Future Computing & Networking within the Lab

We focus on understanding and assessing new computing paradigms and ideas to accelerate scientific research together with the SURF community.

Future Computing

Quantum Internet (innovation project by SURF Lab)

The Second Quantum revolution is to empower researchers with unprecedented capabilities in the field of security, high-performance computing, and sensory. In order for the Internet to support (research) applications relying on quantum technology, the new features must be added to the classical internet to arrive at the Quantum Internet.

Towards the quantum internet

Presently much research is devoted to inventing and developing quantum hardware that can be used to build the quantum internet. The quantum internet allows quantum internet services to be provided in addition to regular internet services. Hardware itself is not sufficient to accomplish this. Control protocols are needed to maintain track of qubits as they traverse the quantum hardware and fiber infrastructure. In addition to infrastructure and control it is envisaged that also an Automation and Orchestration (A&O) platform is needed to create, modify, and delete quantum internet services.

Quantum internet services

This project investigates to what extent SURF’s existing Automation and Orchestration platform can be reused in support of quantum internet services such as a correlation service for quantum key distribution and an entanglement pair delivery service for blind quantum computation. This work is performed by describing the quantum internet use-cases, setting requirements, establishing an architecture.

Implementation process

The architecture is then converted into an implementation where physical elements are simulated by NetSquid, the control protocol is implemented as P4 code (i.e. a way of programming switches) and adaptations of the current A&O development software by creating new workflows. Gaps are identified where quantum internet services characteristics differ too much from classical internet services and new orchestration code is needed.

Awareness of the quantum internet

A second objective of the project is to create awareness of the quantum internet. IT directors, research program managers, security officers must be aware that at some point in time this will become important to them. By means of a workshop and publications, these stakeholders will be informed about the impact quantum internet services will have in the future.

Our main activities

We focus on the following steps:

  • Service design; 
  • Knowledge generation;
  • Software implementation and Proof Of Concept;
  • Architecture development;
  • Outreach and communication.

Current collaboration

Within SURF this work is carried out by dr.ir. R.C.J. Smets with support of the SURF A&O team and with collaboration of QuTech researchers. The TKI project “Quantum Internet Randstad” is a consortium formed by QuTech, TNO, TU-Delft, KPN, and OPNT.