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Software-Defined Quantum Key Distribution Networks

PGR-P-722

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Thursday 30 April 2020
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Funding
Part-funded
Source of funding
University of Leeds
Supervisors
Professor Mohsen Razavi
Additional supervisors
Dr Lotfi Mhamdi
Schools
School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Research groups/institutes
Institute of Communication and Power Networks
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

This project will address the design of SDN-based QKD networks. In particular, the centralized control plane paradigm of SDN is perceived to be the breakthrough that would allow the widespread deployment of QKD networks due to the centralized nature of SDN technology. QKD can also be used as a solution for secure communication between SCN control-plane nodes and physical routers. This is addressed by integrating a QKD network alongside with traditional networks in seamlessly logical and physical manner. By sharing QKD devices at the core of the network among many applications, the SDN-based QKD architecture lowers the otherwise prohibitive costs for end users.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>The ever-increasing human dependency on communication technology, with its ubiquitous presence in our society, is creating an urgent need for reliably secure communication. Security has always been a concern for communications networks, and this is becoming a more serious problem with the emerging quantum computing technology. Quantum computers, a rapidly maturing technology that is capable of breaking traditional cryptographic barriers, will soon force communications network designers to rethink their security architectures and node design. Quantum key distribution (QKD) is a physical layer security technology able to safeguard the communications network against some major quantum and/or classical security threats. However, to date, QKD has mainly been limited to relatively high cost point-to-point implementations, where a QKD device is required at each endpoint. On the other hand, recent advances in communication networks has resulted in the emergence of a new communication networking paradigm, where networks are software-based. In software-defined networks (SDNs), the communication infrastructure no longer relies on the traditional black-box network devices (nodes) where data and control functions are tied together. SDN decouples the data and control planes from each other. This has resulted in various advantages such as more network flexibility, robustness, optimization and cost efficiency, which are mainly due to the centralized control plane.</p> <p>This project will address the design of SDN-based QKD networks. In particular, the centralized control plane paradigm of SDN is perceived to be the breakthrough that would allow the widespread deployment of QKD networks due to the centralized nature of SDN technology. QKD can also be used as a solution for secure communication between SCN control-plane nodes and physical routers. This is addressed by integrating a QKD network alongside with traditional networks in seamlessly logical and physical manner. By sharing QKD devices at the core of the network among many applications, the SDN-based QKD architecture lowers the otherwise prohibitive costs for end users.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/electronic-engineering-research-degrees/doc/apply">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &ldquo;Software-Defined Quantum Key Distribution Networks&rdquo; as well as&nbsp;<a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/electronic-engineering/staff/551/lotfi-mhamdi">Dr Lotfi Mhamdi</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<h6>School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Partial&nbsp;Scholarship</h6> <p>International &ndash; Award part of the tuition fees only, over a period of three years;&nbsp;total fee&nbsp;payable by the candidate will be reduced to &pound;6500 per annum.</p> <p>UK/EU &ndash;&nbsp;Award covering tuition fees only at the Home/EU rate (&pound;4600 in 2020/21).</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding the application procedure, please contact Doctoral College Admissions,<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:phd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk">phd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk</a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p>


<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>