Standards bodies to coordinate contributions to quantum information technology


Experts in quantum information technology and standardization are set to convene next week to discuss modes of cooperation capable of ensuring harmonized standards development.

The Joint Symposium on Standards for Quantum Technologies, 23 March 2021 online, 15:00-18:00 CET, is organized by ITU together with IEC and IEEE’s UK & Ireland Photonics Chapter. Participation is free of charge and open to all.

The symposium will share insight into three key dimensions of quantum technologies: quantum communication, quantum computation, and quantum measurement. Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion among representatives of standards bodies including ITU, ISO, IEC, NIST, ETSI, and CEN-CENELEC.

The discussion aims to establish panelists’ opinion on the appropriate shape of ‘standardization roadmap’ for quantum information technologies.

A variety of standards bodies are developing guidance on the expected evolution of quantum information technologies and associated terminology, testing and evaluation methodologies, interoperability requirements, and quantum-safe security measures.

ITU standardization work is addressing network and security aspects of quantum information technologies with an initial focus on Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), a means of enabling quantum-secure encryption and authentication. This work is led by ITU-T Study Group 13 (Future networks and cloud) and ITU-T Study Group 17 (Security).

ETSI is working on quantum-safe cryptography and QKD. ISO/IEC JTC 1 (Information technology) is working on QKD testing and evaluation, and both ISO/IEC JTC 1 and IEEE are working on quantum computing. The IRTF Quantum Internet Research Group is studying the realization of quantum internet, and exploratory studies on quantum technologies are also underway at CEN-CENELEC.

The symposium aims to pinpoint areas most in need of standards and discuss the appropriate timeline for standards development. It will explore lessons learnt from standards development in areas such as optics and photonics with a view to adapting successful coordination methods to quantum standardization.

ITU quantum standards and open ITU research group

New ITU standards for QKD networks provide foundational concepts (ITU Y.3800) and address functional requirements (ITU Y.3801) and architecture (ITU Y.3802), key management (ITU Y.3803), and control and management (ITU Y.3804). New ITU standards also provide a security framework for QKD networks (ITU X.1710), key combination methods (ITU X.1714), and the architecture of a quantum noise noise random number generator (ITU X.1702).

These ITU standards for QKD networks will enable the integration of QKD technology into large-scale ICT networks and provide for the security of these QKD networks.

The upcoming symposium on quantum standardization has been organized in support of an open-to-all ITU Focus Group on ‘Quantum Information Technology for Networks’ studying the evolution of quantum information technologies in view of their foreseen applications in ICT networks. The group is conducting exploratory ‘pre-standardization’ studies to identify emerging standardization demands and anticipate demands to arise in future.

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