New open-source software is greater than the sum of its parts

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Modular software brings together a variety of expertise to create a new method to realistically model and analyze quantum cryptography

Accurate models of real-world scenarios are important for bringing theoretical and experimental research together in meaningful ways. Creating these realistic computer models, however, is a very large undertaking. Significant amounts of data, code, and expertise across a wide range of intricate areas are needed to create useful and comprehensive software. 

Dr. Norbert Lütkenhaus, executive director of the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) and a professor in the University of Waterloo’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, alongside his research group, have spent the last several years developing accurate software models for research in quantum key distribution (QKD). QKD is a process for cryptography that harnesses fundamental principles of quantum mechanics to exchange secret keys, which can then be used to ensure secure communication. 

Lütkenhaus and his research group recently released a modular, open-source software package on GitHub, which allows users to model realistic QKD protocols and calculate the generation rate for secure quantum keys using user-submitted variables for real-world scenarios. 

“Modelling and analyzing QKD setups require many different skills to come together. Our software framework allows experts in various areas like optimization theory, optical modelling and security analysis to bring their knowledge together,” Lütkenhaus says. “The open-source approach is designed to foster an interdisciplinary community from which all researchers will benefit.”

Read more about this open-source QKD software package in the full story on Waterloo News.

Norbert Lütkenhaus, John Burniston, and two other group members standing in front of bright windows