PRESS RELEASE — An ecosystem interuniversity quantum network with open access has been launched in Russia, uniting the campuses of the National Research Technological University “MISIS” (NUST MISIS) and the Moscow Technical University of Communications and Informatics (MTUCI).
This is the first Russian platform for the implementation of technology-based solutions in the field of data protection using quantum cryptography. All interested players in the quantum communications market can join the network to become members of the expert community, develop technological solutions and commercialize them. The presentation of the official launch of the network took place at the Boiling Point — Commune on October 13.
“Today we have an important, historical event. The interuniversity quantum network with open access is being launched for the first time. It is very important for us, as a leading industrial university, that Russian scientists get the opportunity to conduct their research in the field of quantum communications based on a real optical network. For telecom operators and manufacturers of telecommunication equipment with elements of quantum technologies there is a unique opportunity to test their equipment on a real network, not only under laboratory conditions” said Sergey Erokhin, Rector of MTUCI.
A project to establish an open quantum network is being implemented by the participants of the consortium of the Quantum Communications Competence Center of the National Technological Initiative (NTI), which includes MTUCI, NUST MISIS, LLC «QRate», LLC «Security Code».
Today, NUST MISIS is Russia’s leading research center in the field of quantum technologies. The scientific school in this area was founded by the Nobel prize winner, Professor Alexey Abrikosov, heading the university’s department of theoretical physics for over 15 years. In 2011, the ‘Superconducting metamaterials’ laboratory was launched, funded by the so-called program of the Government of the Russian Federation ‘megagrant’. The laboratory, headed by the world-renowned scientist Professor Alexey Ustinov, successfully launched Russia’s first two-qubit prototype of a quantum computer. In 2018, the NTI Center for Quantum Communications was opened, which was headed by a young ambitious scientist, Ph.D. Yuri Kurochkin. The center is engaged in scientific research and training specialists in the field of quantum communications. This year, the Center’s scientists, together with colleagues from MTUCI, LLC «QRate» and LLC «Security Code» companies, launched Russia’s first open-access quantum network, which will become part of a project to create software solutions for information protection,” said Alevtina Chernikova, Rector of NUST MISIS.
The configuration of the quantum-protected communication channel corresponds to the one adopted in industrial networks. Keys generated at a speed of 30 Kbit/s are transmitted between trusted communication nodes using the quantum key distribution method over existing optical communication lines, which makes it possible to connect more than 10 high-speed encoders simultaneously.
Yuri Mironov, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty of Networks and Communication Systems of MTUCI noted: “Considering that in the modern world, as well as in the near future, automation of technological and living processes using robotic technology will increasingly penetrate into people’s lives, the question of the necessity to protect data transmission networks from potential intruders` attacks, including using quantum computers, is quite relevant. In our demonstration, we showed how it is already possible to remotely control a robot manipulator via an optical communication channel protected from attacks using quantum key distribution technology.”
The network consists of five nodes located in the buildings of NUST MISIS and MTUCI. It has an open architecture and scales up as new participants appear. Universities, scientific organizations, industrial partners, government agencies and student startups get free access to the network. Based on the network, they can develop modern software applications in the field of information security using quantum keys.
«The uniqueness of the first ecosystem quantum network lies in the implementation of an open approach and the creation of practical benefits for each participant. Any developer of software solutions in the field of data protection will be able to use this infrastructure to debug their program code or create a new app based on quantum keys, for example, for the Internet of Things and demonstrate it to potential customers. As a result, customers invest in useful software, and this, as a result, will accelerate the development of the quantum communications market,” commented Yuri Kurochkin, Head of the Quantum Communications Competence Center of the National Technological Initiative (NTI) at NUST MISIS.
The developers have demonstrated that it is already possible to remotely control a robot manipulator via an optical communication channel protected from attacks using quantum key distribution technology. In the future, this will enable to transfer, for example, design solutions and technical documentation between geographically distant production platforms and concern offices around the world.
“I am convinced that promising technologies in the field of information security should be handled by professionals. Only due to the synergy of information technology specialists, scientists and the State’s attention it will be possible to realize the potential of quantum communications. We are pleased to take the first step in this direction by implementing the project of an interuniversity communication channel with quantum encryption,” said Andrey Golov, General Director of LLC «Security Code».
MTUCI student Gleb Vlasov also took part in the project: “Remote robot control will solve a lot of problems, I hope in the near future it will be possible to massively integrate VR interfaces for robot control at the factories. But we shouldn`t forget about the protection of robot control channels. I hope today’s event is an important step towards this future.”