Toward a quantum-safe communication infrastructure

Toward a quantum-safe communication infrastructure

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University of Malta (Valletta Campus)



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NATO Advanced Research Workshop on quantum and post-quantum cryptography.

About this event

Why quantum & post-quantum?

The continuous progress in our ability to harness quantum technologies led to the establishment of two larger areas of cryptographic research, each with its own meetings and publication culture, and largely disconnected from one another. Both areas are named in the special call for proposals on security-related advanced technologies:

  • Research in the development and deployment of quantum cryptography focuses on the design of cryptographic solutions where participants leverage quantum resources in such a way that protocol security can to a large extent be based on properties of quantum mechanics. For the case of two-party quantum key distribution (QKD), impressive experimental progress has been achieved here, in part funded through the NATO SPS Programme.
  • Research in the development and demonstration of post-quantum cryptography (PQC) focuses on the design of classical cryptographic solutions that remain secure if an adversary obtains access to a large-scale quantum computer. Differing from quantum cryptography, parties executing the protocol are not assumed to have access to quantum resources. This line of research has been funded through the NATO SPS Programme, too.

Regrettably, there is only very limited communication between these two research communities, even though both lines of research offer essential and complementary tools for building a secure communication infrastructure for the coming quantum age. QKD can offer security guarantees surpassing classical cryptography, but QKD has specific requirements on the available physical network infrastructure. PQC can tackle a broad variety of protocol tasks and is flexible with the available communication infrastructure, but security guarantees are based on complexity assumptions rather than fundamental physical laws. The lack of cross-community communication transcends academia and includes, for instance, standardisation efforts.

To maximise impact on the long-term security of our cyber infrastructure, a closer coordination and collaboration of these cryptographic research efforts, keeping in mind the constraints and imperfections of real-world systems, is essential.


Participants are expected to arrive on Sunday, Nov. 14 2021, and depart on Thursday, Nov. 18 2021.

Day 1 (Monday, Nov. 15 2021)

Morning session

  • 08:30 – 09:15: Registration
  • 09:15 – 09:30: Opening remarks
  • 09:30 – 10:00: Tommaso Calarco: The quantum technologies landscape in Europe and beyond
  • 10:00 – 10:30: Break
  • 10:30 – 11:15: Davide Bacco: QKD—State of the art and challenges
  • 11:15 – 12:00: Philippe Gaborit: PQC—State of the art and challenges
  • 12:00 – 14:00: Lunch

Afternoon session

  • 14:00 – 14:50: Bruno Huttner: QKD—Standardisation efforts and challenges
  • 14:50 – 15:20: Break
  • 15:20 – 16:10: Dustin Moody: PQC—Standardisation efforts and challenges
  • 16:10 – 16:40: Ann Cox: DHS policy for PQC
  • 16:40 – 17:00: Discussion

Day 2 (Tuesday, Nov. 16 2021)

Morning session

  • 09:00 – 09:50: Manfred Lochter: Quantum-safe communication—An end-user perspective
  • 09:50 – 10:20: Break
  • 10:20 – 11:10: Claudio Palestini: NATO SPS funding mechanisms and needs
  • 11:10 – 11:30: Discussion
  • 11:30 – 12:30: Working groups I (QKD) and II (PQC)
  • 12:30 – 14:30: Lunch

Afternoon session

  • 14:30 – 15:30: Working groups I (QKD) and II (PQC)
  • 15:30 – 16:00: Break
  • 16:00 – 16:30: Presentation of results: Working group I (QKD)
  • 16:30 – 17:00: Presentation of results: Working group II (PQC)


  • 19:00 –: Workshop dinner

Day 3 (Wednesday, Nov. 17 2021)

Morning session

  • 09:00 – 10:00: Guided group discussion—Synergies between PQC and QKD needs
  • 10:00 – 10:30: Break
  • 10:30 – 11:30: Guided group discussion—Identification of flagship goals
  • 11:30 – 12:30: Working groups to elaborate structure of flagship goals
  • 12:30 – 14:30: Lunch

Afternoon session

  • 14:30 – 15:30: Working groups to elaborate structure of flagship goals
  • 15:30 – 15:45: Break
  • 15:45 – 16:45: Guided group discussion—Writing an actionable road-map
  • 16:45 – 17:00: Closing remarks

About the event

The goal of this workshop is to identify a strategy that, through coordinated NATO SPS multi-year projects, leads to an effective development of technologies and techniques for a comprehensive quantum-safe cyber infrastructure. Through overarching (flagship) goals, both QKD and PQC technologies are to be leveraged to meet genuine long-term security needs from various end users. The intent is to allocate funding such that “full-stack coverage” is ensured, ranging from architecture and protocol design to implementation and experimental validation. Instead of asking for independent project proposals, a flagship structure would be emphasised to ensure that all pertinent pieces come together in a supported effort.

How to attend

Attendance is by invitation only. If you wish to be considered for an invite please use the registration button above and the organisers will be in touch. All delegates will be accommodated at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, an exclusive 5-star hotel just outside the walls of the city of Valletta in Malta.


This workshop is organised by Rainer Steinwandt (University of Alabama in Huntsville, US), André Xuereb (University of Malta, MT), Marina Mondin (California State University, US), Davide Calonico (Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica, IT), and María Isabel González Vasco (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, ES). We acknowledge support by the NATO Science for Peace and Security programme.


This workshop is funded by the NATO Science for Peace and Security programme under Grant Agreement G5756. Support is also gratefully acknowledged from Conventions Malta.

Main image credit: Joseph Caruana.

Toward a quantum-safe communication infrastructure image
Toward a quantum-safe communication infrastructure image