The Quantum Information Science Center (QISC) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has won a $2.13 million tender from the Israeli Government to lead the construction of a national demonstrator for quantum communications technologies.
The goal of this project is to develop homegrown Israeli expertise and technology for a national quantum communications system that will prevent eavesdropping, protect data privacy and secure national infrastructure.
Current methods of encrypting data are increasingly vulnerable to attack as the increased power of quantum computing comes online. Quantum communication systems use the laws of physics to secure data and are therefore resistant to attack.
The QISC at Hebrew U. investigates both fundamental and applied science of quantum information. Its mission is to understand how quantum systems may be controlled and isolated to reach goals of communication, sensing, simulation and computation beyond the state-of-the-art of any classical system.
Prof. Nadav Katz, director of the Quantum Information Science Center and a researcher at the Hebrew University’s Racah Institute of Physics, said in a statement: “This project to build a national quantum communications system will position Israel in the leading edge of research toward ultimately secured communication systems. With support from the Government of Israel and in cooperation with our research partners, this is the first Israeli national project in the emerging field of quantum information technologies.”
Quantum information research is one of the hottest areas in 21st century science, promising dramatic improvements in computation speed and secure communication. Based on the inherent wave-like nature of matter and light, it will lead to massive leaps forward in our ability to fabricate, control, measure and understand advanced structures.
To help drive this field forward, in 2013 the Hebrew University founded the Quantum Information Science Center (QISC) and recruited an interdisciplinary team of more than 20 researchers from physics, computer science, mathematics, chemistry, philosophy and engineering. Representing the vanguard of Israel’s quantum researchers, this group is advancing our understanding of quantum information science and the development of quantum technologies.
As part of this project, researchers will build a communication system at the Hebrew University’s labs based on single photons representing quantum bits. Quantum bits make it possible to perform calculations in new ways that are not possible in current communications systems or even supercomputers.
Commercial quantum communication systems are not subject to peer review by Israeli experts and are therefore not suitable to the needs at hand. An Israeli implementation, subject to peer review and hack testing by Israeli scientists, is an essential national resource.
The $2.13 million contract was awarded by the Defense Ministry, which is tasked with developing a secure communications infrastructure to improve privacy and secure national infrastructure. Also participating in the project are Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and Opsys technologies, and an additional researcher from Tel Aviv University.