Entanglement Quantum Random Numbers Generation Workgroup of the EITCI QSG
The main objective of the EQRNG-QSG activity is contribution to initiation of an international Working Group (WG) for Entanglement based Quantum Random Numbers Generation (EQRNG) 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 EQRNG systems and carrying out corrective iterations in cooperation with experts joining the EQRNG-QSG Workgroup initiated on 1st July 2019.
- Acceptance of the corrected and iterated RFC drafts as Reference Standards containing technical specifications for EQRNG systems by EQRNG-QSG Workgroup members which took place on 31st December 2019 in vote.
EQRNG-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 EQRNG technical reference standards and requesting comments and cooperation from Standards Developing Organizations' (SDOs) relevant WGs and international experts. The standardization consensus in EQRNG 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 EQRNG-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 EQRNG-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 EQRNG-QSG Members (in the vote there participated 155 EQRNG-QSG Members: 154 Members supported the acceptance of RS and 1 Member has abstained from voting).
The EQRNG-QSG accepted Reference Standards based on the iterated RFC initial technical specifications drafts include:
- 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 EQRNG-QSG voting procedure only EQRNG-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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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 EQRNG-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 EQRNG-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 EQRNG-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).
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