News

[For all news related to the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, please see the programme's RSS news feed]

Year 2 Hub Annual Report is now out!

Sep 5th 2017

The second year annual progress report for our Quantum Communications Hub has just been published! It includes content on progress across all technology themes, as well as news items on user and public engagement activities, outreach, research highlights and a list of outputs for 2016. You can access the report by downloading it here.

New research post in Quantum Communications

Jun 22nd 2017

We are looking for an experienced and ambitious researcher with a background in quantum communications to join our team in one of the UK’s leading research intensive Universities, working on the UK Quantum Technology Hub for Quantum Communications.

Quantum key distribution (QKD) provides unbreakable, future-proof security against the vulnerabilities of most cryptosystems currently in operation. QKD has been implemented mostly over dedicated channels and between two parties. Before current communication vulnerabilities are exploited, it is essential to facilitate the use of QKD technology for any two users at any distance, via a network. This project addresses the theoretical analysis of quantum communications networks, including the UK Quantum Network, at access and metro levels. Another key aspect is the theoretical development of future generations of quantum networks via quantum repeaters.

Holding a PhD (or an expectation that a PhD will be awarded soon) in Physics, Engineering, or a related discipline, you will have a track record in quantum communications research which has led to publications in international refereed journals. You will also need to have experience in the use of numerical/symbolic maths software such as MATLAB, Maple, or Mathematica.

You will work closely with Dr M Razavi, at the intersection of quantum information science and optical communications. You will also collaborate with partner researchers in the National Hub for Quantum Communications Technologies.

You can download a copy of the candidate brief here. The deadline for applications is 12 July 2017.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: Dr Mohsen Razavi, Associate Professor (m.razavi@leeds.ac.uk)

ETSI/IQC Workshop on Quantum-Safe Cryptography, London, 13-15 September 2017

Jun 13th 2017

Following last year’s successful event at Toronto, Canada, the 5th ETSI/IQC workshop on quantum safe cryptography will take place this September in London, UK. The event is jointly co-organised by ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, and the IQC, the University of Waterloo’s Institute of Quantum Computing, with further support provided by the Quantum Communications Hub, part of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme. The National Cyber Security Centre and the CryptoWorks21 training partnership are also supporting partners.

The workshop is free of charge and structured along an executive (13/09) and technical (14-15/09) track. Focus on the first day will be on the potential of quantum computing and the technologies available to counteract subsequent threats to the existing cyber security infrastructure. Discussions during the following two days will focus on the current status of quantum-safe cryptography, the challenges of cryptographic standardisation on a global scale, the selection criteria for new encryption algorithms and specific government and industry requirements. Presentations have been invited on the following themes: global efforts and practical challenges on quantum-safe schemes; computational constraints and considerations for post-quantum cryptography and security from an industry perspective; high priority use cases for quantum-safe cryptography; standards for quantum cryptography devices and systems and for quantum-resistant public-key crypto algorithms; testing, metrics and certification for quantum-safety; new applications of post quantum crypto or quantum key distribution (QKD); attempts at cryptanalysis of new post-quantum systems; migration paths for post-quantum crypto and/or QKD. The full agenda is expected to become available by the end of June.

The 5th ETSI/IQC Quantum-Safe Cryptography workshop will be hosted at the Westminster Conference Centre, 1 Victoria Street, in London. For more information on the event and to register, please visit: http://www.etsi.org/news-events/events/1173-etsi-iqc-quantum-safe-workshop-2017

Notes for Editors:

  • ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, is a not-for-profit organisation at that forefront of emerging technologies that produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast and Internet technologies.
  • The Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) is a scientific research institute at the University of Waterloo harnessing the quantum laws of nature to develop powerful new technologies that will transform information technology and drive the 21st century economy.
  • The Quantum Communications Hub is a partnership of eight UK universities and numerous private sector companies established to deliver quantum communications technologies and services that will in turn enable secure transactions and transmissions of data across a range of users in real-world applications. The project is part of a major national initiative, the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, which aims to ensure the successful transition of quantum technologies from laboratory to industries.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre was set up to help protect the UK’s critical services from cyber attacks, managing major incidents and improve the underlying security of the UK Internet through technological improvement and advice to citizens and organisations. The Centre’s vision is to help make the UK the safest place to live and do business online.
  • CryptoWorks21, the NSERC CREATE Training Program in Building a Workforce for the Cryptographic Infrastructure of the 21st Century, is a supplementary program for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who would like to develop next-generation cryptographic tools. Led out of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, the programme works with partners and collaborators across Canada and abroad.

Studentship opportunities with the UK National Quantum Technology Hubs

May 17th 2017

As a result of significant investment into a UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, a creative, adaptable, diverse and networked workforce is needed with the right balance of skills to ensure long-term benefit from new opportunities in this area. The UK National Network of Quantum Technology Hubs, led by the Universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford and York, are offering fully funded PhD studentships in the areas of sensing and metrology, enhanced imaging, quantum computing and secure communications, to help deliver the next generation of skilled quantum scientists.

The programmes are multidisciplinary in nature, aimed at developing both academic excellence and adaptable, system-based engineering skills through close collaboration with industry. Successful candidates will be part of an emergent quantum ecosystem working with many stakeholders to exploit the potential of the new emerging technologies to simulate a quantum economy. Studentships are based at multiple partner institutions across the network, including at industrial partner sites.

To find out more about the research areas of the National Quantum Technology Hubs, the studentship opportunities available and entry requirements, the Hubs have organised a webinar in collaboration with the Institute of Physics. The webinar has been scheduled for Thursday 25 May at 15:00 and will be presented by the Hub Directors: Professor Kai Bongs, Director, UK Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology; Professor Miles Padgett, Principal Investigator, QuantIC; Professor Ian Walmsley, Director, NQIT; Professor Tim Spiller, Director, Quantum Communications Hub.

To attend this free webinar, register here.

A list of all currently available studentships with our Hub is provided below.

- Quantum Communication Networks: beyond simple point to point networks                                                                                                                         Offered by the University of York, based at Toshiba Research Europe Ltd.

- High-Rate Quantum Communications Networks
Offered by the University of Leeds

- Quantum Communications and Wavelength Division Multiplexing
Offered by the University of York, based at ID Quantique, Adastral Park

- Experimental PhD project in quantum digital signatures and quantum amplifiers
Offered by Heriot Watt University

- Theoretical PhD project on quantum communication and quantum information
Offered by Heriot Watt University

- Quantum Technologies focusing on the generation of random numbers
Offered by the University of York

- Photonic systems metrology for quantum communications hardware
Offered by the University of York, based at NPL

- Quantum technologies with an ideal source of indistinguishable single photons
Offered by Heriot Watt University

- Integrated Quantum Key Distribution
Offered by the University of Bristol

Projects are expected to start in October 2017 though earlier start dates will be considered. Particular details for the projects on offer can be found through the links above, which also provide information on how to apply.

For any additional queries, please contact us at enquiries@quantumcommshub.net

Establishing the boundaries of quantum secure communications

Apr 26th 2017

[Reposted from the University of York website www.york.ac.uk on 26 April 2017]

Scientists at the University of York’s Centre for Quantum Technologies have made an important breakthrough in the theory of quantum secure communications.


credit: http://quantumcommshub.net/

Today's classical communications, such as email or phone, are potentially vulnerable to eavesdroppers as conventional data encryption is based on the factorisation of large integers, an operation which is computationally hard on a classical computer but easily solvable on a quantum computer.

Recently, Google said that large quantum computers are only five years from commercial exploitability, therefore setting a deadline to current classical methods for private communication. Scientists say the solution comes from the field of quantum key distribution (QKD).

QKD uses particles, such as photons, to enable two remote parties to produce a shared random secret key known only to them, which can then be used to encrypt and decrypt confidential messages. The security is not computational but based on a fundamental law of nature, the uncertainty principle.

Maximum rates

Based on this idea, secure quantum networks are being built on a large scale in the UK and other countries, with China playing an important role and also leading the exploration of quantum satellite communication.

In such a scenario it is crucial to understand the ultimate limits of QKD, in terms of maximum rates, or capacities, at which two parties can distribute secret keys in a point-to-point connection.

In a paper published in Nature Communications scientists have established these capacities through the most important communication lines, including optical fibres.

Protocols

Professor Stefano Pirandola of the University’s Department of Computer Science said: “This is a breakthrough result because it establishes the ultimate performance that any point-to-point protocol of QKD cannot surpass.

“Setting these limits is extremely important for both theoreticians and experimentalists, because they provide benchmarking for new theoretical protocols and actual experimental implementations.“

The study was funded by the EPSRC via the UK quantum communications hub. 

Fundamental limits of repeaterless quantum communications is published in Nature Communications. To read, visit: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15043

Quantum Technologies POSTnote

Apr 24th 2017

24 April 2017

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has published a briefing document today focusing on quantum technologies. POSTnotes are reports designed to provide balanced and impartial advice to MPs and Peers, and today's briefing includes information on quantum technologies from stakeholders from across the spectrum of academia, industry, government and the third sector. The result is a report providing an overview of quantum technologies, their expected impact and timescales to commercialisation, as well as current initiatives to promote their development.

With input provided by, amongst others, the Hub's Director, Professor Tim Spiller, and Quantum Networks Lead, Dr Andrew Shields, the report covers five technology areas - communications, timekeeping, sensing, imaging and computing - as well as specific applications such as secure data transmissions, timing of networks, quantum navigation systems etc. Reference is also made to the societal implications of the new technologies, for example with regard to issues of privacy and access to the new technologies.

The POSTnote 552 into Quantum Technologies is available to download here.

More PhD studentships in quantum communications and post-post quantum cryptography projects!

Feb 10th 2017

The Quantum Communications Hub is providing financial support for a further three PhD studentships, two based at partner Heriot Watt University and one based at partner Royal Holloway, University of London.

Experimental PhD project in quantum digital signatures and quantum amplifiers, Heriot Watt University

The first available award is to work on an experimental project under the supervision of Professor Gerald Buller, based at Heriot-Watt’s quantum communications experimental group (http://www.single-photon.com). The PhD will involve experiments on quantum digital signatures, a new quantum communications protocol pioneered by Heriot-Watt in recent years. The group has conducted quantum digital signature experiments over significant lengths of optical fibre in both laboratory and installed settings and is now examining the possibility of applications using satellite communication systems. Consequently, some knowledge of free-space and/or optical fibre photonics would be beneficial. There are also opportunities to conduct additional work in related areas, such as coherent state amplifiers and 100 GHz optical code scrambling seeded using quantum encryption keys. The student will be involved in a wide range of research activities associated with the Quantum Communications Hub and gain invaluable experience and training in the fast-growing area of highly secure communications. The work will be primarily experimental, including operation of both the data-handling and quantum-optical aspects of major trials and demonstrations.

For more information, and to apply, please check this link.

Theoretical PhD project on quantum communication and quantum information, Heriot Watt University

This studentship is offered under the supervision of Professor Erika Andersson, who leads Heriot-Watt’s quantum information theory group. The PhD will involve work on quantum signatures, quantum measurements, and other topics in quantum communication. Previously, the group has introduced various practical ways of realising quantum signatures, and examined the security of these protocols. They have also worked e.g. on measurement-device independent quantum signatures, on quantum oblivious transfer, and on the use of different types of quantum amplifiers and quantum measurements for quantum communication. Experiments related to quantum signatures and quantum communication are also performed at Heriot-Watt, and there are excellent opportunities to work with experimentalists at Heriot-Watt and elsewhere. The student will be involved in a wide range of research activities associated with the Quantum Communications Hub and gain experience and training in the fast-growing area of highly secure communications. The work will be primarily theoretical, but opportunities to contribute to experimental work may exist, depending on the ability and interests of the successful applicant.

For more information and to apply, please see this link.

PhD/Doctoral Studentship - Post-post Quantum Cryptography, Royal Holloway, University of London

A further fully funded PhD/Doctoral studentship (with partial support from the Hub) is available at the Information Security Group of Royal Holloway (University of London) in the area of post-post quantum cryptography, under the supervision of Professor Ruediger Schack.

The ongoing development of quantum-computing technology poses a threat to the security of some widely used cryptographic schemes. Post-quantum cryptography responds to this threat by designing and analyzing schemes that are immune to attacks by an adversary assumed to be in possession of a quantum computer. The more recent field of post-post quantum cryptography assumes in addition that the adversary has full access to a quantum implementation of the encryption and/or decryption device, which implies that the adversary would be able to carry out a quantum superposition attack. This project will address some of the many open questions in post-post quantum cryptography. Possible directions for research include the development of formal security models and the cryptanalysis of a variety of cryptographic schemes under quantum superposition attacks. Another potential direction is the analysis of an in-between scenario where the adversary has full quantum-computing capabilities but only limited quantum access to the device, which is gaining importance with the increasing miniaturization of components.

For more information and to apply, please see this link.

New EPSRC-funded PhD studentship in Quantum Communication Networks!

Jan 13th 2017

Hub partners University of York and Toshiba Research Europe Ltd (TREL) Laboratories, based at Cambridge, are offering a fully funded EPSRC PhD studentship for research into quantum communication networks. The project will research the technology and applications for quantum communications that go beyond simple point to point networks. It will investigate methods for distributing quantum keys between arbitrary locations in different types of multi-nodal network, as well as develop applications exploiting network based key distribution.

Most work to date on quantum communications has focused on key distribution. Digital signatures are another very important cryptographic primitive used to protect electronic data from forgery. This project will develop GHz quantum communication hardware to implement new protocols for digital signatures, the security of which is based on the laws of nature. These are based upon sharing quantum correlations between three parties: Alice, Bob and Charlie. The quantum correlations can then be used by Alice to sign messages sent to Bob, the authenticity of which can be verified by Charlie and cannot be tampered with. The technology developed in the project will be implemented in the UK Quantum Network (UKQN) being set up by the Quantum Communications Hub. The UKQN comprises metropolitan quantum networks in Cambridge and Bristol that are connected by a backbone quantum link via London.

For more information on the project and guidance on how to apply, please visit here.