Secure transmission was launched between PSNC servers located 7 km away from each other in Wieniawskiego Street and Jana Pawła II Street in Poznan. It was possible thanks to the existing fiber-optic infrastructure, the so-called dedicated dark fibers, that currently do not carry any network traffic. A team from the Network Technology Division has worked on the project for over two years.
– Poznan has a rich tradition of cryptography and the Enigma Cipher Center. We are working on the next step in the field of information security and encryption – says Piotr Rydlichowski, quantum communication specialist.
Innovative solution and European experience
For the connection was used the infrastructure of the PIONIER (a consortium of academic computer networks) and PozMAN (network connecting universities, research units, schools, administration units and other institutions located in Poznań), including optical fiber and server rooms.
Work on connecting computers in Poznań was carried out as part of the National Laboratory for Photonics and Quantum Technologies (NLPQT), coordinated by the University of Warsaw. It is a practical use of quantum communication technology to set up encrypted connections secured by the laws of quantum mechanics.
The key elements of the project were: implementation, integration and further research of QKD (Quantum Key Distribution) technology and quantum communication technology in the telecommunications network.
Currently, an important task is to build the foundations of the pan-European QCI network (Quantum Communications Infrastructure). Tests provided in Poznań are a step towards its creation. PSNC carries out very similar activities in the European project OPENQKD (Open European Quantum Key Distribution).
Data transmission security
– The connection implements a completely different and new concept in data transmission, so called quantum communication. The essence is to modify the quantum states of single photons, which are the basis of optical data transmission – explains Piotr Rydlichowski.
Creator of the connection said that the most difficult thing was to adopt and understand a completely different concept of quantum communication.
In both locations in Poznań are encryption devices, in one of them a quantum key distribution device (QKD). The QKD device sends the symmetric encryption key to the encryptors at both sites, they use it to encrypt data transmitted between sites, and then send this data over the classic channel – a standard fiber connection.
– The quantum key is sent through a quantum channel. Thanks to the principles of quantum mechanics, it is impossible to intercept information sent through this channel without the knowledge of the parties using this channel to transmit information, which allows for a quick change of the key in order to make it difficult to intercept and decode data, and even interrupt the transmission in order to completely prevent data interception – says Mateusz Mocydlarz, analyst and designer of ICT and quantum systems at PSNC.
The security feature is the addition of an extra layer of quantum technology to conventional keys. This involves generating a common, random, secret key known only to them for two pages, which can then be used to encrypt and decrypt messages. An important and unique property of quantum key distribution is the ability of two communicating users to detect the presence of any third party trying to gain knowledge of the key.
– The security of data exchange encrypted with QKD devices is guaranteed. This system enables the detection of an unauthorized actor eavesdropping on our transmission thanks to the laws of quantum physics, which say that it is impossible to determine the physical parameters of a photon at the same time. When reading one value, we lose information about another, which makes it impossible to retransmit perfectly mapped and eavesdropped information – explains Mateusz Mocydlarz.
Quantum technologies will enable the provision of safe services to users. Innovative quantum solutions are currently being tested and introduced in the best research centers in Europe and in the world.
There will be a Poznan-Warsaw connection
The next step in the development of cryptographic key transmission in Poland will be the integration of the system and the connection of more services to it. For this it will be necessary to test various scenarios, services and involve many end users.
– In the next stage, we will also go beyond the city networks and build intercity lines based on the PIONIER network and services. The problems are primarily new technology that requires understanding and specific requirements for the operational network – describes Piotr Rydlichowski.
Prototypes of the connection between Poznań and Warsaw are currently being created.
Cryptography for the benefit of the average user
Quantum communication will undoubtedly be the future – also in the everyday life of the average user. Quantum Key Distribution technology is already in use in China. Sending keys to cryptographic systems is an example of the safest known method of communication.
It can be used for secure internet connections from smartphones and computers, e.g. in banking, government systems or online work and education.
Quantum cryptography is already used successfully as part of the OPENQKD project in Geneva, where it provides ultra-secure digital asset safekeeping for financial institutions such as central banks, global custodians, cryptocurrency exchanges and asset managers.
– Quantum communication is another milestone in the development of IT infrastructure, not only in science. Today we know for sure that secure data transmission between processing centers such as PSNC is a global challenge. Safe exchange of information on health, crisis situations or financial markets is the first application of this scale that we will implement – says Cezary Mazurek, director of the Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center.
Currently, quantum communication technologies are developing rapidly. It is estimated that
in the next 2-3 years, they will still be in the implementation and standardization phase. Large-scale implementations within the European Union are planned for the years 2024-2030.
– Full quantum internet is most likely a matter of the period after 2030. What will it bring? First of all, a safe data exchange, especially when more and more data is analyzed and sent online. In addition, these types of networks will be the basis for interconnecting future quantum computers – adds Piotr Rydlichowski.
The eDWIN application to assist farmers in their everyday field work is now fully available and free of charge. It may also be used by self-governments, research institutions and virtually anybody. The end of October brought the launch of two last services on the eDWIN platform: Product Traceability and Hazard Reporting.
The Skills4EOSC project (Skills for the European Open Science commons: creating a training ecosystem for Open and FAIR science) will set up a pan-European network of competence centres to speed up the training of European researchers and harmonise the training of new professional figures for scientific data management. This European project, coordinated by GARR and funded under the Horizon Europe framework programme, kicked off in Pisa on 21-22 September 2022.
European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking – EuroHPC JU seated in Luxemburg has selected six sites across the European Union to host and the first EuroHPC quantum computers in Czechia, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Poland. The objective of EuroQCS (European Quantum Computing and Simulation), total investment of over €100 million, is to deploy quantum computers in the hosting states and integrate them with the existing supercomputers.
"Simple language in public institutions" is a new course in the offer of postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. It was created for people working in the field of public communication, participating as senders or receivers in the circulation of official messages. The partners of the project are the City of Poznan and PSNC.
The EUHubs4Data (The European federation of Data Driven Innovation Hubs) project has launched its third - and final - Open Call, targeting SMEs, startups and online entrepreneurs. The call for applications will run until 9 November 2022.
Collaboration between Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center and the ENEA Group will focus on using innovative digital technologies in the electric power industry. The R&D center and the power industry company have signed a letter of intent to define the nature and direction of activities related to using digital technologies in the electric power industry. Joint projects of ENEA and PSNC will mainly concern research and development works as well as innovative products and services to be offered to ENEA’s customers.
On November 3, 2022, the final gala ceremony was held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology to summarize the 'AI4Youth Artificial Intelligence' competition, aimed at students of public secondary schools and vocational technical schools participating in the 'AI4Youth' pilot project. The programme is a unique educational journey, covering 4 stages and allowing young people to gain knowledge and practical skills to create their own project using Artificial Intelligence.
The conference of PRACE-LAB Services and Infrastructure Users took place on October 27-28, 2022. The aim of the event was to present the scientific achievements implemented using the PRACE-LAB infrastructure within the framework of national and international research grants.
PRACE-LAB Summit 2022 is the first edition of the meeting, bringing together both users and providers of advanced computing services within the PRACE-LAB project. On October 24 and 25, a project meeting was held at the headquarters of the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center, while the following two days were devoted to the Users' meeting.
For two days, on October 20 and 21, 2022, the Poznan Economic Congress was hosted at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan. This innovative event consists of multiple panels with experts to increase and exploit the potential of Wielkopolska Region for the development of Poland. The Congress also includes discussions, meetings and networking of business, economic, political, social and local government partners.
On October 10-13, 2022, a meeting of teams from the University of Warsaw (Digital Competence Center UW; Department of Geology UW) and the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center was held at the European Centre for Geological Education at the University of Warsaw in Checiny. the goal was to expand cooperation related to the use of photogrammetry, laser scanning and drone piloting for source data acquisition applications dedicated to archaeological and interdisciplinary projects.
On December 1-2, 2022, Quantum Internet Hackathon 2022 will be organised simultaneously in six European cities: Amsterdam, Dublin, Padua, Tashkent, Sarajevo and Poznan. The hackathon, aimed at quantum technology enthusiasts, is co-organised by the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center.
illuMINEation is a multi-level distributed IIoT platform dedicated to the European mining industry, based on the use of data analytics and new types of technology, in particular the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). A consortium including the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center will work on the platform.
PSNC booth at ISC 2022 Conference was devoted to the use of data and HPC infrastructure (High Performance Computing) to build IT services, the support for projects from the Polish Roadmap for Research Infrastructures, as well as key European projects from the ESFRI map (European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructure).
The Impact Conference is not only a space for industry talks and discussions which have a real impact on the future. It is a unique place where business, science, modern technologies and public administration meet. Representatives of the world's largest brands joined the two-day discussion. PSNC, which was a supporting partner of the event, was represented by Cezary Mazurek, PhD, Mikołaj Buchwald, PhD and Marcin Lawenda, PhD.
Warnings about weather breakdowns, pests and hazards in the field, quick contact with an agricultural advisor and advice on when and how much to apply plant protection products - these are just some of the advantages of the "Virtual Farm" e-service, which will be available within the eDWIN advisory platform.
For people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD), interaction with the environment is not so easy. In most cases, they are probably dependent on family and caregivers to carry out even basic functions due to severe physical and sensory impairments. And if their communication is not through conventional symbols and at the pre-verbal level, this makes life even more difficult. Such people will be supported by the INSENSION platform, co-created by PSNC.
Audioplays are re-entering the stage in a new form and becoming a window to the world for the blind and visually impaired. PSNC has commenced collaboration with the Special Education Center for Blind Children [Polish: Ośrodek Szkolno-Wychowawczy dla Dzieci Niewidomych] in Owińska, Poland, to present the pupils with two ambisonic (360°-sound) audioplays. Ambisonic sound imitates authentic sound distribution in space, which enables the listener to fully immerse and actively participate in the performance.