Politécnica de Madrid

The "brain" of quantum cybersecurity in Europe is Spanish

Europe is at the forefront of quantum cybersecurity advancements, and it recently showcased its leadership through a remarkable live demonstration. The event highlighted the significant contributions of Spanish experts in this field, solidifying Spain's position as the "brain" of quantum cybersecurity in Europe.

Europe is at the forefront of quantum cybersecurity advancements, and it recently showcased its leadership through a remarkable live demonstration. The event highlighted the significant contributions of Spanish experts in this field, solidifying Spain's position as the "brain" of quantum cybersecurity in Europe.
Madrid, [Date] - The Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), in collaboration with prominent European companies and organizations, is participating in an exciting ultra-secure video conference demonstration during the "Digital Assembly" jointly organized by the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission.

This event, which took place on June 15th in Stockholm, served to showcase Europe's leadership in creating homegrown technology "Made in Europe" in the areas of artificial intelligence, blockchain, and quantum communications. This emerging leadership is manifested through strong public-private and cross-border collaboration within Europe.

The Brain

The demonstration, which can be viewed at [https://swedish-presidency.consilium.europa.eu/en/events/digital-assembly-15-166/], consisted of a video conference between the main stage of the event and the exhibition area. The video conference was protected by an emerging technology that encrypts the shared information to make it immune to any attack.

This technology is based on quantum communication, which harnesses the fundamental properties of quantum mechanics to achieve unprecedented levels of security. Using what is known as "quantum key distribution," we can ensure that data transmitted through a network is invulnerable to any malicious interception or decryption attempt, even if the attacker is a quantum computer. With the increase in sophisticated cyber threats, the development of quantum communication technologies offers a secure path for protecting sensitive information and enabling reliable communication channels.

The novelty of this live video conference is that it is the first technical demonstration, on a large scale, of what will be called the European Quantum Communications Infrastructure (EuroQCI): an ambitious collaboration signed by the 27 Member States, the European Commission, and the European Space Agency. Its goal? To establish an ultra-secure communication channel for public administrations, safeguard critical infrastructure, and strengthen encryption systems throughout the European Union.
The heart of Europe beats to the rhythm of quantum cybersecurity

To establish the connection, information traveled securely between the laboratories and facilities of the different participating organizations, which processed it remotely from various locations in Spain, Italy, Germany, and Sweden, among others. This created a systole and diastole of information across European geography to securely connect both ends of the video conference.

To make this possible, two pairs of quantum devices supplied by QTI, an Italian company, and LuxQuanta, from Spain, were used to form the quantum layer of the infrastructure. These devices established secure quantum keys between two locations, ensuring maximum protection in communication. The demonstration received support from Ericsson, a Swedish company, KTH in Stockholm, and the European consortium PETRUS, led by Deutsche Telekom, composed of Airbus, the Austrian Institute of Technology, and Thales SIX, which played a key role in the design of the European quantum network.

An ultra-secure channel with a Spanish brain

The Polytechnic University of Madrid played a central role in this experiment. In addition to its extensive expertise, it contributed both the network design of the experiment itself and a novel software based on the disruptive software-defined networking (SDN) paradigm, which can manage all network elements, including quantum communication devices, encryptors, applications, etc., in a fully transparent manner. The technology also utilizes standards developed in Europe that have been promoted by UPM.

This software enables the creation of complex quantum networks and plays a fundamental role in the operation, integration of devices, and resource management of the Madrid Quantum Communication Infrastructure (MadQCI), the fourth generation of quantum networks in the region, the largest in size and most operationally complex in the European Union. The SDN-based technology developed by UPM makes it possible for new network technologies such as those based on quantum mechanics to operate in cooperation with the conventional networks we commonly use, facilitating the integration of different devices from various industrial providers participating in the network. This function is key for a technology like quantum communication, whose development is still in its early stages and whose milestones, patents, and commercial products are being developed in different parts of the world, each with its own language and specificities.

The deployment of SDN over production network infrastructures allows for high heterogeneity and versatility in terms of integrated devices, protocols used, running use cases, etc., making the Madrid quantum network, coordinated by UPM, a reference in the field of quantum communications. This software has played a crucial role in the demonstration of June 15, as it serves as a cohesive element to ensure interoperability among the various European providers that are part of the pan-European "network" simulated during the video conference.

"What we are setting up in this experiment is a 'Mini EuroQCI' made with European components and includes all the necessary elements for a true Quantum Network," highlighted Dr. Vicente Martín Ayuso, a global milestone made possible by European investment through the multi-million European programme to develop quantum technologies, the Quantum Flagship. "Furthermore, we demonstrate how secure quantum keys can be used in a typical application such as a secure video conference."

The collaboration of European institutions and companies in this pioneering project strengthens Spain’s and Europe's strategic position in the race for quantum cybersecurity. The participation of UPM, along with Italian, Spanish, and Swedish companies, acknowledges its role as a driving force in the development of quantum communication infrastructure and demonstrates Spain's leadership in this innovative field. Spain fully embraces national investment in quantum technologies through the National Program of Complementary Actions in Quantum Communication, as well as the European impetus through the Quantum Flagship and the EuroQCI program, all of which aim to turn Europe into an innovation hub in quantum security.

With this live experiment, European commitment to sovereign and pan-European technology is evident, and Europe reaffirms its ability to develop its own quantum cybersecurity technology, providing European citizens with the "key" to transform how we communicate and protect our sensitive information.