In Matera, quantum technologies write the future of security

In Matera, quantum technologies write the future of security

In Matera

As we have had the opportunity to tell in recent days here on Wired, the first edition of Matera Digital Week, from Wednesday 22 until Sunday 26 June, is a full immersion of 5 days all dedicated to technological experimentation, scientific research and social transformation. and industrial. A journey to the Lucanian capital through the most interesting emerging technologies, not only to get to know them more closely but above all to discuss the application opportunities that are opening up in favor of citizens, businesses and the territory. After the first two days centered on the world of audiovisuals and smart mobility, the weekend will feature 6 workshops on as many hot topics for the strategic development process in Matera and beyond. There will be something for all tastes: from virtual reality to 3D video capture experimentation, passing through 5G applications, agriculture 4.0 the digital twin, and robotics.

But let's get into the specifics of what will happen on the morning of Sunday 26 June, from 8 to about 12 at the Casa delle Tecnologie Emergenti (CTE) in Matera. An event within the event in which we will talk about information security technologies, from the much talked about blockchain to the lesser known and even younger Quantum Key Distribution (QKD, or quantum key distribution to put it in Italian). A laboratory in which new solutions for cross-cutting problems will be presented and discussed that involve - directly or indirectly - all fields of research, from physics to information technology, passing through environmental protection, engineering and medicine.

Alberto Porzio, head of the laboratory dedicated to these issues at the House of Emerging Technologies and researcher at Cnr-Spin in the Naples office, provided us in advance with some more information on the topics of the day: " create a stimulating environment in Matera, which is also a point of reference for young people ", he explained," where it is possible to implement innovative technologies concerning the blockchain and the identification and authentication protocols based on quantum key distribution ".

Quantum technologies for safer authentication systems As usual according to the format of the previous days of Matera Digital Week, the Sunday laboratory will also be structured in several parts. The first, with the presentation of the permanent laboratory under construction, will be curated by Alessandro Zavatta, researcher at Cnr-Ino (National Institute of Optics) in Florence and active part of the CTE of Matera. The second part will then see a series of keynote speeches by blockchain and QKD experts. Space will therefore be left for a discussion table moderated by and dedicated to Security and Identity, with the aim of creating a meeting ground between experts of the two technologies to develop a common language and path together with the spokespersons of Cnr, Cefriel , Poste Italiane and the Group of blockchain experts of the Ministry of Economic Development.

The key theme will be precisely the interaction and integration between traditional and quantum security techniques, so far developed on independent tracks, where the network and the Internet of Things play an essential role in producing systems at maximum efficiency. To be more precise, as Porzio points out, "the goal is to assume a hinge role and introduce innovative protocols based on the blockchain to allow continuous and effective exchanges of information between the various authentication systems. This is why we are always looking for new and original ideas to be implemented in the development process, of the city of Matera and beyond, especially through young professionals with the desire to trace new technological paths ".

Another topic of great interest will be the development of a platform that brings together blockchain and quantum QKD technology and that can be implemented in an urban test network. Precisely in this sense, the House of Emerging Technologies of Matera proposes itself as an Academy model for training in an environment designed to do open innovation, that is, based on continuous learning and the development of knowledge. "In this way the two emerging technologies, blockchain and QKD, will integrate into a development path towards the creation of a safe underground network", sums up Porzio.

Italy has an advantage, but patience is needed (and unconsciousness) The transformation based on the integration between blockchain and quantum technologies is literally disrutpive, as it will have repercussions in the vast majority of sectors. From this point of view, Italy seems to start off in a condition of relative privilege, as it has made a decisive contribution to the progress of research and is the only European nation with an infrastructure based on optical fiber. "In our country there are numerous internationally recognized research groups operating in these areas", added Porzio. "As regards the industrial world, private investments in research have been a bit late, but in the last period various industrial groups are focusing on this field, showing interest in a rapidly growing sector at an international level ”.

The House of Emerging Technologies of Matera is, in this sense, an important test bed for evaluating the current state of the art and verifying the possibility of implementing a wide range of applications and software in the world of industry. "The climate of euphoria that usually arises around technological innovations is always justified", explains Porzio. "Although there are all the conditions for the development of new cutting-edge solutions, it is necessary to be aware that between the appearance of new solutions and their eventual definitive affirmation will pass a reasonably long period of time ", he continues. “For the rest, it takes a bit of unconsciousness to imagine how to bring together emerging technologies and specific application needs. This is what we intend to carry out with Matera Digital Week ".

In parallel with the technological development and implementation of these solutions in the industrial world, a change is needed from a cultural and social point of view: for this reason the laboratory will be set up as an open system, in which the Academy-style training alongside operational activities to address unresolved problems of public interest, such as the protection of privacy.

Intrinsic security abandons the principle of complexity As anticipated, within the Matera CTE project it is The development of a quantum platform for a QKD-based blockchain within an urban network has been proposed. In essence, it is a system capable of promoting security through automatic authentication protocols. "An advantage deriving from this innovative approach concerns the security of communications", clarifies Porzio. "The encryption schemes in use today are based on complexity, so it is very difficult but not impossible to discover the key to access confidential information, hence the current ones. means of calculation are not able to guarantee absolute security of communications. Quantum cryptography, on the other hand, is in principle unassailable, so the resulting security protocols are completely safe, at least from a theoretical point of view ", explains Porzio.

In short, the decisive element is that an attempt is made to overcome the concept of security based on complexity, proposing a model that guarantees intrinsic security thanks to the very nature of the physical implementation platform. "The event within the Matera Digital Week is the perfect opportunity to take an overall look at the scientific and technological challenge that we intend to face in the coming years", concludes Porzio. study in the field of blockchain or cryptographic systems - even and above all non-quantum ones - will be able to collect many good ideas for the future from the event ".

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