$300,000 for secure communications research

Friday, 16 August 2013

University of Newcastle wins $300,000 to make digital communications secure

Secure Communications Grant  Internationally-renowned University of Newcastle researcher, Associate Professor Sarah Johnson, has received $300,000 from the Australian Research Council (ARC) to continue ground-breaking research in the field of digital communications.

Using quantum mechanics, AProf. Johnson's team will develop Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technology that will enable two parties to produce a random shared key known only to them, which can then be used to encrypt and decrypt messages to guarantee secure transmission of data between two users. The two parties will also be able to detect the presence of any third party 'listening in'.

The technology may offer information protection solutions for a range of users including banks, Government departments, the Australian Defence Force and business owners.

The University of Newcastle will develop the technology in partnership with commercial group QuintessenceLabs, a world leader in the use of QKD technology, and researchers at the Australian National University.

"Ultimately our findings will be incorporated into new ultrasecure communications equipment produced in Australia by QuintessenceLabs. This grant will allow us to focus on the design of new error correction codes and transmission protocols for quantum key distribution systems," said AProf. Johnson.

The research builds on AProf. Johnson's well-documented work in the area of error correction codes. A fundamental aspect of digital communications, error correction codes eliminate 'noise' or errors during transmission from the source to the receiver, improving the reliability and quality of digital technologies such as television, DVD players, mobile phones and the internet.

These technologies will become increasingly important as Australia moves toward a National Broadband Network (NBN).

"With technology expanding so rapidly, there is a growing need for better and faster error correction. Technology that was unimaginable ten years ago is now pushing the boundaries of our current approaches," said AProf. Johnson.

  • Sheena Martin
  • Phone: +612 4921 8714

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