The upcoming ITU workshop on ‘Quantum Information Technology for Networks’ in Shanghai, 5-7 June 2019, will bring together representatives of governments, companies, academia and standards bodies to discuss their respective roles in preparing for the impending arrival of quantum computing – new computing architectures based on the properties of quantum physics.
Quantum technologies will be capable of solving problems beyond the reach of classical computers. And although these technologies are certain to bolster security defences, experts warn that they will also bring greater strength to attacks.
ITU’s standardization arm, ITU-T, has welcomed a range of new members interested in influencing the development of ITU standards on security aspects of quantum technologies.
The Shanghai workshop’s discussions will feed into the work of two ITU expert groups in particular.
The home of ITU standardization work on security aspects of quantum technologies is ITU-T Study Group 17 (SG17), the expert group responsible for ‘building confidence and security in the use of ICTs’.
Networking aspects of quantum key distribution are under study in ITU-T Study Group 13 (SG13), the expert group responsible for ‘future networks and cloud’.
Security aspects of quantum technologies feature among a range of new subjects entering the SG17 work programme, with other notable additions including security aspects of the Internet of Things, blockchain and intelligent transport systems.
“Quantum technologies are fascinating and, as their influence grows, we have a responsibility to help the world prepare.” — Arnaud Taddei, Symantec
The September 2018 meeting of SG17 launched the development of a quantum-focused ITU Technical Report and new ITU standard:
The January 2019 meeting of SG17 saw experts from ITU, ISO and ETSI collaborating to initiate the development of three new quantum-focused ITU standards:
This January 2019 meeting of SG17 also included an ITU workshop on ‘Secure Quantum Communications’, which considered a wide range of views in discussing the scope for future SG17 work beyond this first set of draft standards.
ITU standardization work is contribution-driven. New subjects are propelled by new communities. Working together on the neutral platform offered by ITU, these new communities are creating the collaborative ‘ecosystems’ necessary to stimulate and sustain new areas of ITU standardization work.
“Security aspects of quantum technologies form an example of a field of innovation currently in the ‘incubation’ phase of its lifetime as an ITU standardization subject,” says SG17 Chairman, Heung Youl Youm, Professor at Soonchunhyang University, Korea. “Recognizing the importance of keeping pace with rapid ICT evolution and welcoming innovation in the security area, SG17 has created an incubation mechanism that has enabled our Quantum-related work to blossom and SG17 will consider creating new Questions [working groups] in the near future to accelerate our studies in this area.”
Community building and advancing cooperation among relevant standards bodies feature among the main objectives of the upcoming Shanghai workshop, ahead of the next meeting of SG17 in Geneva, 27 August to 5 September 2019.
“Quantum technologies are fascinating and, as their influence grows, we have a responsibility to help the world prepare. With technologies this disruptive and new, it is essential that we build common understanding among a large community of Member States, industry players, academia and standards bodies. We are making strong progress. We saw the right conditions for strong collaboration in the good atmosphere of the January meeting of SG17,” says Arnaud Taddei, Director of Standards and Architecture at Symantec, who led discussions on ITU standards strategy for quantum technologies at the December 2018 meeting of the advisory group to ITU standardization (TSAG).
The workshop is set to welcome ITU members including ID Quantique, SK Telecom, Toshiba Corporation, NICT, NEC, QuantumCTek Co. Ltd., CAS Quantum Network Co. Ltd., University of Science and Technology of China, the Hudson Institute, and Symantec.
All confirmed speakers can be found on the workshop programme.
For more information on SG17, visit the group’s homepage.
For more information on SG13, visit the group’s homepage.