Quantum Communication Tested in Canada Improving the Security of Computing

    Offering greater confidentiality than the encryption technology currently used

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     A quantum communication testbed will be established in the province of Quebec.  It is estimated that in the future the opportunities offered by this technology could improve the security of computer communications.

     The project, which will be named Kirq, in honor of Captain James T. Kirk, a character in the Star Trek series, will be deployed in the cities of Montreal, Sherbrooke and Quebec.  Companies will be able to carry out tests on the network managed by the non-profit organization Numana.For this project, this organization also has financial support from both the federal and provincial governments.

     Its president, François Borrelli, cited as an example the benefits for financial institutions that could perform communications security testing.  We approach the banks, start talking to them and say, ‘It’s time to start insuring this.’

     This testbed will allow banks to test their communications outside their network, with suppliers, people they know, in a test laboratory that even if it fails is not so serious. A quote from François Borrelli, CEO of Numana.

    More secure means of transmitting information

     Advances in quantum communication could favor the development of a more secure means of transmitting information according to the laws of quantum physics, explained Martin Laforest, director of quantum strategy at the ACET incubator, which advised Numana on his project.

     In theory, the law of physics would mean that if someone tries to intercept a quantum communication, this would cause disturbances that would be perceptible, Laforest explained.

     Therefore, it would be possible to check whether the communication channel is secure before transmitting information.  Basically, quantum behavior cannot be measured or observed without altering it, he noted.

    Offering greater confidentiality than the encryption technology

     For this reason, quantum communication would offer greater confidentiality than the encryption technology currently used.  Furthermore, the development of the quantum computer will inevitably create a gap in the protection of encrypted communications, solving the complex mathematical combinations that protect information.Once large enough quantum computers are built, our current security measures will become obsolete, Laforest explained.  Alternatives are needed, he added.

    A help of more than 10 million dollars

    Both the governments of Canada and the province of Quebec announced on October 23 that they will respectively provide support of $3.6 million and $6.5 million for this $13 million project.

     Quebec considers quantum computing to be a promising sector for the economy, stressed Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon.  He gave as an example the recent launch of IBM’s quantum computer in Bromont, a town in the province of Quebec.

     The federal minister responsible for the Canadian Economic Development Agency for the Regions of Quebec, SorayaMartínezFerrada, highlighted that the quantum computing sector could allow the creation of some 229,000 jobs in Canada between now and 2040, 45,000 of them in Quebec.South Korea and China already have commercial quantum communications networks.  Canada would not be late, but it is time for us to act now, Borrelli said.

     There is still nowhere in North America where commercial networking is done, so it would possibly be available.  You just have to find the right business models.  The testbed also serves to inform users, such as banks, who can use these technologies, said François Borrelli, CEO of Numana.

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