This week, the management of the Latvian State Radio and Television Centre (LVRTC) and The Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Latvia (IMCS UL) signed a memorandum on cooperation in exploring and testing the possibilities for quantum data transmission.
“Quantum technologies open up new opportunities for secure digital communication and the reduction of cybercrime, therefore the interest of governments and industries in their exploitation potential is increasing significantly. Over the 100 years of operation, LVRTC has been regularly involved in innovation and has worked closely with creative and inquisitive minds, both by providing the first radio broadcasting in Latvia, introducing digital TV broadcasting and, in later years, developing innovative ICT solutions in the areas of reliability, data transmission and cyber protection. “We have not only had the ambition of engineering but the desire to step forward with customer requirements and to create the necessary solutions for customers and the state before it becomes a widespread consumption,” said Edmunds Belskis, LVRTC Chairman of the Board.
IMCS UL began Quantum Technology Research in 2019, establishing a collaboration with Swiss-ASV-China-South Korean joint-venture “ID Quantique” and setting up an QKD research platform CLAVIS 3. Recently IMCS UL has launched a major research project on quantum cryptization.
In view of the data transmission, processing, computing and optical network infrastructure owned by the LVRTC, which is considered to be the backbone of the national data transmission, as well as the cyber defence services provided by the LVRTC to the public administration, the LVRTC is interested in identifying the potential of quantum data transmission and other functionalities and exploring the needs of the State in technological solutions in both defence and scientific, medical and educational fields a timely manner and to assess the potential of quantum computing capabilities in all sectors of the economy.
It is expected that, during cooperation, the use of the LVRTC broadband optical network route outside the latest and most powerful computing capacity of the Riga and LVRTC will build a quantum data transmission network pilotpolygon of 50 km.
It is expected that Quantum Key Sharing (QKD) technology will be tested in pilotpolygon for a month, which ensures that the transmitted information cannot be deciphered even by quantum computers.
“Quantum computers are no longer an unforeseeable distant future, and it is already clear that their entry into science, industry and, directly or indirectly, in every individual’s life will significantly change the way we work, how we look at safety, and what we consider safe at all. Quantum computers can reach capacity in a few years to break traditional asymmetric cryptography techniques. Symmetrical cryptography will remain reliable, but we will no longer be able to rely on the transfer of secret keys to the other side of the network. Latvia needs to be prepared for this challenge, both legally and technologically,” points out Edmunds Belskis.
Quantum key distribution technology transfers data coding keys to the other side via photons and thus not mathematically developed data coding algorithms, but quantum physics laws guarantee the impossibility of data wiretaps. Let us be the first in Latvia to test such technology on a real communications network in conjunction with LVRTC. We also intend to exchange experience and know-how in the application of a number of other technological solutions,” said Inara Opmane, director of IMCS UL.
In order to promote a targeted digital transformation, it is also planned to develop a quantum communications network in Latvia, which would act both as a secure data exchange mechanism between some organisations and help to implement and apply quantum technologies, providing access to technical expertise and creating an environment for testing a solution before deploying these technologies on a large scale.