Quantum: Good preparation for the quantum era

The advent of the quantum computer will bring about changes in business processes. Questions like “Is my data still secure?”, “How can I create a quantum-safe connection?” and “Which processes could I accelerate by running my analyses on a quantum computer?” come to mind when you think about the quantum computer.

At TNO, developments relating to the quantum computer are being worked on by various groups. The development of the hardware for the quantum computer and the quantum internet is being addressed in cooperation with TU Delft within the cooperative alliance QuTech. At TNO this involves mainly the Quantum Technology department. Within TNO's ICT unit, our work chiefly concerns subjects related to the security of information and connections (quantum-safe cryptography) and we look for algorithms whose run time is much shorter or which give better solutions when run on a quantum computer instead of a classic computer.

Quantum-safe cryptography

Cryptography has been a reliable building block in shielding information from those without access authorisation. The calculations needed to decode encrypted information are so complex that even the world's fastest computers take years to perform them. But this will change with the advent of the quantum computer! To ensure that confidential information is secure over the long term, we already need to be designing cryptosystems capable of withstanding both today's computer and the quantum computer: we need to be using post-quantum cryptography as it is called. The challenge lies not only in the new way of providing encryption, but also in how that new method will work in practice. TNO ICT has experience of using post-quantum cryptography, and can effectively map the practical effects on various communication networks.

Quantum technology opportunities

The advent of quantum technology also offers opportunities, for example, for information security. Quantum key distribution (QKD) is a technique whereby two parties can generate cryptographic key material used to secure communication channels in a way that even a quantum computer cannot break. QKD is therefore able to apply an extra and complementary level of security. To make use of these quantum mechanical properties, it is necessary to communicate in a fundamentally different way. Setting up a quantum communication channel involves all kinds of practical and theoretical challenges. TNO ICT works on the modelling, simulation and integration of quantum networks and researches their various possibilities for their application.

Quantum algorithms

Moreover, the quantum computer has the de potential to greatly reduce the calculation time needed to solve problems within, say, Artificial Intelligence – such as pattern recognition in videos, large simulations and specific chemical processes. With the aid of simulators and with the hardware and software currently available, we aim to gain insight into the infrastructure required over the mid- and long term for the applications, into the most promising fields of application and into the exact workings of the algorithms.

Take action

Take steps to get ready for the arrival of the quantum computer! Perhaps TNO can help you do so, with where the impact of Quantum on your company will be explained. Would you like to know more about what we are doing in the field of Quantum or to collaborate with us? Read more below or get in touch with us.

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Herman Pals MSc

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