Quantum News Briefs: December 29, 2023: UNM launches innovative quantum photonics graduate program with $3 million NSF grant; SEALSQ’s Post-Quantum Semiconductor Technology Fortifies Cryptocurrency Security; Quantum Cryptography Market projected to reach USD 404.7 Million by 2030; and MORE!
Quantum News Briefs: December 29th, 2023:
UNM launches innovative quantum photonics graduate program with $3 million NSF grant
The University of New Mexico (UNM) recently launched the Quantum Photonics and Quantum Technology (QPAQT) graduate program, an interdisciplinary initiative supported by a $3 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. Named NRT-QL: Quantum Photonics Interdisciplinary Training to Advance Quantum Technologies, QPAQT aims to train students in quantum science and technology by blending physics, chemistry, and engineering. Victor Acosta, the program’s director, emphasizes the importance of collaboration across these disciplines in quantum photonics and technology. The program, set to welcome its first cohort in 2024, offers comprehensive academic preparation, fostering expertise in general quantum technology and specific research areas. In addition to NSF’s funding, the Center for High Technology Materials provides significant resources. The program is open to applicants from UNM’s Ph.D. programs in relevant fields, and selected students can expect benefits, including fellowships, travel budgets, and resources for training and research. Acosta highlights UNM’s unique strengths in optical sciences and engineering and its long history in quantum research, positioning QPAQT as a significant development in national quantum science and technology education.
SEALSQ’s Post-Quantum Semiconductor Technology Fortifies Cryptocurrency Security
SEALSQ Corp, a company specializing in semiconductor, PKI, and post-quantum technology products, announced the development of its post-quantum semiconductor technology designed to protect cryptocurrency transactions from quantum computing threats. This technology, incorporating advanced cryptographic algorithms, aims to address the vulnerabilities of current blockchain systems and enhance digital currency security in the quantum era. Carlos Moreira, CEO of SEALSQ, emphasized the importance of staying ahead of technological advancements in cybersecurity. SEALSQ’s innovation is crucial for securing the blockchain infrastructure and ensuring the reliability of digital currencies. This step represents a significant advancement in creating a secure digital financial ecosystem, preparing for the challenges posed by quantum computing. SEALSQ continues to develop integrated solutions in various applications while specializing in post-quantum hardware and software products.
Quantum Cryptography Market projected to reach USD 404.7 Million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 20.5% during the forecast period of 2023-2030 – pronounced by MarketDigits in its recent study
The Quantum Cryptography Market, focusing on secure communication through quantum mechanics principles, is expected to grow from USD 109.7 million in 2023 to USD 404.7 million by 2030, at a CAGR of 20.5%. The increasing need for secure communication across various industries like finance, healthcare, and government amidst the rising threat of cyberattacks in the digital era drives this growth. Quantum Cryptography, particularly Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), offers enhanced security by detecting unauthorized access attempts. North America leads the market, with significant contributions from key players and heightened cybersecurity awareness. The Network Security segment is anticipated to dominate the market, reflecting the urgent need for secure network infrastructures against advanced cyber threats. This market’s expansion underscores the importance of quantum-resistant cryptographic solutions in a rapidly digitizing world where traditional cryptographic methods are increasingly vulnerable.
In Other News: Silicon Canals article: “Meet the Dutch quantum startups that raised funding in 2023”
A recent Silicon Canals article highlights that in 2023, the Netherlands has emerged as a significant player in the quantum technology arena, evidenced by substantial funding raised by several Dutch quantum startups. Orange Quantum Systems, specializing in quantum chip test equipment, raised €1.5M and launched the innovative Orange Rack in Las Vegas. Delft Circuits, focused on quantum industry cabling solutions, secured €6.3M and is known for its Cri/oFlex technology, enhancing data transfer in quantum computing and communication. QuantaMap, a Leiden-based company, raised €1.4M for developing advanced metrology tools and a unique microscope for quantum chip inspection. QuantWare, another Delft-based startup, also raised €1.4M, aiming to become the ‘Intel of quantum computing’ with its scalable, superconducting quantum processors. These achievements underline the Netherlands’ growing influence in quantum technology, driven by innovative solutions in computing, communication, and sensing, positioning the country at the forefront of the quantum revolution.
In Other News: Federal News Network article: “On the human capital front, quantum computing is easier said than done”
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified that while the Department of Defense (DoD) is actively seeking expertise in quantum computing, not all agencies are following best practices for recruitment and hiring. In a Federal News Network article, Candice Wright, GAO’s Director of Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics, discussed the challenges in meeting the science and technology workforce needs, especially in the emerging field of quantum science. This field requires highly specialized skills in disciplines like physics, engineering, computer science, and math. The GAO found that while the DoD labs generally follow strategic workforce planning practices, there is a need for better mechanisms to monitor and evaluate progress. Despite identifying about 255 staff working on quantum projects, the DoD faces challenges in defining the quantum workforce due to its multidisciplinary nature and evolving requirements. The GAO’s recommendations focus on implementing better monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure effective workforce planning and maintenance of U.S. global leadership in quantum technologies. Additionally, the report highlights the importance of STEM education programs in growing the pipeline for the quantum workforce.
In Other News: Breaking Defense article: “Saving Schrödinger’s Cat: Getting serious about post-quantum encryption in 2024”
The digital communication sector is preparing for a major shift as government agencies and private companies will need to transition from the RSA algorithm, a standard since 1977, to Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) starting in 2024, a Breaking Defense article highlights. This change is necessitated by the advancement of quantum computers, which could potentially break current encryption methods like RSA. This transition is particularly crucial for sensitive and long-term relevant data, such as military specs, which are at risk of being harvested by foreign intelligence agencies for future decryption. Bill Newhouse of the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) acknowledges the challenges of protecting data that has already been harvested. The urgency of this shift is compounded by the multifaceted use of RSA in various digital devices and systems. NIST is in the process of finalizing three PQC algorithms, with a public comment period recently concluded. The transition to PQC is expected to be the most significant since the adoption of RSA, requiring extensive updates in countless lines of software code. The White House has set a deadline of 2035 for federal agencies to complete the migration to PQC, although recent developments in quantum computing research suggest that the transition might need to happen sooner.
Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is the Managing Editor at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, quantum computing, and AI. Her work has been featured in Scientific American, Discover Magazine, New Scientist, Ars Technica, and more.