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QIRG                                                             C. Wang
Internet-Draft                                                 A. Rahman
Intended status: Informational          InterDigital Communications, LLC
Expires: July 31, 2020                                  January 28, 2020

          Applications and Use Cases for the Quantum Internet


   The Quantum Internet has the potential to improve Internet protocol
   and application functionality by incorporating quantum information
   technology into the infrastructure of the overall Internet.  In this
   document, we provide an overview of some applications expected to be
   used on the Quantum Internet, and then categorize them using the
   standard telecommunications classification of control plane versus
   data plane functionality.  Other classification schemes are also
   possible and discussed briefly.  We then provide detailed use cases
   for selected applications which can help steer the development of the
   requisite Quantum Internet functionality.

Status of This Memo

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on July 31, 2020.

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   publication of this document.  Please review these documents

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   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Conventions used in this document . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Terms and Acronyms List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  Quantum Internet Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.1.  Overview  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.2.  Control vs Data Plane Classification  . . . . . . . . . .   5
       4.2.1.  Control Plane Applications  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
       4.2.2.  Data Plane Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.3.  Other Possible Classifications  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   5.  Selected Quantum Internet Use Cases . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     5.1.  Secure Communication Setup  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     5.2.  Distributed Quantum Computing . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     5.3.  Secure Quantum Computing with Privacy Preservation  . . .  10
   6.  Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   7.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   8.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   9.  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   10. Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16

1.  Introduction

   The classical Internet has been constantly growing since it first
   became commercially popular in the early 1990's.  It essentially
   consists of a large number of end-nodes (e.g., laptops, smart phones,
   network servers) connected by routers.  The end-nodes run
   applications that provide some value added service for the end-users
   such as processing and transmission of voice, video or data.  The
   physical connections between the various nodes in the Internet
   include Digital Subscriber Lines (DSLs), fiber optics, etc.  Bits are
   transmitted across the classical Internet in packets.

   Research and experimentation have picked up over the last few years
   for developing a Quantum Internet [Wehner].  It is anticipated that
   the Quantum Internet will provide intrinsic benefits such as better
   end-user and network security.  The Quantum Internet will have end-
   nodes, which may be connected by quantum repeaters/routers.  These
   quantum end-nodes will also run value-added applications which will
   be discussed later.  The physical connections between the various
   nodes in the Quantum Internet are expected to be primarily fiber

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   optics and free-space optics.  Unlike the classical Internet, qubits
   (and not classical bits or packets) are expected to be transmitted
   across the Quantum Internet due to the underlying physics

   The Quantum Internet is not anticipated to replace the classical
   Internet.  Instead the Quantum Internet will be integrated into the
   classical Internet to form a new hybrid Internet.  The process of
   integrating the Quantum Internet with the classical Internet is
   similar to, but with more profound implications, as the process of
   introducing any new communication and networking paradigm into the
   existing Internet.

2.  Conventions used in this document

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

3.  Terms and Acronyms List

   This document assumes that the reader is familiar with the quantum
   information technology related terms and concepts that are described
   in [I-D.irtf-qirg-principles].  In addition, the following terms and
   acronyms are defined here for clarity:

   o  Bit - Binary Digit (i.e., fundamental unit of information in a
      classical computer).

   o  Classical Internet - The existing, deployed Internet (circa 2020)
      where bits are transmitted in packets between nodes to convey
      information.  The classical Internet supports applications which
      may be enhanced by the Quantum Internet.  For example, the end-to-
      end security of a classical Internet application may be improved
      by secure communication setup using a quantum application.

   o  Hybrid Internet - The "new" or evolved Internet to be formed due
      to a merger of the classical Internet and the Quantum Internet.

   o  NISQ - Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum

   o  Packet - Formatted unit of multiple related bits.

   o  Quantum End-node - An end-node hosts user applications and
      interfaces with the rest of the Internet.  Typically, an end-node
      may serve in a client, server, or peer-to-peer role as part of the
      application.  If the end-node is part of the Quantum Internet it
      must be able to generate/transmit and/or receive/process qubits.

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      A quantum end-node, if it has quantum memory and quantum computing
      capabilities, can be regarded as a quantum computer.  A quantum
      end-node must also be able to interface to the classical Internet
      for control purposes and thus also be able to receive, process,
      and transmit classical bits/packets.

   o  Quantum Internet - A new type of network enabled by quantum
      information technology where qubits are transmitted between nodes
      to convey information.  (Note: qubits must be sent individually
      and not in packets).  The Quantum Internet will be merged into the
      classical Internet to form a new hybrid Internet.  The Quantum
      Internet will use both quantum channels, and classical channels
      provided by the classical Internet.  The Quantum Internet may
      either improve classical applications or may enable new quantum

   o  QC - Quantum Computer

   o  QKD - Quantum Key Distribution

   o  Qubit - Quantum Bit (i.e., fundamental unit of information in a
      quantum computer).  It is similar to a classic bit in that the
      state of a qubit is either "0" or "1" after it is measured and is
      denoted as its basis state |0> or |1>.  However, the qubit is
      different than a classic bit in that the qubit is in a linear
      combination of both states before it is measured and termed to be
      in superposition.  A photon or an electron can be used to
      represent a qubit.

4.  Quantum Internet Applications

4.1.  Overview

   The Quantum Internet is expected to be extremely beneficial for a
   subset of existing and new applications.  We use "applications" in
   the widest sense of the word and include functionality typically
   contained in Layers 4 (Transport) to Layers 7 (Application) of the
   Open System Interconnect (OSI) model.

   The expected applications using Quantum Internet are still being
   developed as we are in the formative stages of the Quantum Internet
   [Castelvecchi] [Wehner].  However, an initial (and non-exhaustive)
   list of the applications to be supported on the Quantum Internet can
   be identified and classified using different schemes.  We concentrate
   on the telecom centric classification of control plane versus data
   plane.  We also briefly discuss other possible classification

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4.2.  Control vs Data Plane Classification

   Traditionally, in the Internet most applications are classified as
   either control plane functionality or data plane functionality.
   Similarly, we classify Quantum Internet applications using the
   paradigm of control plane applications versus data plane applications

   o  Control Plane - Network functions and processes that operate on
      (1) control bits/packets or qubits (e.g., to setup up end-user
      encryption); or (2) management bits/packets or qubits (e.g., to
      configure nodes).

   o  Data Plane - Network functions and processes that operate on end-
      user application bits/packets or qubits (e.g., voice, video,
      data).  Sometimes also referred to as the user plane.

   Some examples of classic Internet control plane applications are
   Domain Name Server (DNS), Session Information Protocol (SIP), and
   Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP).  Furthermore, examples of
   classic Internet data plane applications are E-mail, web browsing,
   and video streaming.

4.2.1.  Control Plane Applications

   Control Plane Applications using Quantum Internet:

   1.  Secure communication setup - Refers to secure cryptographic key
       distribution between two or more end-nodes.  The most well-known
       method is referred to as QKD [Renner].

   2.  Fast Byzantine negotiation - Refers to a quantum network based
       method for fast agreement in Byzantine negotiations [Fitzi].
       This can be used for the popular financial blockchain feature as
       well as other distributed computing features which use Byzantine

   3.  Network clock synchronization - Refers to a world wide set of
       atomic clocks connected by the Quantum Internet to achieve an
       ultra precise clock signal [Komar].

   4.  Position verification - Refers to a method for an end-node to
       prove that it is at a particular location to, for example, access
       a specific service [Unruh].

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4.2.2.  Data Plane Applications

   Data Plane Applications using Quantum Internet:

   1.  Distributed quantum computing - Refers to a collection of remote
       small capacity quantum computers (i.e., each supporting a few
       qubits) that are connected and working together in a coordinated
       fashion so as to simulate a virtual large capacity quantum
       computer [Wehner].

   2.  Secure quantum computing with privacy preservation - Refers to
       private, or blind, quantum computation, which provides a way for
       a client to delegate a computation task to one or more remote
       quantum computers without disclosing the source data to be
       computed over [Fitzsimons].

4.3.  Other Possible Classifications

   Applications may also be classified by the industry sector that they
   serve.  For example, applications may be classified as quantum
   computing, quantum metrology, quantum chemistry, quantum
   cryptography, etc.  This is a valid and useful classification scheme.
   However, since the classic Internet community is used to the control
   plane versus data plane paradigm we will primarily use that approach
   in this document.

5.  Selected Quantum Internet Use Cases

   The Quantum Internet will support a variety of applications and
   deployment configurations.  This section details a few key use cases.
   In system engineering, a use case is typically made up of a set of
   possible sequences of interactions between nodes and users in a
   particular environment and related to a particular goal.  This will
   be the definition that we use in this section.

5.1.  Secure Communication Setup

   In this scenario, two banks (i.e., Bank #1 and Bank #2) need to have
   secure communications for transmitting important financial
   transaction records (see Figure 1).  For this purpose, they first
   need to securely exchange a classic secret cryptographic key (i.e., a
   sequence of classical bits), which is triggered by an end-user banker
   at Bank #1.  This results in a source quantum node A at Bank #1 to
   securely send a classic secret key to a destination quantum node B at
   Bank #2.  This is referred to as a secure communication setup.  Note
   that the quantum node A and B could be either a bare-bone quantum
   end-node or a full-fledged quantum computer.

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   One requirement for this secure communication setup process is that
   it should not be vulnerable to any classic or quantum computing
   attack.  This can be realized using QKD [ETSI-QKD].  QKD can securely
   distribute a secret key between two quantum nodes, without physically
   transmitting it through the network and thus achieving the required
   security.  QKD is the most mature feature of the quantum information
   technology, and has been commercially deployed in small-scale and
   short-distance deployments.

   In general, QKD (e.g., [BB84]) without using entanglement works as

   1.  The source quantum node A (e.g.  Alice) transforms the secret key
       to qubits.  Basically, for each classical bit in the secret key,
       the source quantum node A randomly selects one quantum
       computational basis and uses it to prepare/generate a qubit for
       the classical bit.

   2.  The source quantum node A sends qubits to the destination quantum
       node B (e.g.  Bob) via quantum channel.

   3.  The destination quantum node receives qubits and measures them
       based on its random quantum basis.

   4.  The destination quantum node sends the measurement results (i.e.,
       classic bits) to the source quantum node via any public classic

   5.  Both the source node and the destination node inform each other's
       random quantum basis.

   6.  Both nodes discard any measurement bit under different quantum
       basis and store all remaining bits as the secret key.

   It is worth noting that:

   1.  There are some entanglement-based QKD protocols such as
       [Treiber], which work differently than above steps.  The
       entanglement-based schemes, where entangled states are prepared
       externally to Alice and Bob, are not normally considered
       "prepare-and-measure" as defined in [Wehner]; other entanglement-
       based schemes, where entanglement is generated within Alice can
       still be considered "prepare-and-measure"; send-and-return
       schemes can still be "prepare-and-measure", if the information
       content, from which keys will be derived, is prepared within
       Alice before being sent to Bob for measurement.

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   2.  There are many enhanced QKD protocols based on [BB84].  For
       example, a series of loopholes have been identified due to the
       imperfections of measurement devices; there are several solutions
       to take into account these attacks such as measurement-device-
       independent QKD [ZhangPeiyu].  These enhanced QKD protocol can
       work differently than the steps of BB84 protocol [BB84].

   3.  For large-scale QKD, QKD Networks (QKDN) are required, which can
       be regarded as a subset of a Quantum Internet.  A QKDN may
       consist of a QKD application layer, a QKD network layer, and a
       QKD link layer [QinHao].  One or multiple trusted QKD relays
       [ZhangQiang] may exist between the source quantum node A and the
       destination quantum node B, which are connected by a QKDN.
       Alternatively, a QKDN may rely on entanglement distribution and
       entanglement-based QKD protocols; as a result, quantum-repeaters/
       routers instead of trusted QKD relays are needed for large-scale

   As a result, the Quantum Internet in Figure 1 contains quantum
   channels.  And in order to support secure communication setup
   especially in large-scale deployment, it also requires entanglement
   generation and entanglement distribution
   [I-D.van-meter-qirg-quantum-connection-setup], quantum repeaters/
   routers, and/or trusted QKD relays.

        |   End User    |
        |(e.g., Banking |
        |  Application) |
              | User Interface
              | (e.g., GUI)
        +-----------------+     /--------\     +-----------------+
        |                 |--->( Quantum  )--->|                 |
        |     Source      |    ( Internet )    |  Destination    |
        |     Quantum     |     \--------/     |    Quantum      |
        |     Node A      |                    |     Node B      |
        | (e.g., Bank #1) |     /--------\     | (e.g., Bank #2) |
        |                 |    ( Classical)    |                 |
        |                 |<-->( Internet )<-->|                 |
        +-----------------+     \--------/     +-----------------+

                   Figure 1: Secure Communication Setup

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5.2.  Distributed Quantum Computing

   In this scenario, Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) computers
   distributed in different locations are available for sharing.
   According to the definition in [Preskill], a NISQ computer can only
   realize a small number of qubits and has limited quantum error
   correction.  In order to gain higher computation power before fully-
   fledged quantum computers become available, NISQ computers can be
   connected via classic and quantum channels.  This scenario is
   referred to as distributed quantum computing [Caleffi]
   [Cacciapuoti01] [Cacciapuoti02].

   As an example, scientists can leverage these connected NISQ computer
   to solve highly complex scientific computation problems such as
   analysis of chemical interactions for medical drug development (see
   Figure 2).  In this case, qubits will be transmitted among connected
   quantum computers via quantum channels, while classic control
   messages will be transmitted among them via classic channels for
   coordination and control purpose . Qubits from one NISQ computer to
   another NISQ computer are very sensitive and cannot be lost.  For
   this purpose, quantum teleportation can be leveraged to teleport
   sensitive data qubits from one quantum computer A to another quantum
   computer B.

   Specifically, the following steps happen between A and B:

   1.  The quantum computer A locally generates some sensitive data
       qubits to be teleported to the quantum computer B.

   2.  A shared entanglement is established between the quantum computer
       A and the quantum computer B (i.e., there are two entangled
       qubits: |q1> at A and |q2> at B).

   3.  Then, the quantum computer A performs a Bell measurement of the
       entangled qubit |q1> and the sensitive data qubit.

   4.  The result from this Bell measurement will be encoded in two
       classic bits, which will be physically transmitted via a classic
       channel to the quantum computer B.

   5.  Based on the received two classic bits, the quantum computer B
       modifies the state of the entangled qubit |q2> in the way to
       generate a new qubit identical to the sensitive data qubit at the
       quantum computer A.

   In Figure 2, the Quantum Internet contains quantum channels and
   quantum repeaters/routers [I-D.irtf-qirg-principles].  This use case
   needs to support entanglement generation in order to enable quantum

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   teleportation, entanglement distribution or quantum connection setup
   [I-D.van-meter-qirg-quantum-connection-setup] in order to support
   long-distance quantum teleportation.

                           |     End-User    |
                           |(e.g., Scientist)|
                                    |User Interface (e.g. GUI)
                 |                                      |
                 |                                      |
                 V                                      V
         +----------------+     /--------\     +----------------+
         |                |--->( Quantum  )--->|                |
         |                |    ( Internet )    |                |
         |   Quantum      |     \--------/     |   Quantum      |
         |   Computer A   |                    |   Computer B   |
         | (e.g., Site #1)|     /--------\     | (e.g., Site #2)|
         |                |    ( Classical)    |                |
         |                |<-->( Internet )<-->|                |
         +----------------+     \--------/     +----------------+

                  Figure 2: Distributed Quantum Computing

5.3.  Secure Quantum Computing with Privacy Preservation

   Secure computation with privacy preservation refers to the scenario:

   1.  A client node with source data delegates the computation of the
       source data to a remote computation node.

   2.  Furthermore, the client node does not want to disclose any source
       data to the remote computation node and thus preserve the source
       data privacy.

   3.  Note that there is no assumption or guarantee that the remote
       computation node is a trusted entity from the source data privacy

   As an example illustrated in Figure 3, the client node could be a
   virtual voice-controlled home assistant device like Amazon's Alexa
   product.  The remote computation node could be a quantum computer in

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   the cloud.  A resident as an end-user uses voice to control the home
   device.  The home device captures voice-based commands from the end-
   user.  Then, the home device interfaces to a home quantum terminal
   node (e.g., a home gateway), which interacts with the remote
   computation node to perform computation over the captured voice-based
   commands.  The home quantum terminal could be either a bare-bone
   quantum end-node or a full-fledged quantum computer.

   In this particular case, there is no privacy concern since the source
   data (i.e., captured voice-based commands) will not be sent to the
   remote computation node which could be compromised.  Protocols
   [Fitzsimons] for delegated quantum computing or blind quantum
   computation can be leveraged to realize secure delegated computation
   and guarantee privacy preservation simultaneously.  Using delegated
   quantum computing protocols, the client node does not need send the
   source data but qubits with some measurement instructions to the
   remote computation node (e.g., a quantum computer).

   After receiving qubits and measurement instructions, the remote
   computation node performs the following actions:

   1.  It first performs certain quantum operations on received qubits
       and measure them according to received measurement instructions
       to generate computation results (in classic bits).

   2.  Then it sends the computation results back to the client node via
       classic channel.

   3.  In this process, the source data is not disclosed to the remote
       computation node and the privacy is preserved.

   In Figure 3, the Quantum Internet contains quantum channels and
   quantum repeaters/routers for long-distance qubits transmission

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         |   End-User     |
         |(e.g., Resident)|
                 | User Interface
                 | (e.g., voice commands)
         |   Home Device  |
                 | Classic
                 | Channel
         +----------------+     /--------\     +----------------+
         |                |--->( Quantum  )--->|                |
         |   Quantum      |    ( Internet )    |   Remote       |
         |   Terminal     |     \--------/     |   Computation  |
         |   Node         |                    |   Node         |
         |  (e.g., Home   |     /--------\     |   (e.g., QC    |
         |   Gateway)     |    ( Classical)    |   in Cloud)    |
         |                |<-->( Internet )<-->|                |
         +----------------+     \--------/     +----------------+

          Figure 3: Secure Computation with Privacy Preservation

6.  Conclusion

   This document provides an overview of some expected applications for
   the Quantum Internet and details selected use cases.  The
   applications are classified as either control plane or data plane
   functionality as typical for Internet applications.  One key take
   away is that a variety of control plane applications will run on the
   Quantum Internet.  In contrast, the data plane applications running
   on the Quantum Internet will be focused on supporting different forms
   of remote quantum computing.  This set of applications may, of
   course, naturally expand over time as the Quantum Internet matures.

   This document can also serve as an introductory text to persons
   interested in learning about the practical uses of the Quantum
   Internet.  Finally, it is hoped that this document will help guide
   further research and development of the specific Quantum Internet
   functionality required to implement the applications and uses cases
   described herein.

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7.  IANA Considerations

   This document requests no IANA actions.

8.  Security Considerations

   This document does not define an architecture nor a specific protocol
   for the Quantum Internet.  It focuses on detailing use cases and
   describing typical Quantum Internet applications.  However, some
   useful observations can be made regarding security as follows.

   It has been clearly identified that once large-scale quantum
   computing becomes reality it will be able to theoretically break many
   of the public-key (i.e., asymmetric) cryptosystems currently in use
   because of the exponential increase of computing power with quantum
   computing.  This would negatively affect many of the security
   mechanisms currently in use on the classic Internet.  This has given
   strong impetus for starting development of new cryptographic systems
   that are secure against quantum computing attacks [NISTIR8240].

   Paradoxically, development of a Quantum Internet will also mitigate
   the threats posed by quantum computing attacks against public-key
   cryptosystems.  Specifically, the secure communication setup feature
   of the Quantum Internet as described in Section 5.1 will be strongly
   resistant to both classical and quantum computing attacks.

   Finally, Section 5.3 provides a method to perform remote quantum
   computing while preserving the privacy of the source data.

9.  Acknowledgments

   The authors want to thank Xavier de Foy, Wojciech Kozlowski, Ruidong
   Li, and Gelard Patrick for their very useful reviews and comments to
   the document.

10.  Informative References

   [BB84]     Bennett, C. and G. Brassard, "Quantum Cryptography: Public
              Key Distribution and Coin Tossing", 1984,

              Cacciapuoti, A., "Quantum Internet: Networking Challenges
              in Distributed Quantum Computing", IEEE Network, (Early
              Access), 2019,

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              Cacciapuoti, A., "When Entanglement meets Classical
              Communications: Quantum Teleportation for the Quantum
              Internet", 2019, <https://arxiv.org/abs/1907.06197>.

   [Caleffi]  Caleffi, M., "Quantum internet: From Communication to
              Distributed Computing!", NANOCOM, ACM, 2018,

              Castelvecchi, D., "The Quantum Internet has arrived (and
              it hasn't)", Nature 554, 289-292, 2018,

              ETSI GR QKD 003 V2.1.1, "Quantum Key Distribution (QKD):
              Components and Internal Interfaces", 2018,

   [Fitzi]    Fitzi, M. and et. al., "A Quantum Solution to the
              Byzantine Agreement Problem", 2001,

              Fitzsimons, J., "Private Quantum Computation: An
              Introduction to Blind Quantum Computing and Related
              Protocols", 2017,

              Dahlberg, A., Skrzypczyk, M., and S. Wehner, "The Link
              Layer service in a Quantum Internet", draft-dahlberg-ll-
              quantum-03 (work in progress), October 2019.

              Kozlowski, W., Wehner, S., Meter, R., and B. Rijsman,
              "Architectural Principles for a Quantum Internet", draft-
              irtf-qirg-principles-02 (work in progress), November 2019.

              Meter, R. and T. Matsuo, "Connection Setup in a Quantum
              Network", draft-van-meter-qirg-quantum-connection-setup-01
              (work in progress), September 2019.

   [Komar]    Komar, P. and et. al., "A Quantum Network of Clocks",
              2013, <https://arxiv.org/pdf/1310.6045.pdf>.

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              Alagic, G. and et. al., "Status Report on the First Round
              of the NIST Post-Quantum Cryptography Standardization
              Process", NISTIR 8240, 2019,

              Preskill, J., "Quantum Computing in the NISQ Era and
              Beyond", 2018, <https://arxiv.org/pdf/1801.00862>.

   [QinHao]   Qin, H., "Towards Large-Scale Quantum Key Distribution
              Network and Its Applications", 2019,

   [Renner]   Renner, R., "Security of Quantum Key Distribution", 2006,

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Wang & Rahman             Expires July 31, 2020                [Page 15]

Internet-Draft         Quantum Internet Use Cases           January 2020

Authors' Addresses

   Chonggang Wang
   InterDigital Communications, LLC
   1001 E Hector St
   Conshohocken  19428

   Email: Chonggang.Wang@InterDigital.com

   Akbar Rahman
   InterDigital Communications, LLC
   1000 Sherbrooke Street West
   Montreal  H3A 3G4

   Email: rahmansakbar@yahoo.com

Wang & Rahman             Expires July 31, 2020                [Page 16]

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