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Tuesday, 24 January 2006 22:10

Vic Gov't pours $3.3m in quantum cryptography JV

The Victorian Government has put $3.3 million into a new joint venture company - Quantum Communications Victoria - Industry Development Initiative (QCV-IDI) - with MagiQ, one of the world's leading players in the emerging technology of quantum cryptography, and SGI (formerly Silicon Graphics).

QCV-IDI CEO, Dr Shane Huntington, said: "the joint venture places Victoria as a recognised centre of activity in the rapidly expanding global area of quantum communications and is expected to open new avenues of research in nanotechnology and photonics. We expect great advances, both scientific and economic, out of the joint venture."

Other partners in the JV are Qucor and the University of Melbourne. Qucor is a start-up company set up in 2003 to commercialise new technologies developed from quantum computing research undertaken in Australia. It claims to be "backed by the very substantial technical expertise and infrastructure of Australia's Centre for Quantum Computer Technology, headquartered at the University of NSW." It is headed by professor Robert Clark.

Under terms of the agreement, all members of the joint venture will share in the development of intellectual property and commercialisation of photon sources The grant will be used to develop communication devices "capable of producing and using single photons for storing and transferring vast amounts of information with impenetrable encryption."

MagiQ, headquartered in New York, claims to be the first company to commercialise advancements in quantum information. It was founded in 1999 and is privately held.

It already has commercial products providing quantum cryptography encryption for communications links. The company announced last November that its QPN7505 had completed field tests with a number of telcos, defence and OEM customers, including Nortel. It is claimed to be able to provide encryption for gigabit links over distances up to 160kms, by cascading two systems.

MagicIQ CEO, Bob Gelfond claimed that: "For the last several months, we've had our QPN 7505 out in the real world, ensuring it lived up to the promises we made to our customers. The results have been excellent, with defence, OEM and major telco providers deploying unbreakable encryption."

The device is billed as "a next-generation quantum cryptography system that relies on the laws of physics rather than the computational difficulty of breaking keys." It is "easily integrated into existing digital computing network infrastructures and incorporates real-time key generation with quantum distribution for absolute certainty in detecting compromised keys and providing real time intrusion detection."

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