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Quantum Communications and Computing

Using quantum systems to represent, process, and transmit information provides fundamentally new capabilities not obtainable via classical communications and computing. However, there is often a substantial gap to be bridged between proof-of-principle laboratory demonstrations and real-world applications.

Our research is at the frontiers of physics, computer science, information theory, and explores new paradigms for communications and computing through the use of quantum bits and information carriers. A major focus is to determine how quantum communications and quantum computing can be made practical and scalable.

Quantum Communications:

Quantum communications is the transmission of quantum states (usually encoded in individual photons, or entangled pairs of photons) over a distance. One of the most promising applications is Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), used to establish shared encryption keys across an optical link or network. It represents a new paradigm, in that the security of the key depends on the laws of physics, rather than on computational complexity.

ACS researchers  have done pioneering work in performing QKD over reconfigurable fiber networks, and on the same fiber as conventional (and vastly stronger) telecom channels. Additional areas of interest include communications over extremely long fibers; advanced encoding techniques (e.g., photons entangled in multiple degrees of freedom) for improved throughput; interconnections for quantum processors; and scalable quantum networks.           

Quantum Computing:

Quantum computers have the potential to dramatically increase the speed of certain types of calculations, in areas that could significantly reduce business costs or affect national security. To realize the promise of quantum computing, multidisciplinary research in physics, computer science, mathematics, and electrical engineering is required. Some of this research is very specific, such as development of hardware components, or analysis of computational complexity of quantum algorithms. Other research is at the system level, attempting to understand the interactions among the various parts of the system, and the tradeoffs that will be required to run algorithms on actual quantum computers. The ACS quantum team brings together the wide range of expertise required to understand the overarching problems and to find specific solutions. 

Quantum Standards & Professional Leadership:

Applied Communication Sciences is a member and an active participant in the international working group developing the first standards for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) systems.  Additional information on the QKD Industry Specification Group, under the auspices of ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute), can be found at www.etsi.org. In addition, the ACS team participates in a variety of conference organizing committees for optics, optical communications, quantum information science and related technologies.