Foundations of Interactive Protocols for Quantum Computation and Communications

Background: In recent years, steady scientific advances, in both experimentation and theory, have been made in the quest for quantum information processing. For instance, coherence time of qubits has improved drastically in multiple systems over the past few years, long-lived quantum memory has been demonstrated, and we are closer to realizing fault-tolerance with recent quantum error-correction demonstrations. The design of quantum protocols for blind and verifiable delegated computation has made remarkable achievements within the last six years with new results backed up by small-scale experimental demonstrations of new capabilities that cannot be achieved otherwise by purely classical computation. Enhanced by quantum phenomena, delegated computation has opened up opportunities for new computing paradigms in which classical and quantum devices can couple to yield decisive advantages over solely classical devices. This research direction is intimately connected to quantum complexity theory and is providing insights into the verification of quantum behaviors of quantum devices. It is expected that other classical protocols for computation carried out between interactive devices have similar formulations in quantum systems. Moreover, the notion of “device independence”, which essentially measures how much a Bell-type inequality is violated, has elucidated the “black-box” properties of quantum protocols. A broad implication of all these scientific findings is the prospect of certifying the presence of quantum phenomena in a system, using conventional computing, even when its individual components can be untrusted, unreliable, or the internal construction of such components is unknown. 

Objectives: Building on the aforementioned scientific advances, this MURI topic aims to establish a foundation for the security of future communications and computing infrastructures in which quantum and classical devices may interact. Interactive protocols and their complexity classes can be explored through experimentation and theory. In a parallel track, the topic seeks small-scale demonstrations of these novel protocols to validate theoretical concepts. 

Research Concentration Areas: Suggested research areas include but are not limited to: (1) Design, analysis of new interactive protocols taking into account the following: device-independent quantum information; noise robustness; fault tolerance; minimal resources required on untrusted devices in a system that may contain a mixture of classical and quantum capabilities; (2) Construction of protocols that are resistant to different attacks for quantum computation, communications, and information processing; (3) New concepts of nonlocality and device independence for quantum devices and quantum systems; (4) Possible links between quantum complexity theory and newly designed interactive protocols for quantum computation and communications; (5) Connections between composable security and modular design using different physical platforms. 

Anticipated Resources: It is anticipated that awards under this topic will be no more than an average of $1.5M per year for 5 years, supporting no more than 6 funded faculty researchers. Exceptions warranted by specific proposal approaches should be discussed with the topic chiefs during the white-paper phase of the solicitation. 

Research Topic Chiefs: 

Dr. Tristan Nguyen, AFOSR/RTA, (703) 696-7796, tristan.nguyen@us.af.mil

Dr. Tatjana Curcic, AFOSR/RTB, (703) 696-6204, tatjana.curcic.1@us.af.mil