variable Quantum Cryptography.
Cryptography is, nowadays, a critically important part of our lives, even though we usually don’t notice it at all. All the conversations we have via email and instant messaging apps are encrypted, so are the messages exchanged during online bank transactions and e-commerce purchases. Even though the physical part of the message, the string of bits of which it is composed, is in principle available on the internet, its meaning is concealed, hidden behind some cryptographic scheme.
The internet is nowadays based on public key cryptographic schemes, whose security is based on the assumption that some specific mathematical problem is not efficiently solvable. If an eavesdropper, in the future, will find a way to efficiently solve such problem or will obtain an outstanding computational power, the security of our cryptographic scheme will be completely nullified. Quantum computers have the potential to achieve such ground-breaking results, posing a threat to today’s communication and economic systems.
Using the principles of quantum mechanics, several protocols resistant to such attacks have been devised and the field of quantum cryptography is in constant development. In the following we will focus on a specific area of quantum cryptography, namely, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). Its greatest strength resides in the fact that keys expanded using QKD protocols can be proven to be secure in an information-theoretic manner, against and infinitely powerful eavesdropper limited only by the laws of quantum mechanics.
A good way to assess our increasing dependence on digital communication tools is by looking at the increase in the number of internet connected devices over the recent years (Fig. 1). Their number has increased dramatically over the last decade, reaching tens of billions.
As for any new technology, these new means of communication generate new problems and risks. Among the most critical is the difficulty of keeping our digital communications private and confidential. Security is a crucial requirement for many of our communications. And it is for this reasons that over the past 60 years a lot of effort has been put into the development of cryptography, i.e. the set of techniques that allow us to transmit and store information securely. It is thanks to cryptography that nowadays we can have private digital communications.
Federico Grasselli, our ESR at University of Dusseldorf, has explained the recent theoretical progress in multi-party quantum key distribution, also known as quantum conferencing. If you have no clue of what that is, then learn more by reading here.
It featured a diverse array of research on quantum communication, with 5 well-known invited speakers and 26 contributed speakers introducing their latest research works. The five plenary sessions covered topics ranging from entanglement-based QComms and quantum repeaters to implementation security of QKD, satellite QKD, as well as component technologies such as quantum random number generators and detectors, etc. There was also a poster session on Monday afternoon. It was a wonderful opportunity for learning, networking and collaboration. To learn more, please visit here.
We are organising a science film contest for secondary (high) school students to explain a quantum technology or its application in their own way. We are still open to applications, and our ESRs will be happy to coach interested parties in this activity. More information can be found here.