Recently, the Dutch research community in close cooperation with relevant public actors and industry, has composed the National Agenda Quantum Technology. The Agenda allows The Netherlands to maintain its leading role in the EU on these topics. Within this Agenda, three national infrastructure projects are proposed. Two of them, for Quantum Internet and for Quantum Computing are outlined in this proposal.
The National Quantum ICT Testbed will have three main components:
1. Physical quantum computing and quantum internet infrastructures based on superposition and entanglement. In addition to the development of a quantum computing platform, the first quantum link between Delft and The Hague will be extended to cover the western conurbation and in due course more of the Netherlands. This will provide scope for fundamental research, technical development and partnerships with the hardware and software industries for development of various infrastructure, hardware and software components.
2. The development testbed, with online open access for researchers, developers and users, enabling the development of a lively and innovative ecosystem where researchers can engage with hardware, software and security industry. Researchers, developers, as well as software and security companies will have easy access to the quantum computer platform as well as the quantum network via a user interfaces, without the need to invest in (currently) expensive quantum hardware and fibre-optic infrastructure. The testbed will initially be based on the emulation of a quantum computer as well as a quantum network using simulation tools recently developed by QuTech, which allow a classical supercomputer to act like a quantum computer as well as a quantum network. In due course, when the technology for the actual quantum computer as well as the network has been developed to the point where it is ready for user testing, it will be connected to the testbed's user interface via the intermediate software stack.
3. Quantum safe communication: the technology to connect two users with a quantum link to exchange fundamentally safe keys is already now available. Researchers from the TUDelft will deploy a measurement device independent (MDI)-QKD system over an optical fibre between Delft and The Hague early 2020. MDI-QKD systems will eventually feature quantum-secure star networks, where multiple users can be interconnected via a central node, removing the need for 'trusted repeaters' between the various parts of the quantum network.
The National Quantum ICT Testbed consist of both hardware and software components:
• Quantum Computing platform, that is qubit-technology agnostic.
• Communication channel: a physical connection that supports the transmission of qubits. Examples are standard telecom fibres because they are presently used to communicate classical light. In principle, these can also be used to transport qubits in the form of photons.
• End Nodes: analogue of computers/phones attached to the existing internet. Used to run application software and make a quantum internet useful. For some applications these can be relatively simple quantum devices capable of preparing and measuring only one qubit at a time. A quantum internet that connects end nodes (quantum computers) capable of storing and manipulating a few qubits already allows the implementation of complex quantum protocols.
• Infrastructure components: switches, wavelength conversion, and other elements to allow transmission of qubits over existing telecom fibre, and maximize use of infrastructure.
• Repeaters: these allow entanglement generation – and consequently qubit transmission – over long distances.
• Control software: analogue to the classical computing and network, a stack to control all layers is needed.
• Application software: software to use the quantum hardware in order to run application protocols