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

Sep 17th 2017






The 5th ETSI/IQC international workshop on quantum safe cryptography took place last month at the Westminster Conference Centre, London. The event was 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 which acted as host. The National Cyber Security Centre and CryptoWorks21 training partnership were also supporting partners.

The workshop was free of charge and structured along an executive (13/09) and technical (14-15/09) track. The main focus on the first day was on the disruptive potential of quantum computing and the technologies available to counteract subsequent threats to the existing cyber-security infrastructure. Discussions during the following two days centred on the current state 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.

Keynote addresses were given by Sir Mark Walport, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Executive Designate of UKRI, who talked on Technological Opportunities in the Quantum Age; Luke Beeson, BT’s Vice-President on Security in UK and Continental Europe, who presented on Practice Application of Quantum Key Distribution and Wider Security Implications; and Sir Peter Knight, member of the Strategic Advisory Board of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme and the Quantum Metrology Institute (“Preventing Crypto-Apocalypse: Securing our Data against the Quantum Computer Threat”). Professor Tim Spiller, Director of the Quantum Communications Hub, gave an invited talk on the UK perspective and technologies developed in the Hub for quantum-secured encryption.

The event was oversubscribed and generated a lot of media interest, with the Wall Street Journal providing extensive coverage. All presentations from both executive and technical tracks can be downloaded from the event website:

Paper of the week!

Sep 15th 2017

Congratulations to PhD student Ryan Parker, whose first peer reviewed paper – “Hybrid photonic loss resilient entanglement swapping” – was chosen upon publication as Journal of Optics’ paper of the week! The paper (Journal of Optics 2017, vol. 19, no. 10) was co-authored with colleagues Jaewoo Joo, Mohsen Razavi and Ryan’s supervisor, Tim Spiller, and can be accessed through this link - doi:10.1088/2040-8986/aa858a

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 (

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:

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

Establishing the boundaries of quantum secure communications

Apr 26th 2017

[Reposted from the University of York website 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.


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.


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:

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.