Highlights From the QCALL ESR Conference 2019

Now that the dust has been settled from our first QCALL ESR conference and everyone is back to their own works and projects, it’s time to wrap up and process the highlights of this fantastic event.

The conference was held at a beautiful and tranquil seaside hotel in Mondello, south Italy. While the UK was already prepared to enter into the cool autumn in September, Sicily still enjoyed the pleasant sunshine and a vibrant summer atmosphere. This conference attracted about 50 participants from different countries, including PhDs, postdoc researchers and engineers from the industry.

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.

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Another highlight was the industry session which featured talks from five companies working in quantum communication area: Ryan Parker (BT), Helmut Griesser (ADVA), John Prisco (Quantum XChange), Andrew Shields (Toshiba Research Europe Ltd) and Felix Bussieres (ID Quantique SA). Their talks incited a better perspective on how the field is expanding outside academia. During the followed-up panel session, lots of interesting and more practical questions were asked to our speakers, offering insights and advices to those who are planning on transforming from academia to industry in their future.

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The social highlight of the week was an excursion at the Natural Reserve “Lo Zingaro” which boasts a gorgeous stretch of unspoilt coastline, crystal blue waters and the mountain chain. It’s a lovely spot for hiking and then diving into the water. That night, we had the Gala dinner at the spectacular  waterfront restaurant “Alle Terrazze”, with its panoramic view and the company of bright moonlight. Lots of time to talk and share ideas!

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Many thanks to the organising committee (Innocenzo De Marco, Mirko Pittaluga, Andrew Shields, Mohsen Razavi) for arranging such an amazing event. We really enjoyed it!

Looking forward to our QCALL Final Network Symposium in Paris in 2020!