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Application Scenarios for the Quantum Internet

Document Type Active Internet-Draft (qirg RG)
Authors Chonggang Wang , Akbar Rahman , Ruidong Li , Melchior Aelmans , Kaushik Chakraborty
Last updated 2024-05-22 (Latest revision 2023-10-16)
Replaces draft-wang-qirg-quantum-internet-use-cases
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QIRG                                                             C. Wang
Internet-Draft                          InterDigital Communications, LLC
Intended status: Informational                                 A. Rahman
Expires: 18 April 2024                                          Ericsson
                                                                   R. Li
                                                     Kanazawa University
                                                              M. Aelmans
                                                        Juniper Networks
                                                          K. Chakraborty
                                             The University of Edinburgh
                                                         16 October 2023

             Application Scenarios for the Quantum Internet


   The Quantum Internet has the potential to improve application
   functionality by incorporating quantum information technology into
   the infrastructure of the overall Internet.  This document provides
   an overview of some applications expected to be used on the Quantum
   Internet and categorizes them.  Some general requirements for the
   Quantum Internet are also discussed.  The intent of this document is
   to describe a framework for applications, and describe a few selected
   application scenarios for the Quantum Internet.This document is a
   product of the Quantum Internet Research Group (QIRG).

Status of This Memo

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on 18 April 2024.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Terms and Acronyms List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  Quantum Internet Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     3.1.  Quantum Cryptography Applications . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     3.2.  Quantum Sensing/Metrology Applications  . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.3.  Quantum Computing Applications  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   4.  Selected Quantum Internet Application Scenarios . . . . . . .   9
     4.1.  Secure Communication Setup  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     4.2.  Blind Quantum Computing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
     4.3.  Distributed Quantum Computing . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
   5.  General Requirements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
     5.1.  Operations on Entangled Qubits  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
     5.2.  Entanglement Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     5.3.  The Need for Classical Channels . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     5.4.  Quantum Internet Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
   6.  Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
   7.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  23
   8.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  23
   9.  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
   10. Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  32

1.  Introduction

   The Classical, i.e., non-quantum, 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
   and clustered in Autonomous Systems.  The end nodes may run
   applications that provide service for the end users such as
   processing and transmission of voice, video or data.  The connections
   between the various nodes in the Internet include backbone links

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   (e.g., fiber optics) and access links (e.g., fiber optics, WiFi,
   cellular wireless, Digital Subscriber Lines (DSLs)).  Bits are
   transmitted across the Classical Internet in packets.

   Research and experiments have picked up over the last few years for
   developing the Quantum Internet [Wehner].  End nodes will also be
   part of the Quantum Internet, in that case called quantum end nodes
   that may be connected by quantum repeaters/routers.  These quantum
   end nodes will also run value-added applications which will be
   discussed later.

   The physical layer quantum channels between the various nodes in the
   Quantum Internet can be either waveguides such as optical fibers or
   free space.  Photonic channels are particularly useful because light
   (photons) is very suitable for physically realizing qubits.  The
   Quantum Internet will operate according to quantum physical
   principles such as quantum superposition and entanglement [RFC9340].

   The Quantum Internet is not anticipated to replace, but rather to
   enhance the Classical Internet and/or provide breakthrough
   applications.  For instance, quantum key distribution can improve the
   security of the Classical Internet; quantum computing can expedite
   and optimize computation-intensive tasks in the Classical Internet.
   The Quantum Internet will run in conjunction with the Classical
   Internet.  The process of integrating the Quantum Internet with the
   Classical Internet is similar to the process of introducing any new
   communication and networking paradigm into the existing Internet, but
   with more profound implications.

   The intent of this document is to provide a common understanding and
   framework of applications and application scenarios for the Quantum
   Internet.  It is noted that ITU-T SG13-TD158/WP3 [ITUT] briefly
   describes four kinds of use cases of quantum networks beyond quantum
   key distribution networks: quantum time synchronization use cases,
   quantum computing use cases, quantum random number generator use
   cases, and quantum communication use cases (e.g., quantum digital
   signatures, quantum anonymous transmission, and quantum money).  This
   document focuses on quantum applications that have more impact on
   networking such as secure communication setup, blind quantum
   computing, and distributed quantum computing; although these
   applications were mentioned in [ITUT], this document gives more
   details and derives some requirements from networking perspective.

   This document was produced by the Quantum Internet Research
   Group(QIRG).  It was discussed on the QIRG mailing list and several
   meetings of the Research Group.  It has been reviewed extensively by
   the QIRG members with expertise in both quantum physics and classical
   Internet operation.  This document represents the consensus of the

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   QIRG members, of both experts in the subject matter (from the quantum
   and networking domains) and newcomers who are the target audience.
   It is not an IETF product and is not a standard.

2.  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 [RFC9340].  In addition, the following terms and acronyms are
   defined herein for clarity:

   *  Bell Pairs – A special type of two-qubits quantum state.  The two
      qubits show a correlation that cannot be observed in classical
      information theory.  We refer to such correlation as quantum
      entanglement.  Bell pairs exhibit the maximal quantum
      entanglement.  One example of a Bell pair is
      (|00>+|11>)/(Sqrt(2)).  The Bell pairs are a fundamental resource
      for quantum communication.

   *  Bit - Binary Digit (i.e., fundamental unit of information in
      classical communications and classical computing).  Bit is used in
      Classical Internet where the state of a bit is deterministic.  In
      contrast, Qubit is used in Quantum Internet where the state of a
      qubit is uncertain before it is measured.

   *  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.
      Classical Internet is a network of classical network nodes which
      do not support quantum information technology.  In contrast,
      Quantum Internet consists of quantum nodes based on quantum
      information technology.

   *  Entanglement Swapping: It is a process of sharing an entanglement
      between two distant parties via some intermediate nodes.  For
      example, suppose there are three parties A, B, C, and each of the
      parties (A, B) and (B, C) share Bell pairs.  B can use the qubits
      it shares with A and C to perform entanglement swapping
      operations, and as a result, A and C share Bell pairs.
      Entanglement swapping essentially realizes entanglement
      distribution (i.e., two nodes in distance can share a Bell pair).

   *  Fast Byzantine Negotiation - A Quantum-based method for fast
      agreement in Byzantine negotiations [Ben-Or] [Taherkhani].

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   *  Local Operations and Classical Communication (LOCC) - A method
      where nodes communicate in rounds, in which (1) they can send any
      classical information to each other; (2) they can perform local
      quantum operations individually; and (3) the actions performed in
      each round can depend on the results from previous rounds.

   *  Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) - NISQ was defined in
      [Preskill] to represent a near-term era in quantum technology.
      According to this definition, NISQ computers have two salient
      features: (1) The size of NISQ computers range from 50 to a few
      hundred physical qubits (i.e., intermediate-scale); and (2) Qubits
      in NISQ computers have inherent errors and the control over them
      is imperfect (i.e., noisy).

   *  Packet - A self-identified message with in-band addresses or other
      information that can be used for forwarding the message.  The
      message contains an ordered set of bits of determinate number.
      The bits contained in a packet are classical bits.

   *  Prepare-and-Measure - A set of Quantum Internet scenarios where
      quantum nodes only support simple quantum functionalities (i.e.,
      prepare qubits and measure qubits).  For example, BB84 [BB84] is a
      prepare-and-measure quantum key distribution protocol.

   *  Quantum Computer (QC) - A quantum end node that also has quantum
      memory and quantum computing capabilities is regarded as a full-
      fledged quantum computer.

   *  Quantum End Node - An end node that 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.  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.

   *  Quantum Internet - A network of Quantum Networks.  The Quantum
      Internet is expected to be merged into the Classical Internet.
      The Quantum Internet may either improve classical applications or
      may enable new quantum applications.

   *  Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) - A method that leverages quantum
      mechanics such as no-cloning theorem to let two parties create the
      same arbitrary classical key.

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   *  Quantum Network - A new type of network enabled by quantum
      information technology where quantum resources such as qubits and
      entanglement are transferred and utilized between quantum nodes.
      The Quantum Network will use both quantum channels, and classical
      channels provided by the Classical Internet, referred to as a
      hybrid implementation.

   *  Quantum Teleportation - A technique for transferring quantum
      information via local operations and classical communication
      (LOCC).  If two parties share a Bell pair, then using quantum
      teleportation a sender can transfer a quantum data bit to a
      receiver without sending it physically via a quantum channel.

   *  Qubit - Quantum Bit (i.e., fundamental unit of information in
      quantum communication and quantum computing).  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 vector |0>
      or |1> using Dirac's ket notation.  However, the qubit is
      different than a classic bit in that the qubit can be in a linear
      combination of both states before it is measured and termed to be
      in superposition.  Any of several Degrees of Freedom (DOF) of a
      photon (e.g., polarization, time bib, and/or frequency) or an
      electron (e.g., spin) can be used to encode a qubit.

   *  Transmit a Qubit - An operation of encoding a qubit into a mobile
      carrier (i.e., typically photon) and passing it through a quantum
      channel from a sender (a transmitter) to a receiver.

   *  Teleport a Qubit - An operation on two or more carriers in
      succession to move a qubit from a sender to a receiver using
      quantum teleportation.

   *  Transfer a Qubit - An operation to move a qubit from a sender to a
      receiver without specifying the means of moving the qubit, which
      could be “transmit” or “teleport”.

3.  Quantum Internet Applications

   The Quantum Internet is expected to be beneficial for a subset of
   existing and new applications.  The expected applications for the
   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 two
   different schemes.  Note, this document does not include quantum
   computing applications that are purely local to a given node.

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   Applications may be grouped by the usage that they serve.
   Specifically, applications may be grouped according to the following

   *  Quantum cryptography applications - Refer to the use of quantum
      information technology for cryptographic tasks (e.g., quantum key
      distribution [Renner]).

   *  Quantum sensors applications - Refer to the use of quantum
      information technology for supporting distributed sensors (e.g.,
      clock synchronization [Jozsa2000] [Komar] [Guo] ).

   *  Quantum computing applications - Refer to the use of quantum
      information technology for supporting remote quantum computing
      facilities (e.g., distributed quantum computing [Denchev]).

   This scheme can be easily understood by both a technical and non-
   technical audience.  The next sections describe the scheme in more

3.1.  Quantum Cryptography Applications

   Examples of quantum cryptography applications include quantum-based
   secure communication setup and fast Byzantine negotiation.

   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 Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) [Renner].

   2.  Fast Byzantine negotiation - Refers to a Quantum-based method for
       fast agreement in Byzantine negotiations [Ben-Or], for example,
       to reduce the number of expected communication rounds and in turn
       achieve faster agreement, in contrast to classical Byzantine
       negotiations.  A quantum aided Byzantine agreement on quantum
       repeater networks as proposed in [Taherkhani] includes
       optimization techniques to greatly reduce the quantum circuit
       depth and the number of qubits in each node.  Quantum-based
       methods for fast agreement in Byzantine negotiations can be used
       for improving consensus protocols such as practical Byzantine
       Fault Tolerance(pBFT), as well as other distributed computing
       features which use Byzantine negotiations.

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   3.  Quantum money - The main security requirement of money is
       unforgeability.  A quantum money scheme aims to fulfill by
       exploiting the no-cloning property of the unknown quantum states.
       Though the original idea of quantum money dates back to 1970,
       these early protocols allow only the issuing bank to verify a
       quantum banknote.  However, the recent protocols such as public-
       key quantum money [Zhandry] allow anyone to verify the banknotes

3.2.  Quantum Sensing/Metrology Applications

   The entanglement, superposition, interference, squeezing properties
   can enhance the sensitivity of the quantum sensors and eventually can
   outperform the classical strategies.  Examples of quantum sensor
   applications include network clock synchronization, high sensitivity
   sensing, etc.  These applications mainly leverage a network of
   entangled quantum sensors (i.e. quantum sensor networks) for high-
   precision multi-parameter estimation [Proctor].

   1.  Network clock synchronization - Refers to a world wide set of
       high-precision clocks connected by the Quantum Internet to
       achieve an ultra precise clock signal [Komar] with fundamental
       precision limits set by quantum theory.

   2.  High sensitivity sensing - Refers to applications that leverage
       quantum phenomena to achieve reliable nanoscale sensing of
       physical magnitudes.  For example, [Guo] uses an entangled
       quantum network for measuring the average phase shift among
       multiple distributed nodes.

   3.  Interferometric Telescopes using Quantum Information -
       Interferometric techniques are used to combine signals from two
       or more telescopes to obtain measurements with higher resolution
       than what could be obtained with either telescope individually.
       It can make measurements of very small astronomical objects if
       the telescopes are spread out over a wide area.  However, the
       phase fluctuations and photon loss introduced by the
       communication channel between the telescopes put a limitation on
       the baseline lengths of the optical interferometers.  This
       limitation can be potentially avoided using quantum
       teleportation.  In general, by sharing EPR-pairs using quantum
       repeaters, the optical interferometers can communicate photons
       over long distances, providing arbitrarily long baselines

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3.3.  Quantum Computing Applications

   In this section, we include the applications for the quantum
   computing.  It's anticipated that quantum computers as a cloud
   service will become more available in future.  Sometimes, to run such
   applications in the cloud while preserving the privacy, a client and
   a server need to exchange qubits (e.g., in blind quantum computation
   [Fitzsimons] as described below).  Therefore, such privacy preserving
   quantum computing applications require a Quantum Internet to execute.

   Examples of quantum computing include distributed quantum computing
   and blind quantum computing, which can enable new types of cloud

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

   2.  Blind quantum computing - 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.  Selected Quantum Internet Application Scenarios

   The Quantum Internet will support a variety of applications and
   deployment configurations.  This section details a few key
   application scenarios which illustrates the benefits of the Quantum
   Internet.  In system engineering, an application scenario 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

4.1.  Secure Communication Setup

   In this scenario, two nodes (e.g., quantum node A and quantum node B)
   need to have secure communications for transmitting confidential
   information (see Figure 1).  For this purpose, they first need to
   securely share a classic secret cryptographic key (i.e., a sequence
   of classical bits), which is triggered by an end user with local
   secure interface to quantum node A.  This results in a quantum node A
   to securely establish a classical secret key with a quantum node B.
   This is referred to as a secure communication setup.  Note that
   quantum nodes A and B may be either a bare-bone quantum end node or a
   full-fledged quantum computer.  This application scenario shows that

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   the Quantum Internet can be leveraged to improve the security of
   Classical Internet applications.

   One requirement for this secure communication setup process is that
   it should not be vulnerable to any classical or quantum computing
   attack.  This can be realized using QKD which is unbreakable in
   principle.  QKD can securely establish a secret key between two
   quantum nodes, using a classical authentication channel and insecure
   quantum channel without physically transmitting the key through the
   network and thus achieving the required security.  However, care must
   be taken to ensure that the QKD system is safe against physical side
   channel attacks which can compromise the system.  An example of a
   physical side channel attack is to surreptitiously inject additional
   light into the optical devices used in QKD to learn side information
   about the system such as the polarization.  Other specialized
   physical attacks against QKD also use a classical authentication
   channel and insecure quantum channel such as the phase-remapping
   attack, photon number splitting attack, and decoy state attack
   [Zhao2018].  QKD can be used for many other cryptographic
   communications, such as IPSec and Transport Layer Security (TLS)
   where involved parties need to establish a shared security key,
   although it usually introduces a high latency.

   QKD is the most mature feature of the quantum information technology,
   and has been commercially released in small-scale and short-distance
   deployments.  More QKD use cases are described in ETSI documents
   [ETSI-QKD-UseCases]; in addition, the ETSI document
   [ETSI-QKD-Interfaces] specifies interfaces between QKD users and QKD

   In general, the prepare and measure QKD protocols (e.g., [BB84])
   without using entanglement work as follows:

   1.  The quantum node A encodes classical bits to qubits.  Basically,
       the node A generates two random classical bit strings X, Y.
       Among them, it uses the bit string X to choose the basis and uses
       Y to choose the state corresponding to the chosen basis.  For
       example, if X=0 then in case of BB84 protocol Alice prepares the
       state in {|0>, |1>}-basis; otherwise she prepares the state in
       {|+>, |->}-basis.  Similarly, if Y=0 then Alice prepares the
       qubit either |0> or |+> (depending on the value of X), and if Y
       =1, then Alice prepares the qubit either |1> or |->.

   2.  The quantum node A sends qubits to the quantum node B via quantum

   3.  The quantum node B receives qubits and measures each of them in
       one of the two basis at random.

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   4.  The quantum node B informs the quantum node A of its choice of
       basis for each qubit.

   5.  The quantum node A informs the quantum node B which random
       quantum basis is correct.

   6.  Both nodes discard any measurement bit under different quantum
       basis and remaining bits could be used as the secret key.  Before
       generating the final secret key, there is a post-processing
       procedure over authenticated classical channels.  The classical
       post-processing part can be subdivided into three steps, namely
       parameter estimation, error-correction, and privacy
       amplification.  In the parameter estimation phase, both Alice and
       Bob use some of the bits to estimate the channel error.  If it is
       larger than some threshold value, they abort the protocol
       otherwise move to the error-correction phase.  Basically, if an
       eavesdropper tries to intercept and read qubits sent from node A
       to node B, the eavesdropper will be detected due to the entropic
       uncertainty relation property theorem of quantum mechanics.  As a
       part of the post-processing procedure, both nodes usually also
       perform information reconciliation [Elkouss] for efficient error
       correction and/or conduct privacy amplification [Tang] for
       generating the final information-theoretical secure keys.

   7.  The post-processing procedure needs to be performed over an
       authenticated classical channel.  In other words, the quantum
       node A and the quantum node B need to authenticate the classical
       channel to make sure there is no eavesdroppers or man-in-the-
       middle attacks, according to certain authentication protocols
       such as [Kiktenko].  In [Kiktenko], the authenticity of the
       classical channel is checked at the very end of the post-
       processing procedure instead of doing it for each classical
       message exchanged between the quantum node A and the quantum node

   It is worth noting that:

   1.  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 [Zhang2019].  These enhanced QKD protocols can
       work differently than the steps of BB84 protocol [BB84].

   2.  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 [Qin].  One or multiple trusted QKD relays

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       [Zhang2018] may exist between the quantum node A and the 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 QKD.  Entanglement
       swapping can be leveraged to realize entanglement distribution.

   3.  QKD provides an information-theoretical way to share secret keys
       between two parties (i.e., a transmitter and a receiver) in the
       presence of an eavesdropper.  However, this is true in theory,
       and there is a significant gap between theory and practice.  By
       exploiting the imperfection of the detectors Eve can gain
       information about the shared key [Xu].  To avoid such side-
       channel attacks in [Lo], the researchers provide a QKD protocol
       called Measurement Device-Independent (MDI) QKD that allows two
       users (a transmitter “Alice” and a receiver “Bob”) to communicate
       with perfect security, even if the (measurement) hardware they
       are using has been tampered with (e.g., by an eavesdropper) and
       thus is not trusted.  It is achieved by measuring correlations
       between signals from Alice and Bob rather than the actual signals

   4.  QKD protocols based on Continuous Variable (CV-QKD) have recently
       seen plenty of interest as they only require telecommunications
       equipment that is readily available and is also in common use
       industry-wide.  This kind of technology is a potentially high-
       performance technique for secure key distribution over limited
       distances.  The recent demonstration of CV-QKD shows
       compatibility with classical coherent detection schemes that are
       widely used for high bandwidth classical communication systems
       [Grosshans].  Note that we still do not have a quantum repeater
       for the continuous variable systems; hence, this kind of QKD
       technologies can be used for the short distance communications or
       trusted relay-based QKD networks.

   5.  Secret sharing can be used to distribute a secret key among
       multiple nodes by letting each node know a share or a part of the
       secret key, while no single node can know the entire secret key.
       The secret key can only be re-constructed via collaboration from
       a sufficient number of nodes.  Quantum Secret Sharing (QSS)
       typically refers to the scenario: The secret key to be shared is
       based on quantum states instead of classical bits.  QSS enables
       to split and share such quantum states among multiple nodes.

   6.  There are some entanglement-based QKD protocols, such as
       [Treiber][E91][BBM92], which work differently than the above
       steps.  The entanglement-based schemes, where entangled states
       are prepared externally to the quantum node A and the quantum

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       node B, are not normally considered "prepare-and-measure" as
       defined in [Wehner]; other entanglement-based schemes, where
       entanglement is generated within the source quantum node 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 the
       quantum node A before being sent to the quantum node B for

   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    |
              | Local Secure Interface
              | (e.g., the same physical hardware
              |  or a local secure network)
        +-----------------+     /--------\     +-----------------+
        |                 |--->( Quantum  )--->|                 |
        |                 |    ( Internet )    |                 |
        |     Quantum     |     \--------/     |    Quantum      |
        |     Node A      |                    |     Node B      |
        |                 |     /--------\     |                 |
        |                 |    ( Classical)    |                 |
        |                 |<-->( Internet )<-->|                 |
        +-----------------+     \--------/     +-----------------+

                    Figure 1: Secure Communication Setup

4.2.  Blind Quantum Computing

   Blind quantum computing refers to the following scenario:

   1.  A client node with source data delegates the computation of the
       source data to a remote computation node (i.e. a server).

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   2.  Furthermore, the client node does not want to disclose any source
       data to the remote computation node, which preserves 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 2, a terminal node can be a small
   quantum computer with limited computation capability compared to a
   remote quantum computation node (e.g., a remote mainframe quantum
   computer), but the terminal node needs to run a computation-intensive
   task (e.g., Shor’s factoring algorithm).  The terminal node can
   create individual qubits and send them to the remote quantum
   computation node.  Then, the remote quantum computation node can
   entangle the qubits, calculate on them, measure them, generate
   measurement results in classical bits, and return the measurement
   results to the terminal node.  It is noted that those measurement
   results will look like purely random data to the remote quantum
   computation node because the initial states of the qubits were chosen
   in a cryptographically secure fashion.

   As a new client/server computation model, Blind Quantum Computation
   (BQC) generally enables: 1) The client delegates a computation
   function to the server; 2) The client does not send original qubits
   to the server, but send transformed qubits to the server; 3) The
   computation function is performed at the server on the transformed
   qubits to generate temporary result qubits, which could be quantum-
   circuit-based computation or measurement-based quantum computation.
   The server sends the temporary result qubits to the client; 4) The
   client receives the temporary result qubits and transforms them to
   the final result qubits.  During this process, the server can not
   figure out the original qubits from the transformed qubits.  Also, it
   will not take too much efforts on the client side to transform the
   original qubits to the transformed qubits, or transform the temporary
   result qubits to the final result qubits.  One of the very first BQC
   protocols such as [Childs] follows this process, although the client
   needs some basic quantum features such as quantum memory, qubit
   preparation and measurement, and qubit transmission.  Measurement-
   based quantum computation is out of the scope of this document and
   more details about it can be found in [Jozsa2005].

   It is worth noting that:

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   1.  The BQC protocol in [Childs] is a circuit-based BQC model, where
       the client only performs simple quantum circuit for qubit
       transformation, while the server performs a sequence of quantum
       logic gates.  Qubits are transmitted back and forth between the
       client and the server.

   2.  Universal BQC in [Broadbent] is a measurement-based BQC model,
       which is based on measurement-based quantum computing leveraging
       entangled states.  The principle in UBQC is based on the fact the
       quantum teleportation plus a rotated Bell measurement realizes a
       quantum computation, which can be repeated multiple times to
       realize a sequence of quantum computation.  In this approach, the
       client first prepares transformed qubits and sends them to the
       server and the server needs first to prepare entangled states
       from all received qubits.  Then, multiple interaction and
       measurement rounds happen between the client and the server.  For
       each round, the client computes and sends new measurement
       instructions or measurement adaptations to the server; then, the
       server performs the measurement according to the received
       measurement instructions to generate measurement results (qubits
       or in classic bits); the client receives the measurement results
       and transforms them to the final results.

   3.  A hybrid universal BQC is proposed in [Zhang2009], where the
       server performs both quantum circuits like [Childs] and quantum
       measurements like [Broadbent] to reduce the number of required
       entangled states in [Broadbent].  Also, the client is much
       simpler than the client in [Childs].  This hybrid BQC is a
       combination of circuit-based BQC model and measurement-based BQC

   4.  It will be ideal if the client in BQC is a purely classical
       client, which only needs to interact with the server using
       classical channel and communications.  [Huang] demonstrates such
       an approach, where a classical client leverages two entangled
       servers to perform BQC, with the assumption that both servers
       cannot communicate with each other; otherwise, the blindness or
       privacy of the client cannot be guaranteed.  The scenario as
       demonstrated in [Huang] is essentially an example of BQC with
       multiple servers.

   5.  How to verify that the server will perform what the client
       requests or expects is an important issue in many BQC protocols,
       referred to as verifiable BQC.  [Fitzsimons] discusses this issue
       and compares it in various BQC protocols.

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   In Figure 2, the Quantum Internet contains quantum channels and
   quantum repeaters/routers for long-distance qubits transmission

        +----------------+     /--------\     +-------------------+
        |                |--->( Quantum  )--->|                   |
        |                |    ( Internet )    | Remote Quantum    |
        |  Terminal      |     \--------/     | Computation       |
        |  Node          |                    | Node              |
        |  (e.g., A Small|     /--------\     | (e.g., Remote     |
        |  Quantum       |    ( Classical)    |  Mainframe        |
        |  Computer)     |<-->( Internet )<-->|  Quantum Computer)|
        +----------------+     \--------/     +-------------------+

                      Figure 2: Bind Quantum Computing

4.3.  Distributed Quantum Computing

   There can be two types of distributed quantum computing [Denchev]:

   1.  Leverage quantum mechanics to enhance classical distributed
       computing.  For example, entangled quantum states can be
       exploited to improve leader election in classical distributed
       computing, by simply measuring the entangled quantum states at
       each party (e.g., a node or a device) without introducing any
       classical communications among distributed parties [Pal].
       Normally, pre-shared entanglement needs first be established
       among distributed parties, followed by LOCC operations at each
       party.  And it generally does not need to transfer qubits among
       distributed parties.

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   2.  Distribute quantum computing functions to distributed quantum
       computers.  A quantum computing task or function (e.g., quantum
       gates) is split and distributed to multiple physically separate
       quantum computers.  And it may or may not need to transmit qubits
       (either inputs or outputs) among those distributed quantum
       computers.  Entangled states will be needed and actually consumed
       to support such distributed quantum computing tasks.  It is worth
       noting that: 1)Entangled states can be created beforehand and
       stored or buffered; 2) The rate of entanglement creation will
       limit the performance of practical quantum internet applicaitons
       including distributed quantum computing, although entangled
       states could be buffered.  For example, [Gottesman1999] and
       [Eisert] have proved that a CNOT gate can be realized jointly by
       and distributed to multiple quantum computers.  The rest of this
       section focuses on this type of distributed quantum computing.

   As a scenario for the second type of distributed quantum computing,
   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.  This
   scenario is referred to as distributed quantum computing [Caleffi]
   [Cacciapuoti2020] [Cacciapuoti2019].  This application scenario
   reflects the vastly increased computing power which quantum computers
   as a part of the Quantum Internet can bring, in contrast to classical
   computers in the Classical Internet, in the context of distributed
   quantum computing ecosystem [Cuomo].  According to [Cuomo], quantum
   teleportation enables a new communication paradigm, referred to as
   teledata [VanMeter2006-01], which moves quantum states among qubits
   to distributed quantum computers.  In addition, distributed quantum
   computation also needs the capability of remotely performing quantum
   computation on qubits on distributed quantum computers, which can be
   enabled by the technique called telegate [VanMeter2006-02].

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   As an example, a user can leverage these connected NISQ computers to
   solve highly complex scientific computation problems, such as
   analysis of chemical interactions for medical drug development [Cao]
   (see Figure 3).  In this case, qubits will be transmitted among
   connected quantum computers via quantum channels, while the user's
   execution requests are transmitted to these quantum computers via
   classical channels for coordination and control purpose.  Another
   example of distributed quantum computing is secure Multi-Party
   Quantum Computation (MPQC) [Crepeau], which can be regarded as a
   quantum version of classical secure Multi-Party Computation (MPC).
   In a secure MPQC protocol, multiple participants jointly perform
   quantum computation on a set of input quantum states, which are
   prepared and provided by different participants.  One of the primary
   aims of the secure MPQC is to guarantee that each participant will
   not know input quantum states provided by other participants.  Secure
   MPQC relies on verifiable quantum secret sharing [Lipinska].

   For the example shown in Figure 3, we want to move qubits from one
   NISQ computer to another NISQ computer.  For this purpose, quantum
   teleportation can be leveraged to teleport sensitive data qubits from
   one quantum computer A to another quantum computer B.  Note that
   Figure 3 does not cover measurement-based distributed quantum
   computing, where quantum teleportation may not be required.  When
   quantum teleportation is employed, the following steps happen between
   A and B.  In fact, LOCC [Chitambar] operations are conducted at the
   quantum computers A and B in order to achieve quantum teleportation
   as illustrated in Figure 3.

   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).  For example, the quantum computer
       A can generate two entangled qubits (i.e., q1 and q2) and sends
       q2 to the quantum computer B via quantum communications.

   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
       classical bits, which will be physically transmitted via a
       classical channel to the quantum computer B.

   5.  Based on the received two classical 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.

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   In Figure 3, the Quantum Internet contains quantum channels and
   quantum repeaters/routers [RFC9340].  This application scenario needs
   to support entanglement generation and entanglement distribution (or
   quantum connection) setup
   [I-D.van-meter-qirg-quantum-connection-setup] in order to support
   quantum teleportation.

                         |     End User    |
                         |                 |
                                  | Local Secure Interface
                                  | (e.g., the same phyical hardware
                                  | or a local secure network)
               |                                      |
               |                                      |
               V                                      V
       +----------------+     /--------\     +----------------+
       |                |--->( Quantum  )--->|                |
       |                |    ( Internet )    |                |
       |   Quantum      |     \--------/     |   Quantum      |
       |   Computer A   |                    |   Computer B   |
       | (e.g., Site #1)|     /--------\     | (e.g., Site #2)|
       |                |    ( Classical)    |                |
       |                |<-->( Internet )<-->|                |
       +----------------+     \--------/     +----------------+

                  Figure 3: Distributed Quantum Computing

5.  General Requirements

   Quantum technologies are steadily evolving and improving.  Therefore,
   it is hard to predict the timeline and future milestones of quantum
   technologies as pointed out in [Grumbling] for quantum computing.
   Currently, a NISQ computer can achieve fifty to hundreds of qubits
   with some given error rate.

   On the network level, six stages of Quantum Internet development are
   described in [Wehner] as Quantum Internet technology roadmap as

   1.  Trusted repeater networks (Stage-1)

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   2.  Prepare and measure networks (Stage-2)

   3.  Entanglement distribution networks (Stage-3)

   4.  Quantum memory networks (Stage-4)

   5.  Fault-tolerant few qubit networks (Stage-5)

   6.  Quantum computing networks (Stage-6)

   The first stage is simple trusted repeater networks, while the final
   stage is the quantum computing networks where the full-blown Quantum
   Internet will be achieved.  Each intermediate stage brings with it
   new functionality, new applications, and new characteristics.
   Figure 4 illustrates Quantum Internet application scenarios as
   described in Section 3 and Section 4 mapped to the Quantum Internet
   stages described in [Wehner].  For example, secure communication
   setup can be supported in Stage-1, Stage-2, or Stage-3, but with
   different QKD solutions.  More specifically:

   In Stage-1, basic QKD is possible and can be leveraged to support
   secure communication setup but trusted nodes are required to provide
   end-to-end security.  The primary requirement is the trusted nodes.

   In Stage-2, the end users can prepare and measure the qubits.  In
   this stage, the users can verify classical passwords without
   revealing it.

   In Stage-3, end-to-end security can be enabled based on quantum
   repeaters and entanglement distribution, to support the same secure
   communication setup application.  The primary requirement is
   entanglement distribution to enable long-distance QKD.

   In Stage-4, the quantum repeaters gain the capability of storing and
   manipulating entangled qubits in the quantum memories.  Using these
   kind of quantum networks, one can run sophisticated applications like
   blind quantum computing, leader election, quantum secret sharing.

   In Stage-5, quantum repeaters can perform error correction; hence
   they can perform fault-tolerant quantum computations on the received
   data.  With the help of these repeaters, it is possible to run
   distributed quantum computing and quantum sensor applications over a
   smaller number of qubits.

   Finally, in Stage-6, distributed quantum computing relying on more
   qubits can be supported.

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     | Quantum |     Example Quantum        |                        |
     | Internet|      Internet Use          |   Characteristic       |
     | Stage   |         Cases              |                        |
     | Stage-1 | Secure comm setup          |  Trusted nodes         |
     |         | using basic QKD            |                        |
     | Stage-2 | Secure comm setup          |  Prepare-and-measure   |
     |         | using the QKD with         |       capability       |
     |         | end-to-end security        |                        |
     | Stage-3 | Secure comm setup          |  Entanglement          |
     |         | using entanglement-enabled |  distribution          |
     |         | QKD                        |                        |
     | Stage-4 | Blind quantum              |  Quantum memory        |
     |         | computing                  |                        |
     | Stage-5 | Higher-Accuracy Clock      |  Fault tolerance       |
     |         | synchronization            |                        |
     | Stage-6 | Distributed quantum        |  More qubits           |
     |         | computing                  |                        |

        Figure 4: Example Application Scenarios in Different Quantum
                              Internet Stages

   Some general and functional requirements on the Quantum Internet from
   the networking perspective, based on the above application scenarios
   and Quantum Internet technology roadmap [Wehner], are identified and
   described in next sections.

5.1.  Operations on Entangled Qubits

   Methods for facilitating quantum applications to interact efficiently
   with entangled qubits are necessary in order for them to trigger
   distribution of designated entangled qubits to potentially any other
   quantum node residing in the Quantum Internet.  To accomplish this,
   specific operations must be performed on entangled qubits (e.g.,
   entanglement swapping, entanglement distillation).  Quantum nodes may
   be quantum end nodes, quantum repeaters/routers, and/or quantum

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5.2.  Entanglement Distribution

   Quantum repeaters/routers should support robust and efficient
   entanglement distribution in order to extend and establish high-
   fidelity entanglement connection between two quantum nodes.  For
   achieving this, it is required to first generate an entangled pair on
   each hop of the path between these two nodes, and then perform
   entanglement swapping operations at each of the intermediate nodes.

5.3.  The Need for Classical Channels

   Quantum end nodes must send additional information on classical
   channels to aid in transferring and understanding qubits across
   quantum repeaters/receivers.  Examples of such additional information
   include qubit measurements in secure communication setup Section 4.1,
   and Bell measurements in distributed quantum computing Section 4.3.
   In addition, qubits are transferred individually and do not have any
   associated packet header which can help in transferring the qubit.
   Any extra information to aid in routing, identification, etc., of the
   qubit(s) must be sent via classical channels.

5.4.  Quantum Internet Management

   Methods for managing and controlling the Quantum Internet including
   quantum nodes and their quantum resources are necessary.  The
   resources of a quantum node may include quantum memory, quantum
   channels, qubits, established quantum connections, etc.  Such
   management methods can be used to monitor network status of the
   Quantum Internet, diagnose and identify potential issues (e.g.
   quantum connections), and configure quantum nodes with new actions
   and/or policies (e.g. to perform a new entanglement swapping
   operation).  New management information model for the Quantum
   Internet may need to be developed.

6.  Conclusion

   This document provides an overview of some expected application
   categories for the Quantum Internet, and then details selected
   application scenarios.  The applications are first grouped by their
   usage which is easy to understand classification scheme.  This set of
   applications may, of course, expand over time as the Quantum Internet
   matures.  Finally, some general requirements for the Quantum Internet
   are also provided.

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   This document can also serve as an introductory text to readers
   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 Quantum Internet
   functionality required to implement the application scenarios
   described herein.

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 instead on detailing
   application scenarios, requirements, and describing typical Quantum
   Internet applications.  However, some salient observations can be
   made regarding security of the Quantum Internet as follows.

   It has been identified in [NISTIR8240] that once large-scale quantum
   computing becomes reality that it will be able to break many of the
   public-key (i.e., asymmetric) cryptosystems currently in use.  This
   is because of the increase in computing ability with quantum
   computers for certain classes of problems (e.g., prime factorization,
   optimizations).  This would negatively affect many of the security
   mechanisms currently in use on the Classical Internet which are based
   on public-key (Diffie-Hellman) encryption.  This has given strong
   impetus for starting development of new cryptographic systems that
   are secure against quantum computing attacks [NISTIR8240].

   Interestingly, development of the Quantum Internet will also mitigate
   the threats posed by quantum computing attacks against Diffie-Hellman
   based public-key cryptosystems.  Specifically, the secure
   communication setup feature of the Quantum Internet as described in
   Section 4.1 will be strongly resistant to both classical and quantum
   computing attacks against Diffie-Hellman based public-key

   A key additional threat consideration for the Quantum Internet is
   pointed to by [RFC7258], which warns of the dangers of pervasive
   monitoring as a widespread attack on privacy.  Pervasive monitoring
   is defined as a widespread, and usually covert, surveillance through
   intrusive gathering of application content or protocol metadata such
   as headers.  This can be accomplished through active or passive
   wiretaps, traffic analysis, or subverting the cryptographic keys used
   to secure communications.

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   The secure communication setup feature of the Quantum Internet as
   described in Section 4.1 will be strongly resistant to pervasive
   monitoring based on directly attacking (Diffie-Hellman) encryption
   keys.  Also, Section 4.2 describes a method to perform remote quantum
   computing while preserving the privacy of the source data.  Finally,
   the intrinsic property of qubits to decohere if they are observed,
   albeit covertly, will theoretically allow detection of unwanted
   monitoring in some future solutions.

   Modern networks are implemented with zero trust principles where
   classical cryptography is used for confidentiality, integrity
   protection, and authentication on many of the logical layers of the
   network stack, often all the way from device to software in the cloud
   [NISTSP800-207].  The cryptographic solutions in use today are based
   on well-understood primitives, provably secure protocols and state-
   of-the-art implementations that are secure against a variety of side-
   channel attacks.

   In contrast to conventional cryptography and Post-Quantum
   Cryptography (PQC), the security of QKD is inherently tied to the
   physical layer, which makes the threat surfaces of QKD and
   conventional cryptography quite different.  QKD implementations have
   already been subjected to publicized attacks [Zhao2008] and the
   National Security Agency (NSA) notes that the risk profile of
   conventional cryptography is better understood [NSA].  The fact that
   conventional cryptography and PQC are implemented at a higher layer
   than the physical one means PQC can be used to securely send
   protected information through untrusted relays.  This is in stark
   contrast with QKD, which relies on hop-by-hop security between
   intermediate trusted nodes.  The PQC approach is better aligned with
   the modern technology environment, in which more applications are
   moving toward end-to-end security and zero-trust principles.  It is
   also important to note that while PQC can be deployed as a software
   update, QKD requires new hardware.  In addition, IETF has a working
   group on Post-Quantum Use In Protocols (PQUIP) that is studying PQC
   transition issues.

   Regarding QKD implementation details, the NSA states that
   communication needs and security requirements physically conflict in
   QKD and that the engineering required to balance them has extremely
   low tolerance for error.  While conventional cryptography can be
   implemented in hardware in some cases for performance or other
   reasons, QKD is inherently tied to hardware.  The NSA points out that
   this makes QKD less flexible with regard to upgrades or security
   patches.  As QKD is fundamentally a point-to-point protocol, the NSA
   also notes that QKD networks often require the use of trusted relays,
   which increases the security risk from insider threats.

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   The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre cautions against reliance on
   QKD, especially in critical national infrastructure sectors, and
   suggests that PQC as standardized by the NIST is a better solution
   [NCSC].  Meanwhile, the National Cybersecurity Agency of France has
   decided that QKD could be considered as a defense-in-depth measure
   complementing conventional cryptography, as long as the cost incurred
   does not adversely affect the mitigation of current threats to IT
   systems [ANNSI].

9.  Acknowledgments

   The authors want to thank Michele Amoretti, Mathias Van Den Bossche,
   Xavier de Foy, Patrick Gelard, Álvaro Gómez Iñesta, Mallory Knodel,
   Wojciech Kozlowski, John Mattsson, Rodney Van Meter, Colin Perkins,
   Joey Salazar, and Joseph Touch, Brian Trammell, and the rest of the
   QIRG community as a whole for their very useful reviews and comments
   to the document.

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   [Ben-Or]   Ben-Or, M. and A. Hassidim, "Fast Quantum Byzantine
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              Broadbent, A. and et. al., "Universal Blind Quantum
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              Cacciapuoti, A.S. and et. al., "When Entanglement meets
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              Cacciapuoti, A.S. and et. al., "Quantum Internet:
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   [E91]      Ekert, A.K., "Quantum Cryptography with Bell's Theorem",
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Authors' Addresses

   Chonggang Wang
   InterDigital Communications, LLC
   1001 E Hector St
   Conshohocken,  19428
   United States of America

   Akbar Rahman
   349 Terry Fox Drive
   Ottawa Ontario  K2K 2V6
   Email: Akbar.Rahman@Ericsson.Com

   Ruidong Li
   Kanazawa University
   Ishikawa Prefecture 920-1192

   Melchior Aelmans
   Juniper Networks
   Boeing Avenue 240

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   Kaushik Chakraborty
   The University of Edinburgh
   10 Crichton Street
   EH8 9AB, Scotland
   United Kingdom

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