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C&O faculty member honoured with Italian Knighthood

Saturday, July 7, 2018

On June 28, 2018, the Government of Italy announced the appointment of Michele Mosca as a Knight of the Order of Merit for his significant contributions in quantum computing and cybersecurity, including research, training, outreach and commercialization efforts.

Michele Mosca with Giuseppe PastorelliGiuseppe Pastorelli, Consul General of Italy in Toronto, who conferred the Knighthood, explained, “President Mattarella was deeply impressed by his thought leadership in cybersecurity and quantum computing and the strong connection to his Italian heritage which was apparent from their discussion. I was delighted to learn of his decision to appoint Professor Mosca to the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.”

Mosca is a professor in the Department of Combinatorics & Optimization (C&O) in the Faculty of Mathematics, a founding member of the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute (CPI), and a founder of Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo. He is also a founding member and Associate Faculty at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

“We’re very proud of Michele’s achievements in his research and his tireless efforts to work with others across the university and beyond, to create a positive impact for society,” said Professor Jochen Koenemann, chair of the C&O department.

Mosca was hired by C&O in 1999, in collaboration with St. Jerome’s University and the newly established Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research (CACR), to initiate a quantum computing group within CACR. This effort flourished and led to the foundation in 2002 of the Institute for Quantum Computing where Michele continued to play a leadership role as Deputy Director from 2002-2016.

“I am honoured and humbled to be recognized with this distinction,” said Mosca. “I am grateful for the support of many colleagues and friends in together developing this tremendous opportunity to use quantum computers to solve important problems for humanity, and at the same time better protect the world from powerful cyber attacks of the future”.

He is an expert in quantum computing, quantum-safe-cryptography and cybersecurity, and quantum software. Mosca’s contributions to the theory and practice of quantum information processing also include the first experimental implementation of a quantum algorithm, techniques for studying the limitations of quantum computers, quantum self-testing, private quantum channels, and methods for compiling quantum circuits.

Globally recognized for his leadership in helping academia, industry and governments prepare cyber systems for an era with quantum computers, Mosca is a founder of the ETSI-IQC workshop series  in quantum-safe cryptography. These workshops bring together a broad range of stakeholders working toward globally standardized quantum-safe cryptography. He is also co-founder of evolutionQ Inc., a company that provides services and products that enable organizations to evolve their quantum-vulnerable systems and practices to quantum-safe ones, and softwareQ Inc., a company that provides quantum software products and services to enable organizations to benefit from quantum computing. 

Mosca is dedicated to training the cryptographic leaders of tomorrow. As a recipient of an NSERC-funded Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grant in 2012, he and his team launched CryptoWorks21, a training program for building the quantum-safe cryptography workforce.

Earlier this year, RBC invested in cybersecurity research at the University of Waterloo including support for CryptoWorks21 to continue preparing researchers with the professional knowledge and technical skills needed to create quantum-safe tools.

You can learn more about Michele’s work from his public lecture: Cybersecurity in a quantum world: will we be ready?

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