FAU to Serve on Specialized Agency of the United Nations

United Nations, International Telecommunication Union, Physics, Cyber Threats, Quantum Secure Communication

FAU graduate student Tahereh Rezaei with Warner A. Miller, Ph.D., a professor of physics and associate dean for research in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, who is serving as FAU’s ITU representative.


By gisele galoustian | 12/5/2018

Florida Atlantic University recently was appointed to serve as a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) focused on information and communication technologies. FAU is among a handful of academic institutions representing the United States and the only academic institution in Florida serving as a member of ITU. FAU’s appointment to ITU was approved by the U.S. State Department.

ITU was founded in Paris in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union and become a specialized agency of the UN in 1947. ITU allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develops technical standards to ensure that networks and technologies interconnect seamlessly, and works to improve access to information and communication technologies to underserved communities worldwide. More than 800 leading companies and academic institutions are members of ITU and represent a cross-section of global information and communication technologies.

Warner A. Miller, Ph.D., a professor of physics and associate dean for research in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, is serving as FAU’s ITU representative. He is spearheading a sub-group on global quantum-safe communication standards in collaboration with FAU colleagues and leading academic institutions in Europe, Asia and throughout the world, to shape all future requirements from both a government and industry perspective. Miller is helping to develop, for the first time, standards for quantum cryptography for the sub-group – ITU’s study group 17 (SG17). His areas of expertise include quantum information geometry and quantum gravity, among others.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve as a member of this prestigious and influential special agency of the United Nations,” said Miller. “We are very excited to collaborate with other members of the International Telecommunication Union and its study group 17 on quantum-safe communications, which is a vital and enormous growth area for the United States,” said Miller. “Using quantum cryptography, we are committed to reducing fraud and identity theft and stopping cyber attackers from compromising sensitive data globally.”

ITU’s SG17 is currently working on cybersecurity; security management; security architectures and frameworks; countering spam; identity management; the protection of personally identifiable information; and the security of applications and services for the Internet of Things (IoT), smart grid, smartphones, software defined networking (SDN), web services, big data analytics, social networks, cloud computing, mobile financial systems, IPTV and telebiometrics.

In 2015, FAU and SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest telecommunication company entered into a research and education collaboration agreement to develop secure communications using quantum physics for applications in cryptology, hardware engineering and quantum computing. For this ITU initiative, Miller is working closely with SK Telecom, ID Quantique, a Swiss-based world leader in quantum-safe security, and the Hudson Institute, a think tank and research center dedicated to nonpartisan analysis of U.S. and international economic, security, and political issues, on this leading technology for next-generation security systems.

“Using the laws of physics to block eavesdropping attempts from hackers, quantum cryptography is going to globally revolutionize how we protect our data,” said Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Science. “We are extremely proud of Dr. Miller’s and Florida Atlantic University’s role on the International Telecommunication Union. Their efforts will help to ensure that the exchange of data is secure for numerous industries such as finance and banking and health care as well as military and government entities. Moreover, the educational component of this collaboration will help to make sure that we have a highly-trained workforce of quantum cryptography experts.”

Miller, who is currently at the Hudson Institute working with industry, academia and federal agencies on these quantum standards for the January 2019 ITU meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, also is establishing a quantum core at FAU involving experts from physics, mathematics and computer science. He has been working closely with one of the university’s research pillars, the Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE), and FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, to jointly develop a quantum certificate program at the university.

“Belonging to the International Telecommunication Union and being involved at the national and international levels will provide Florida Atlantic University with a ‘quantum leap’ in this realm and will place us at the forefront of research and education is this rapidly emerging field of quantum secured communication.” 

Today, there are more than 7 billion cell phone subscribers, more than 1.4 billion households with access to television, and tens of millions of new Internet users every year. Furthermore, hundreds of millions of people globally use satellite services for a multitude of purposes such as GPS navigation systems. Data breaches and cyberattacks affect millions of businesses and households each year, hindering the integrity of critical systems, leaking private information and paralyzing Internet infrastructures.

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