Inside Quantum Technology

Cisco has many irons in the quantum-development fire

(NetworkWorld) Developing quantum technologies was one of the top predictions on the 2022 predictions list of Cisco’s executive vice president, general manager and Chief Strategy Officer Liz Centoni.
“Quantum computing, communications, and security will power a faster, more secure future that demands a reinvention of how systems work and communicate via an evolved Internet with even lower latency and higher bandwidth,” Centoni stated. “Quantum computing and security will interconnect very differently than classical communications networks, which stream bits and bytes to provide voice and data information.”
Of particular interest to Cisco is future development of quantum-based networks, data centers, and internet technologies.
“Quantum networking could enable a new type of secure connection between digital devices, making them impenetrable to hacks,” Centoni stated. “As this type of foolproof security becomes achievable with quantum networking, it could lead to better fraud protection for transactions. In addition, this higher quality of secure connectivity may also be able to protect voice and data communications from any interference or snooping. All of these possibilities would re-shape the internet we know and use today.”
Looking closer, Cisco’s vision is twofold–to build quantum data centers that could use classic local area network concepts to tie together quantum computers to communicate to solve big problems or a quantum-based network that transmitsquantum bits [qubits] from quantum servers at high-speeds to handle commercial-grade applications, said Ramana Kompella a Distinguished Engineer and the head of research in the Emerging Tech and Incubation group at Cisco.
Cisco is part of the Center for Quantum Networks that has as a goal to build the quantum internet, which it says will spur new technology industries and a competitive marketplace of quantum service providers and application developers.
The European Quan­tum Inter­net Alliance and the US Department of Energy are likewise looking to pull together indus­tri­al and aca­d­e­m­ic partners to further quantum communications.
The quantum internet indeed will be primarily for security use cases where users need to securely communicate location to location over many miles, Kompella said. “Technologies to develop the quantum internet and the security use case are being developed all around the world,” Kompella said.

Cisco, too, has many irons in the quantum-development fire. Cisco Research posted a request for proposal for Quantum Technologies in January 2021 that is still open, looking for a variety of technologies including:
Photon sources and detection technology
Fabrication methods and materials for photonic integrated circuit
Quantum networks applications
Quantum cryptography beyond QKD
Security of quantum cryptography protocols

Quantum computing is at an inflection point in terms of funding, research and experimentation, Kompella said. “Cisco has played amazing role in developing and building digital infrastructure and quantum is one of those technologies that has a foundational element to it. Our research is looking for the next big innovation with the aim to create new product offerings for Cisco,” Kompella said.

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