Quantum Random Numbers Generation Workgroup of the EITCI QSG
The main objective of the QRNG-QSG activity is contribution to initiation of an international Working Group (WG) for Entanglement and Non-Entanglement based Quantum Random Numbers Generation (QRNG) technical specification and further standardization process. This aim has been achieved in a two-steps procedure:
- Publication and distribution of the Request for Comments drafts of technical standards for advanced QRNG systems and carrying out corrective iterations in cooperation with experts joining the QRNG-QSG Workgroup initiated on 1st July 2019.
- Acceptance of the corrected and iterated RFC drafts as Reference Standards containing technical specifications for QRNG systems by QRNG-QSG Workgroup members.
QRNG-QSG brings together professionals in classical and quantum domains of information processing and communication who are interested in randomness generation and can contribute towards development of requirements and specifications of the EQRNG systems that upon utilization of the non-local quantum entanglement may generate secret and provably non-deterministic randomness. The new technical developments and solutions in true randomness generation and testing facilitate drafting of QRNG technical reference standards and requesting comments and cooperation from Standards Developing Organizations' (SDOs) relevant WGs and international experts. The standardization consensus in QRNG is expected to contribute to a growing quantum standards inventory and help in uptake of the technology, which is crucial in many aspects of cryptography, communication and computation.
Relevance of this activity from the European perspective is in support of quantum technologies roadmapping within the EU Quantum Technology Flagship, further supporting a leading role of the EU in the international quantum race by undertaking new initiatives in the international standardization efforts. Many quantum technologies are in early TRL levels, and the most mature ones (reaching even TRL 7) are QKD (Quantum Key Distribution) and QRNG. While QKD standards are underway (e.g. at ETSI QKD-ISG) there are no technical reference drafs and no work groups actively pursuing QRNG standards (except of the recent standard adoption by the ITU-T referencing the IdQuantique's QRNG architecture following a preceding recommendation letter). In Europe ETSI established Industry Specification Group working on QKD and on international level quantum standardization efforts take place in cybersecurity and networks WGs, e.g. under Joint Technical Committee 1 of ISO/IEC. CEN and CENELEC recently signed agreements with ISO and IEC through which common European and international standards are developed parallely without duplication, emphasizing the European role.
The main challenge and aim of the QRNG-QSG is in supporting further technological development and industrial adoption of Quantum Random Numbers Generators (QRNG). Both QKD (Quantum Key Distribution) and QRNG are the most mature and industry-ready quantum technologies. While QKD standards are well in development there are no reference drafts and no work groups actively pursuing QRNG standards.
EITCI Institute's Quantum Standards Group joins together professionals of both classical and quantum domains of information and communication as well as cybersecurity. Many of the experts internationally collaborate on bringing QTs (such as QKD, QRNG) to practical cybersecurity applications.
In 2013 EITCI Institute's QSG representatives took part in efforts of the work group of QKD-ISG (Quantum Key Distribution Industry Specification Group) of ETSI, but EITCI was active in QIP/QKD standardization activities already since 2008, organizing in 2010 two WGs for QKD and QIP work groups as a result of EITCI involvement in quantum communication R&D projects' results testing and verification. The EQRNG-QSG workgroup now follows with previously well realized fact of the critical importance of true randomness for the security of QKD protocols. Upon recent activity in new developments in QRNG field, including an entanglement based architecture of public-verification of true randomness without unveiling of its secrecy due to quantum non-locality of the entangled qubit states, the EITCI QSG is properly positioned to join together experts who can collaborate on specifying EQRNG protocols.
The TRLs of Quantum Technologies vary in different fields. QRNG is one of the areas with highest TRL calling for industry specification and efforts towards standards consensus. Such efforts should accompany already well developed field of quantum-safe communication standards, as truly non-deterministic randomness has critical role in both quantum and classical cryptosystems including a whole domain of classical, so called post-quantum cryptography. In that context it should be quoted after the Europe's Agenda 2020 that standardization is an important instrument for innovation adoption, driving compatibility, interoperability, quality and security requirements (COM/2010/2020). The EU R&D framework programme H2020 definition also emphasizes a relationship between R&D projects and standardization activities that boost impact of the results and their market uptake (COM(2018) 26). Current SDOs activity in QRNG standards is very limited and the EITCI EQRNG-QSG activities aim to stimulate these efforts.
The activity of the QRNG-QSG involves the two-step procedure of the Request for Comments on technical specifications iterations and acceptance of the Reference Standards. The initial EQRNG technical specifications drafting have been a basis for the RFC (Request for Comments) publication and corrective iterations. The final phase begun on 27th December 2019 when these iterated RFC drafts became candidates for Reference Standards upon the QSG Members vote lasting until 31st December 2019. The vote has concluded with almost unequivocal support for the Reference Standards adoption by the QRNG-QSG Members (in the vote there participated 155 QRNG-QSG Members: 154 Members supported the acceptance of RS and 1 Member has abstained from voting).
The QRNG-QSG accepted Reference Standards based on the iterated RFC initial technical specifications for Entanglement based Quantum Random Numbers Generators (EQRNG) drafts include (with currently reiterated advanced versions):
- EQRNG definition, theoretical concepts of true randomness and use cases
- EQRNG testing and verification schemes (including quantum entanglement sustaining secrecy)
- EQRNG processes, devices and operative parameters
Accordingly to the QRNG-QSG voting procedure only QRNG-QSG Members are entitled to participate in vote. If a Member would like to vote against acceptance of the RFC drafts as RS, such objected should be emailed along with indication of vote cast against at email@example.com. Upon the EITCI QSG proceeding rules, a lack of response is interpreted as a vote in favour of acceptance. All further corrections are still accepted during vote being sent also at firstname.lastname@example.org and are added to the improvements list for further reiterations of the Reference Standards, if admitted by the vote. If a Member would like to vote against accepting of the current drafts as RS, it musy be clearly indicated in the message, because proposing just the corrections is not counted as a vote against (rather the corrections are added to further improvements of the accepted RS).
During the months before the vote the RFC drafts were circulated with the QRNG-QSG Members and distributed to the relevant Working Groups of SDOs, including ETSI QKD-ISG, ITU-T SG13 & SG17, IEEE/ISTO, IETF, IEC TC 57, TC 292, TC 65/WG10, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27, CEN, CENELEC, ANSI/ASC and NIST, with an invitation to submit the comments on the drafts and join the QRNG-QSG activities, including further reiteration of the RFCs upon community collaboration ending with Reference Standards acceptance and publishing by the Quantum Standards Group under EITCI Institute as the hosting SDO. The accepted Reference Standards are then subject to continous development and improvements.
The EITCI QRNG-QSG activities are aimed at stimulation of international SDOs' own WGs with further iterations towards increasing collaboration and reaching of the consensus for adopted international standards in the QRNG domain. The QRNG standardization drafting process will be open and RFC drafts and final standards specification documents will be of open access (while some of the technically documented concepts may remain under IP protection, while different competing solutions will be a part of consensus reaching process in the research and industry community towards QRNG technology standardization).
H2020 StandICT action support
The objective of this action is to advance technical reference standards for general quantum random numbers generators (QRNG) encompassing both entanglement and non-entanglement schemes upon continued engagement of the Quantum Standards Group hosted by EITCI Institute, previously dealing with separated standards for entanglement and non-entanglement based QRNG, with a new impetus for consolidation of the domain’s experts collaboration.
The current action aims at establishing activities in general QRNG international standardisation work supporting Europe’s lead in this area internationally.
Quantum cryptography which is considered a hallmark of quantum technology commercialization is based on QKD (quantum key distribution), which in turn is conditioned by randomness. The problem with randomness is that it cannot be achieved under the regime of classical physics which is inherently deterministic (hence all classical RNGs are pseudo-random). True randomness is only possible with fundamentally non-deterministic laws of quantum mechanics and quantum randomness enable information-theoretic security of the QKD.
While QKD technical standards are developed for several years and are now mature enough to provide device independent security (e.g. due to efforts of the ETSI QKD-ISG Industry Specification Group), there are currently very limited technical reference standardisation efforts for quantum randomness, despite the QRNG being a key enabler for QKD. The only two international QRNG standardisation initiatives (both started in 2019) include ID Quantique’s coordination of the efforts towards a dedicated WG establishment on the forum of the ITU-T (cf. https://www.idquantique.com/a-major-step-in-standardization-of-quantum-random-number-generators-qrng), and the QRNG-QSG WG hosted by EITCI.
A significant progress in technical developments in quantum randomness generation and testing throughout recent years will facilitate drafting of genereal QRNG in-depth technical reference standards, well beyond the scope of the currently limited QRNG standards inventory, compiling inputs from international SDOs' relevant WGs and domain experts, aiming at further consolidation of a high expertise level required for successfully supporting international efforts in quantum technology standardisation.
The EITCI Quantum Standards Group initiated in 2019 with a focus on the entanglement based quantum randomness technical standardisation is pioneering the activity on the entanglement based QRNG standards resulting with two vote-accepted Reference Standards for entanglement based QRNG systems reaching TRL 5 (following interations on technical RFCs) and further two RS being currently interated and planned to be subject to an acceptance voting in April 2022 stemmed from the developments in associated ongoing EU funded project (contract no. POIR.01.01.01-00-0173/15-00) pursuing finding most optimal QRNG processes implemented in various approaches involving entanglement and non-entanglement based concepts for provable but secret truly non-deterministic randomness for quantum cryptography.
Standardisation efforts in this domain, involving multiple drafts iterations, have been carried out by the EITCI hosted QSG EQRNG workgroup (supported in the consequtive editions of the H2020 StandICT program), lasting from 07.2019 to 12.2019 and from 11.2021 to 04.2022 (with the currently undertaken continuation of the effort implemented from 05.2022 to 10.2022). The QSG collaboration has begun with a group of 20 international experts in quantum information field, and quickly grew to over 150 experts after the first StandICT assignment in 2019, while further expanded to over 280 experts collaboration in 2022. In 2020 EITCI QSG also engaged in standards drafting for generalized quantum cryptography beyond QKD (cf. https://eitci.org/technology-certification/qsg/oqp) with activities continued throughout 2021, when the EITCI QSG has been joined by several renowed experts in the post-quantum cryptography field.
A currently implemented continuation of the standardisation effort in quantum randomness including approaches based on non-entanglement and entanglement QRNG schemes (joining previous two separated standards drafting efforts for general QRNGs), with technical referencing of various implementation techniques is expected to contribute to a growing quantum standards inventory and support uptake of the QRNG technology which is considered to be of crucial importance for the future of cryptography and communication, especially in view of recent quantum supremacy breakthroughs (cf. Google’s Sycamore processor - cf. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1666-5 and Chinese USTC Jiuzhang processor - cf. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03434-7) conditioning future quantum internet’s operability.
Relevance of the action
Relevance of the standardisation activities are in their agreement with the strategic roadmapping of the EU Quantum Technology Flagship (€1b funding perspective for a 10 years scale since 2018), aimed at supporting a leading role of the EU in international quantum technology race by undertaking new initiatives on the emerging quantum standards landscape. Many quantum technologies are now still in early TRL levels, and the most mature ones (reaching TRL 7) are QKD (Quantum Key Distribution) and QRNG. While QKD standards are well underway there are very limited technical reference drafts and WGs activities in scope of QRNG standards.
The current action’s planned effort supports upholding the leading role of the EU in international quantum communication technology commercialization by undertaking gap-filing initiatives in international standardisation, driving the market uptake for quantum technology, focusing on generalized QRNG schemes involving both the non-entanglement and entanglement based technical concepts, consolidating on the previously achieved expertise and QSG-iterated RS technical specifications (two accepted RS publications for entanglement QRNGs and currently iterated two RS for non-entanglement QRNGs, to be undergoing an acceptance vote in April 2022).
Europe is a world-leader in QKD. Most advanced technologically and pioneering company focused solely on commercialization of QKD is ID Quantique in Geneva. The Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) is leading in entanglement based QKD (demonstrating 3 first entanglement QKD metropolitan implementations in Vienna 2008, in Tokyo 2011 and in Wrocław 2014 – cf. https://seqre.net/seqre2014/wroclaw.php). The famous 2016 Chinese quantum entanglement satellite Micius (performing first orbital quantum teleportation) was also implemented in cooperation with Austrian quantum experts.
While QKD standards are already mature (cf. https://www.etsi.org/committee/1430-qkd) there are limited technical references for QRNG, especially on the device implementation level, despite its enabling role for the QKD. In view of strategic decisions of the European Commission recognizing potential of the QIPC technology and allocating large resources in the quantum race (cf. https://qt.eu) it is important that such crucial application as non-deterministic randomness generation enabling quantum encryption is in-depth technically standardised with the EU securing a leading role in this effort.
In Europe ETSI has established in 2008 the Industry Specification Group working on QKD (as the outcome of SECOQC) and on an international level quantum standards efforts take place in cybersecurity and networks WGs, mainly under Joint Technical Committee 1 of ISO/IEC. The CEN and CENELEC recently signed agreements with ISO and IEC through which common European and international standards are developed in parallel without duplication, emphasising European role in initiating several international quantum standards. Quantum standardisation is developed also in QISS of IEEE (P1913, P7130, P7131 WGs), ITU-T and ISA and NIST in the US. In 2018 the European Quantum Flagship Programme launched the Quantum Internet Alliance joining 12 research groups from 8 EU countries along with 20+ companies, workings towards breakthrough in quantum repeater technology (first proposed in Europe in 1998 by P. Zoller) enabling intermetropolitan exchange of entanglement that conditions quantum internet. In 2020 Sorbonne/CNRS achieved milestone in this area by storage/retrieval of entangled photons in quantum memories at 85% efficiency with time-parameters enabling error-corrections schemes for feasible intermetropolitan quantum network implementation.
In 2019 European Commission launched the Quantum Communication Infrastructure (QCI), a large-scale infrastructural project implemented by EU member states governments, targeted at building quantum secure terrestrial-satellite network acting as infrastructure for quantum systems. The QCI main objective is to allow wide QKD deployment, but what must be emphasized is an enabling role of non-deterministic quantum randomness, hence the QRNG devices reference standards covering various techniques should be continuously developed. The answer to this purpose is the current action to upscale international work on technical standardization of QRNG based on most promising technical approaches, supporting Europe’s position on international SDOs/SSOs forum and leveraging on EU’s far-reaching quantum projects.
The action comprises new efforts in expanding international standardisation for QRNG under the EITCI Quantum Standards Group (currently over 280 experts in quantum information and cybersecurity).
The current workflow of the action follows the same operational mode of EITCI QSG that was successfully implemented in 2019 and in 2021 under the support of the previous and current StandICT project’s editions with published accepted Reference Standards for Entanglement Quantum Random Numbers Generation EQRNG and the acceptance voting on the RS for Non-Entanglement Quantum Random Numbers Generation scheduled for 31st October 2022, and will encompass device-level standardization of most optimal QRNG schemes implemented in various techniques (with a special focus put in quantum shot-noise and in quantum optics routes for QRNG).
The impact of the project will be in conceiving and iteratively developing 2 Request for Comments documents with device-level technical specifications drafts on Quantum Random Numbers Generation concepts and protocols (1) and their technical implementation (2). These RFCs will be circulated among participants of expanded EITCI Quantum Standards Group, with at least 20 new renowned experts joining-in QRNG-QSG workgroup dedicated to quantum randomness technical Reference Standards. The new members of the QRNG-QSG workgroup will be invited among relevant experts from industry, academy and standardisation bodies to contribute in iterative manner to the generalized QRNG technical specification drafting on basis of relevant RFC documents and consolidating previous standards.
The main impact of the proposal will be in final delivery of the iterated RFC specifications as Reference Standards by the QRNG-QSG workgroup members in voting preceded by iterative corrections, as it was carried out in 2019 by the EQRNG-QSG workgroup and is also planned for October 2022 for both the Entanglement and Non-Entanglement based Quantum Random Numbers Gnerators (EQRNG and NEQRNG). The RFCs along with accepted RS specifications in generalized QRNG will be disseminated to leading international SDOs WGs working in related fields of cybersecurity, cryptography, secure networking and quantum technologies. These RFCs and Reference Standards specifications on QRNG will be shared with relevant SDOs WGs aiming at stimulation of international efforts towards extending collaboration and reaching of the consensus on increasingly in-depth technical specifications for quantum random number generating devices enabling information-theoretic secure operation of quantum key distribution protocols as a basis for the quantum internet.
The QRNG standardisation drafting process will be open and RFC documents as well as accepted RS’s will remain open access. These specifications will support further standardisation work in relevant WGs of international SDOs, as quantum randomness holds enabling role in the domain of quantum communication.
As a more general impact, the proposal will support emphasizing and securing Europe’s leading role in international technical standardisation in QIPC.
The successful process for QRNG standardisation resulting in acceptance of the QRNG Reference Standards in cooperation with members of relevant WGs of international SDOs which already dealt with quantum communication standards, including ETSI QKD-ISG, ITU-T SG13 (Future Networks) and SG17 (Security), IEEE, IEEE ISTO, IETF, IEC TC-57, IEC TC-292, IEC TC-65/WG10, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27, CEN, CENELEC, ANSI/ASC, NIST, as well as with its commercial uptake, as announced in September 2020 by IBM Q Network in cooperation with Cambridge Quantum Computing, is a strong argument that a procedurally similar effort with upscaling generalized QRNG standardisation will also succeed, consolidating standards developed for both non-entanglement and entanglement based QRNGs.
The impact of the QRNG standardisation (firstly introducing publicly-certified quantum randomness, cf. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-56706-2) in supporting uptake of the technology was proven 9 months after EQRNG Reference Standards publishing with Cambridge Quantum Computing in partnership with IBM commercially offering for the first time a publicly-certified global cloud-based source for quantum randomness, based on multi-qubit entanglement as it was technically described in disseminated EQRNG-QSG Reference Standard (cf. CQC IBM Statement).
Inclusion into international quantum technical standardisation concepts stemming from the EU not only enhances quantum technology uptake prospects in the StandICT Open Call’s priority, but also secures European interests in terms of intellectual property share in quantum technology commercialization.
Quantum information technologies can be divided in two main areas: communication and computation.
Quantum communication field (with prominent role of QKD enabling information-theoretic encryption of classical communication by means of quantum distribution of classical truly random binary sequence acting as key for the One-Time Pad) is most advanced in terms of commercial uptake, with companies deploying QKD systems to security-critical communication scenarios for several years. While QKD deployment rate is now highest in China, European companies and research teams pioneered this field along with the US and hold a leading edge, also emphasized in Europe’s key role in corresponding international standards-setting efforts. The information-theoretic security of QKD protocols is fully dependent on quantum randomness derived from the fundamentally non-deterministic quantum mechanics measurement’s nature. Hence key components of QKD systems are QRNGs.
Quantum computation is the second field, with technical progress and commercial uptake lagging behind QKD. Although D-Wave is marketing quantum computers for 2 decades, these devices are capable of performing only specific algorithmic classes (quantum annealing) with computing power advantage over classical systems disputable and not proven. Decoherence remains an unsurpassed obstacle on the road to a scalable and universal quantum computation. Nevertheless prospects of any global players achieving this technology are so critical, that one can observe a quantum race, similar to the space race of the sixties. As indicated in section 1.1. in 2019/20 there were 2 important achievements of quantum supremacy (practical quantum computation surpassing capabilities of classical computers) by Google (Sycamore) and Chinese USTC (Jiuzhang).
In advent of quantum computation and with progress of quantum communication infrastructure it becomes clear that the quantum internet will turn into reality soon. This process has already begun in test beds (cf. the third in the world entanglement based QKD quantum network of a metropolitan scale in Wroclaw in 2014, cf. https://seqre.net/seqre2014/wroclaw.php), but it will be soon starting to wide-spread thanks to the large-scale strategic quantum infrastructural projects, especially in the EU (such as the EuroQCI, a backbone for the future quantum internet). Facing these developments an in-depth standardisation of QRNGs (as crucial QKD components) needs to be undertaken. On the other hand QRNGs also play important role in computational modeling. The H2020 StandICT supported action for advancing of standards for QRNG is thus at an overlap of these areas with an added value for currently low standardisation activity in quantum randomness in contrary to other fields of the QIPC, such as QKD.
The current workplan lasts 6 months and is divided into 2 phases.
Phase I – standards drafting as RFC documents (3 months, 1.05.2022-31.07.2022)
During the first 3 months consolidating general QRNG technical reference standards drafting will take place in a form of 2 new Request for Comments documents:
1) General QRNG protocols (definitions, key theoretical concepts and use cases for QRNGs)
2) General QRNG implementation (technical specification of processes, devices and operative parameters for QRNGs)
The QRNG protocol RFC will formalize details of definitions, key theoretical concepts and use cases for both non-entanglement and entanglement based quantum randomness generation, consolidating and advancing the previous standardisation efforts’ results. True (quantum) randomness has significant applications not only in quantum domains. Classical cryptography, as well as in mathematical modeling and many other fields widely rely on random numbers with various levels of required entropy (random binary sequences usually need to be certified in statistical testing of randomness levels). Hence industry-specification consensus efforts towards a truly (quantum) random number generation standards are expected in various novel techniques to employ quantum mechanics phenomena to generate non-deterministic random binary strings. The proposed efforts should follow already mature standards in QKD as well as the currently-under-development standards in quantum computing. The Europe's Agenda 2020 asseses that the standardisation is an important instrument for innovation adoption, driving compatibility, interoperability, quality and security requirments (COM/2010/2020). The EU H2020 emphasises a relationship between R&D projects and standardisation activities that boost impact of the results and their market uptake (COM(2018) 26). Current SDOs activity in the quantum randomness area is low and the proposal’s workplan aims to stimulate these efforts.
Phase II – RFCs reiteration, establishing of a dedicated generalized QRNG-QSG workgroup, acceptance, publication and dissemination of the consolidated general QRNG Reference Standards (3 months, 1.08.2022-31.10.2022)
After conclusion of the Phase I, with beginning of the 4th month of the project the Request for Comments documents will be distributed to relevant WGs of international SDOs/SSOs, including primarily the CEN/CENELEC Quantum Standards Focus Group, as well as ETSI QKD-ISG, ITU-T SG13 & SG17, IEEE/ISTO, IETF, IEC TC-57, TC-292, TC-65/WG10, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC-27, ANSI/ASC and NIST with an invitation to QRNG-QSG WG hosted under EITCI, acting in cooperation with international SDOs/SSOs towards standards development aimed at setting internationally trusted industry quantum specifications.
EITCI QRNG-QSG WG invitations will be directed to related quantum technology international SDOs/SSOs WGs members as well as to leading QIPC researchers and relevant cybersecurity and quantum engineering experts. Upon invitations to QRNG-QSG WG there is planned expanding general QSG membership by at least 20 new experts participating in reiteration of the QRNG RFCs towards RS acceptance, publication and dissemination (the remaining 3 months of the project implementation will comprise reiteration of the RFCs within the WG ending with acceptance of the final Reference Standards specifications, along with publishing and dissemination taking place before 31.10.2022).
The proposed workplan will result in stimulating further development of QRNG standards in joint efforts of the international SDOs/SSOs. In particular the proposed activity will be coordinated in already initiated cooperation with European Quantum Flagship and the CEN-CENELEC established Quantum Standards Focus Group, supporting EU-stemming international standards in quantum technologies. The purpose of this cooperation will be to ensure interaction between relevant EU stakeholders upon joint efforts in international quantum standardisation. The QRNG-QSG Reference Standards will be implemented with CEN-CENELEC as CWAs as part of the post-proposal results dissemination activities. Upon the accepted Reference Standards distribution to relevant SDOs/SSOs any members of related technical standards committees or WGs interested in non-entanglement based QRNG standards development towards final industrial specifications will be invited to join dedicated QRNG-QSG to participate in further post-proposal activities.
Measurable Key Project Indicators are following:
A. Phase I of the project (1st May 2022 – 31st July 2022)
Preparation of general QRNG technical RFC standards drafts documents by 31st July 2022:
A.1. General QRNG protocols (definitions, key theoretical concepts and use cases for QRNGs) - RFC-EITCI-QSG-QRNG-PROTOCOL-STD
A.2. General QRNG implementation (technical specification of processes, devices and operative parameters for QRNGs) - RFC-EITCI-QSG-QRNG-IMPLEMENTATION-STD
The measuring mechanism of achieving the aforementioned KPIs will be in publication of the two RFC documents by 31st July 2022.
B. Phase II of the project (1st August 2022 – 31st October 2022)
B.1. Distribution of the 2 RFCs to relevant WGs of European and international SDOs/SSOs dealing with quantum communication standards, including primarily the CEN/CENELEC Quantum Flagship Quantum Standards Focus Group, as well as ETSI QKD-ISG, ITU-T SG13 (Future Networks) and SG17 (Security), IEEE (and IEEE ISTO with formal quantum Project Authorization Requests), IETF, IEC TC 57, IEC TC 292, IEC TC 65/WG10, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27, ANSI/ASC and NIST. KPI measuring mechanism will comprise archived communication documenting distribution.
B.2. Expanding and coordinating of the QRNG-QSG WG hosted under EITCI, growing the current 269 experts membership by at least 20 new members actively participating in effort towards consolidated general standards defining in QRNG encompassing both the non-entanglement and entanglement based approaches, with a device-level technical references. KPI measuring mechanism will comprise archived invitations to relevant experts and published composition of the QRNG-QSG WG, including identification of at least 20 new members expanding the pre-proposal EITCI QSG Quantum Standards Group.
B.3. Reiteration of the comments, corrections and extending contributions within the 2 RFC documents towards final vote-acceptance and publication with dissemination of the resulting Reference Standards documents aimed at increasing prospects of QRNG devices wide industrial uptake and stimulating further development of related international quantum randomness standards. The planned Reference Standards close in maturity to industrial specifications will comprise the RS-EITCI-QSG-QRNG-PROTOCOL-STD and the RS-EITCI-QSG-QRNG-IMPLEMENTATION-STD documents accepted in a vote of the QRNG-QSG WG. KPI measuring mechanism will involve archived reiteration activities, voting results and publishing of the accepted RS documents, along with the archived disseminative communication with international SDOs/SSOs.
The completed Phase I of the action 2 included contributions which were performed accordingly with the proposed schedule. These involved generalized QRNG technical reference standards drafting as two RFC documents: 1) QRNG protocols (definitions, key theoretical concepts and use cases for QRNGs), and 2) QRNG implementation (technical specification of processes, devices and operative parameters for QRNGs). The QRNG protocol RFC advances formalization of details in regard to definitions, key theoretical concepts and use cases for non-entanglement and entanglement based quantum randomness generators. True (quantum) randomness has significant applications not only in quantum domains. Classical cryptography, as well as mathematical modeling and many other fields rely on random numbers with various levels of required entropy (random binary sequences usually need to be certified in statistical testing of randomness levels). Hence industry-specification consensus efforts towards a truly (quantum) random number generation standards in both non-entanglement and entanglement based approaches are expected to support various novel techniques in employing quantum mechanics phenomena to generating non-deterministic random bits. These efforts follow already mature standards in QKD as well as the currently under-development standards in quantum computing. Additional result of the Phase I of the action’s implementation was increasing scale of the collaboration upon the EITCI Quantum Standards Group (organizing multiple group meetings and webinars). The membership among experts in quantum technologies has surpassed the number of 286. For more details on the current progress refer to: https://eitci.org/technology-certification/qsg and https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8850635. The Phase II will involve RFCs reiteration, acceptance, publication and dissemination of the non-entanglement QRNG RS. The RFCs will be distributed to relevant WGs of international SDOs/SSOs.
The work mainly contributes to the QRNG Workgroup of the Quantum Standards Group (QSG) hosted by the European IT Certification Institute to support EU-initiated international standards in quantum technologies. As of August 2022 the EITCI QSG joins over 286 relevant domain experts.
Although the main contribution is with the European Information Technologies Certification Institute, distribution of the RFCs to relevant WGs of international SDOs/SSOs dealing with quantum communication standards also includes in particular the CEN/CENELEC Focus Group on Quantum Technologies (FGQT), as well as ETSI QKD-ISG, ITU-T SG13 (Future Networks) and SG17 (Security), IEEE (and IEEE ISTO with formal quantum Project Authorization Requests), IETF, IEC TC 57, IEC TC 292, IEC TC 65/WG10, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27, ANSI/ASC and NIST.
The activities of the action stem from cooperation in many projects. Predominantly however, the cooperation concerns the SeQre International Quantum Cryptography Commercialization Platform (cf. https://seqre.net/commercialization - the platform features scientific and technical cooperation community that is focused on the commercialization of quantum cryptography). Results of the undertaken QRNG standardization efforts also support further technical oriented academic research in this domain, with currently defended QRNG related PhD thesis at WUST.
With progress in quantum computation increasing investments are allocated at quantum technologies, especially in QIPC. Programs such as the Quantum Flagship in Europe have counterparts globally allocating billions of euros and dollars in R&D. SMEs play a crucial role in development of innovation and with QT it is no exception. Standards for basic quantum infrastructures such as quantum information encryption in future quantum networks can support innovation in quantum technology and accelerate its uptake by European SMEs. This is already happening among multiple start ups in Europe, with a lot of their founders and/or key engineers engaging in the standardization effort of the action (the cooperation is developing rapidly).
The action is supporting standardisation efforts in quantum information processing and communication (QIPC) technologies for facilitating their uptake as roadmapped in the EU Quantum Flagship program (€1b funding in 10 years timescale). It aims to advance international work on standardization of non-entanglement quantum random numbers generation (non-entanglement QRNG), simultaneously supporting Europe’s position on international SDOs/SSOs forum and leveraging on EU’s far-reaching quantum infrastructure projects.
All planned contributions were completed.
The Phase I of the action included contributions delivered accordingly to the schedule. These involved generalized QRNG technical reference standards drafted as RFC documents: 1) QRNG protocols (definitions, key theoretical concepts and use cases for QRNGs) - milestone A.1., and 2) QRNG implementation (technical specification of processes, devices and operative parameters for QRNGs) - milestone A.2. The QRNG protocol RFC further advances formalization of details in regard to definitions, key theoretical concepts and use cases for non-entanglement and entanglement based quantum randomness generators. True (quantum) randomness has significant applications not only in quantum domains. Classical cryptography, as well as mathematical modeling and many other fields rely on random numbers with various levels of required entropy (random binary sequences usually need to be certified in statistical testing of randomness levels). Hence industry-specification consensus efforts towards a truly (quantum) random number generation standards in both non-entanglement and entanglement based approaches are expected to support various novel techniques in employing quantum mechanics phenomena to generating non-deterministic random bits. These efforts follow already mature standards in QKD as well as the currently under-development standards in quantum computing. Additional result of the Phase I of the action’s implementation was increasing scale of the collaboration upon the EITCI Quantum Standards Group (organizing multiple group meetings and webinars).
During the Phase II 3 final contributions (milestones) were delivered:
- Distribution of the RFC drafts from Phase 1 to relevant experts and WGs of international SDOs working on quantum communication standards, inviting to cooperation with EITCI QRNG-QSG – milestone B.1.
- Expanding work of the EITCI Quantum Standards Group by 20 experts (to 289 quantum domain and cybersecurity experts), i.e. achieving the action declared level (cf. Quantum Standards Group Members and LinkedIn QSG Group) – milestone B.2.
- Reiteration of the comments, corrections and extending contributions within the RFC documents, publication and dissemination of the resulting Reference Standards documents aimed at increasing prospects of QRNG devices wide industrial uptake and stimulating further development of related international quantum randomness standards (cf. https://eitci.org/technology-certification/qsg/eqrng, with further technical specifications published at https://seqre.net/qrng) – milestone B.3.
True (quantum) randomness has significant applications not only in quantum domains. Classical cryptography, as well as in mathematical modeling and many other fields widely rely on random numbers with various levels of required entropy (random binary sequences usually need to be certified in statistical testing of randomness levels). Hence industry-specification consensus efforts towards a truly (quantum) random number generation standards are expected in various novel techniques to employ quantum mechanics phenomena to generate non-deterministic random binary strings. These efforts follow already mature standards in QKD as well as the currently under development standards in quantum computing.
The societal impact of the action is in supporting European’s leading role in quantum technologies. Quantum engineering is expected to revolutionize industry on an unprecedented scale, surpassing technological revolutions witnessed so far. It is important for Europe and its citizens to be at the forefront of these developments as they will define economic and hence societal position of the EU in the future.
European leaders understand potential of quantum technologies and allocate adequate means to support developments in this domain with programs such as Quantum Flagship or European Quantum Communication Infrastructure. Important enabler for these efforts is standardization of emerging quantum technologies, with quantum cryptography as an early application, enabled and conditioned by the quantum random numbers generators (QRNG) in order to provide information-theoretic security level of communication.
Only few years ago the European Commission launched EuroQCI, a large-scale program implemented by all EU member states, targeted at building quantum terrestrial & satellite network acting as an infrastructure for quantum systems developed in the EU’s Quantum Flagship program and prospectively for anticipated quantum computers. In 2019/2020 two important breakthroughs have been reported by Google (USA) and USTC (China) with the so called quantum supremacy of quantum processors (Sycamore implemented on superconducting Josephson junctions and Jiuzhang built on entangled photons), able to solve real problems beyond the reach of classical computational power.
The advent of quantum computers pronounces the need to further develop quantum standards and especially so in the quantum cryptography domain enabled by the QRNG. The QRNG standardisation efforts need to be further pursued to mature on a similar level as are the standards for the QKD in order to jointly provide quantum security for the future of communication.
Proceed to the OQP Workgroup of the EITCI Quantum Standards Group.
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