What is Quantum Internet?

Quantum is coming. Based on research successes at TU Delft and elsewhere in the world, we confidently predict that quantum technology will increasingly lead to valuable applications in the next decades. Besides researching and developing quantum technology, TU Delft sees it as its responsibility to also investigate the consequences of such a new and ground-breaking technology. How will quantum technology impact industry and society at large? To some extent, this remains informed guesswork; as with all groundbreaking technology, its true impact will only become clear once it is out there.

There are some certainties, though. One of them is that quantum internet is a technology that is close to realisation; it is also a quantum technology that we work on at TU Delft. That is why in mid-2018 we formed a team, of scientists and engineers from all over the university, that set about exploring the consequences of having quantum internet. We studied national and international reports on quantum technologies, and spoke to people and organisations that are also involved in identifying societal issues that can emerge with the introduction of quantum internet. We organised workshops with science journalists, innovators and designers, industry, law enforcement and defence, and governmental organisations to discuss how quantum internet may impact society by changing communication and its security.

QuTech is the research center for quantum computing and quantum internet, a collaboration founded in 2014 by TU Delft and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). QuTech addresses scientific and engineering challenges, often together with industrial partners. QuTech is organized along roadmaps, and our work in the Roadmap Quantum Internet and Networked Computing, led by Stephanie Wehner, is currently creating the first tangible results. We build towards a first quantum internet in the Netherlands and we coordinate the European Quantum Internet Alliance. Therefore, this magazine focusses for good reason on the societal impact of quantum internet.

― Ronald Hanson, Scientific Director QuTech

TU Delft has taken scientific and technological leadership in developing quantum technologies. Research at QuTech and at the Faculties of Applied Sciences and of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science is bringing quantum internet and quantum computation closer to realisation. TU Delft has decided that it should also take up its societal responsibility and for this the Executive Board launched in 2018 an effort to explore what impact quantum technologies can have on society and industry. This is the result of this effort, focussing on the impact of quantum internet.

― Tim van der Hagen, Rector Magnificus/President Executive Board Delft University of Technology
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