DEVELOPING OF QUANTUM CRYPTOGRAPHY METHODS
A joint project on information encryption of the National University of Science and Technology MISiS (Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys) and the Russian Quantum Center for Information Encryption. In September 2019, the method was demonstrated to the President of the Russian Federation, V. Putin, having made a quantum video-call with no possible wiretapping. Quantum cryptography is based on the laws of fundamental physics. As soon as someone wants to crack the protection, the system will immediately recognize it and turn off.
The Russian Quantum Center (RQC) and the National University of Science and Technology MISiS (Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys) (the first University in the country to receive the “National Research University” status) presented the final edition of the quantum technologies roadmap. The document contains key metrics and plans for the implementation of the country’s technological breakthrough in quantum computing, quantum communications and quantum sensing. The requirements, indicators and methods described in the roadmap will be a guide to action for research groups, institutes and industry until 2024. The implementation of these measures should lead to the emergence of several dozen startups in quantum technologies in the country, competing on an equal footing with companies from the United States, the European Union and China.
In March 2019, NUST MISiS and RQC won the Rosatom State Corporation competition to develop a roadmap for one of nine end-to-end digital technologies. An extensive Russian and international scientific group of more than 120 experts were involved in the work on the document. Among international experts, Valentin Volkov from the University of Southern Denmark, Oleg Astafyev from RUHL University, Georgy Shlyapnikov from the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Prof. Alexander Lvovsky of the University of Oxford, head of the Quantum Polaritonics group at the Russian Quantum Center and Professor at the Westlake University Alexey Kavokin, and others took part in the work on the roadmap. Boris Altshuler, leading consultant on quantum technologies, Google Inc., was also involved in the work. Ruslan Yunusov (then CEO of the Russian Quantum Center) led the development of the quantum technologies roadmap.
The relevance of quantum technologies is already obvious and it will only increase over time. The ultimate goal of the roadmap is to ensure the sovereignty of our country in the technological environment that is still emerging. In 15-20 years, super power quantum computers, ultra-precise quantum detectors and absolutely secure quantum communication channels can become the main catalysts for the development of relevant industries. And we want Russia to be on an equal footing with the leading countries in this field. To do this, we have everything we need – the best minds, conditions for the development of startups and an understanding of the state.
Fulfillment of the plans stated in the roadmap can save significant material and time resources in dozens of different industries. Thus, new materials with superconductivity properties modeled on a quantum computer will reduce losses on power lines in Russia. The estimated energy consumption of quantum computers will be more than 100 times less than that of traditional ones, which will save billions of rubles on electricity for data centers. Russia may have its own highly competitive production of ultra-sensitive medical detectors, LiDARs for self-driving vehicles, quantum cryptography and communication devices.
One of the most important tasks that will allow Russia to become one of the world leaders in quantum technologies is to consolidate the efforts of the country’s academic community both in the scientific field and in training new generation specialists. In 2019, several educational programs were launched at NUST MISiS, including an integrated iPhD in the direction of Quantum Materials Science, a master’s degree in Quantum Technologies of Materials and Devices. Leading Universities and Research Centers have become partners of the programs: RQC, MIPT, Institute of Solid State Physics RAS, Shubnikov Institute of Crystallography RAS, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) and others.
The roadmap, scheduled until 2024, aims to reduce the gap between the world leaders in quantum computing and reach the world level in quantum communications. When implementing the measures described in the map, Russian companies should occupy 8% of the global quantum communications market by 2024 with a focus on exports to the CIS, BRICS, Southeast Asia and Latin America.
The technologies of the first quantum revolution are used everywhere today: transistors in computers, flash drives and smartphones, photodetectors in digital cameras, lasers in a wide range of industries. Since the end of the XX century, we have been on the threshold of the second quantum revolution, which can have an even greater impact on our world. Its key difference from the first revolution is the ability to control systems at the level of individual atoms, ions or photons.
Quantum computers are a new class of computing devices that use the principles of quantum mechanics to solve problems. In a number of tasks, a quantum computer will be able to give multiple acceleration compared to existing supercomputers. First of all, it is database search, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and the creation of new materials.
Quantum communications refers to information protection technology that uses individual quantum particles to transmit data. The main advantage of this technology is the ability to guarantee absolute protection against hacking: no matter what computing resources the hacker has, quantum cryptography is still reliable, as it is based on the fundamental laws of nature.
Quantum detectors are a class of devices for high-precision measurement of various parameters. A high degree of control over the state of individual microscopic systems makes it possible to create quantum detectors with a sensitivity level much higher than traditional magnetometers, accelerometers, gyroscopes and other detectors, which can be used in many industries. For example, the high sensitivity of such detectors makes it possible to detect various diseases at an early stage when other methods do not work or give no results. Another good example is the use of quantum technologies in atomic clocks, which will increase the positioning accuracy in GPS and GLONASS systems from 2-5 meters to several centimeters.
Quantum cryptography is an almost perfect method of encrypting secret data. Information sent over quantum cryptographic networks cannot be wiretapped or spied on without distorting it, so any attempted theft immediately becomes obvious.