Computer scientists awarded $340K NSF grant to support research on quantum networks

Chen Qian, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering

Chen Qian, Associate Professor,
Computer Science and Engineering

Katia Obraczka, UCSC Professor of Computer Science and Engineering

Katia Obraczka, UCSC Professor,
Computer Science and Engineering

By: Melissa Weckerle

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a three-year, $340,889 grant to Baskin Engineering’s Chen Qian, associate professor of computer science and engineering, and Katia Obraczka, professor of computer science and engineering, to support their joint research on quantum networks.

Quantum networks supplement classical networks, such as the internet, and enable more secure transmission of data between networked devices. Additionally, quantum networks support the development and execution of important applications, including secure remote computation and time synchronization.

The project, “Model, Design, and Implement Entanglement Routing Protocols for Quantum Networks,” addresses a particular aspect of quantum networks, known as quantum entanglement routing, which focuses on finding an end-to-end path for quantum information to reference to ensure secure transmission of data.

If successful, the work will help establish the most advanced network security available for a wide range of applications, including national security, banking, and other entities that store personal information. Qian and Obraczka plan to make their findings publicly available to support further research into quantum networks. They also hope the project will draw more attention to this relatively new research area. And, as advocates for diversity and inclusion in STEM, they hope to encourage more students from underrepresented backgrounds to get involved in this field of research.

“Quantum networks are still in an early stage of development, and there are a lot of exciting research problems to be resolved,” said Qian, who is the project’s principal investigator. “We welcome the opportunity to collaborate. Any student or faculty member who is interested in getting involved should contact us.”

In addition to studying quantum networks, Qian’s research spans the fields of network security, Internet of Things (IoT), edge and cloud computing, and storage systems. He is one of 13 Baskin Engineering faculty associated with the Storage Systems Research Center (SSRC).

Obraczka conducts research on computer networking, distributed systems, internet information systems, and mobile computing. She runs the Internetworking Research Group (i-NRG) at UC Santa Cruz, which conducts research on network design and security for various applications.