Blueprint for pan-European quantum internet
Project funded by the European Union
07 NOV 2018
The future quantum internet will provide radically new internet applications by enabling quantum communication between any two points on Earth. The Quantum Internet Alliance (QIA) will create a blueprint for a pan-European quantum internet by developing the technology needed. SURF is one of the partners in the QIA project.
Inherently secure communication
A quantum internet uses an intriguing quantum phenomenon to connect different nodes in a network together. In a normal network connection, nodes exchange information by sending electrons or photons hence and forth, making them vulnerable for eavesdropping. In a quantum network, the nodes are connected by ‘entanglements’, where a change in the state of one node instantly affects the others without exchanging information. This allows for communication networks that are inherently secure.
SURF provides expertise and facilities
The QIA is a consortium of leading quantum research groups and high-tech companies in Europe led by QuTech from Delft University and is funded by the European Union. SURF is contributing to the project through the development and execution of a fast and scalable simulator for quantum networks (NetSquid), high performance computing expertise, development efforts, and providing access to the national supercomputer facilities. In addition, we will support the researchers of Delft University with our knowledge of and experience with very accurate time synchronisation (less than 1 nanosecond) over long distances, and with access to our dark fiber infrastructure.
Realizing the potential impact of a quantum internet requires a sustained and focused effort. For instance, entanglement should be created much faster than it gets lost. The Quantum Internet Alliance will establish the first multi-node quantum processor networks, lay the groundwork for quantum repeater technology to allow quantum bits to travel long distances, and develop the first software and network stack for allowing scalable control and software development to make a quantum internet useful.
Quantum Flagship for European scientific leadership
The QIA project is part of the Quantum Flagship that was launched on October 29 as one of the largest and most ambitious research initiatives of the European Union. With a budget of €1 billion and a duration of 10 years, the flagship brings together research institutions, academia, industry, and policy makers, in a joint initiative on an unprecedented scale. The main objective of the flagship is to consolidate and expand European scientific leadership and excellence in this research area as well as to transfer quantum physics research from the lab to the market by means of commercial applications and disruptive technologies. With over 5.000 researchers from academia and industry involved in this initiative throughout its lifetime, it aims to create the next generation of disruptive technologies that will impact Europe’s society, placing the region as a worldwide knowledge-based industry and technological leader in this field.
Image: Quantum entanglement - Matthias Weinberger (via Flickr - CC)