The HellasQCI project held its first training event on September 18-19 and 21-22, 2023, at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. The training was designed to provide participants with theoretical and practical knowledge on quantum communication, with the goal of enhancing the security of sensitive data and critical infrastructures in Greece and co-creating EuroQCI.

The 4-day event was launched by the new Secretary General of Telecommunications and Post, Konstantinos Karantzalos, followed by welcoming remarks from Prof. Stefanos Kollias, Chairman of the Board of Directors GRNET S.A. The keynote speech, “Quantum Technologies – QKD Landscape in Europe,” was given by Dr. Eleni Diamanti, CNRS research director at Sorbonne University in Paris.

The training was open to cybersecurity professionals, IT managers and engineers, security and IT experts, researchers, students, and practitioners in the field of quantum communication, as well as decision-makers interested in future-proofing their organisation’s security infrastructure. Participants could attend in person or via livestream through the GRNET DIAVLOS service. The event had two different thematic axes, namely the “Workshop on Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) Systems” held on 18 and 19 of September and the the “Workshop on Cybersecurity with QKD Systems and Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC)” held on 21 and 22 of September. The two workshops were well-received, with an average of 100 attendees at the first workshop and 75 at the second. In total, 175 unique people attended the workshops. Additionally an average of 100 people per day participated online via the GRNET Diavlos livestream service. Sixteen trainers provided insights and knowledge on quantum communication.

The new Secretary General of Telecommunications and Post, Konstantinos Karantzalos, addressed a welcome note to commence the 4-Day Training Event.  The Secretary General mentioned: “I would like to recognize the previous leadership of the Ministry and GRNET for their work on this important project. I wish everyone a successful start to the 4-day training event”.  

The Chairman of the Board of Directors GRNET S.A., Prof. Stefanos Kollias, in his welcome speech stated: “Quantum technology is one of the technologies that already concern us and will be of great interest to us in the coming period. It will have an impact on all sectors. I am personally involved in machine learning and artificial intelligence and we’re trying to develop technologies compatible with quantum technology. So we found ourselves today at an advanced meeting and training that concerns both engineers, researchers, and students. GRNET, as coordinator of the HellasQCI project, will strive in cooperation with the partner universities to achieve the best education of engineers, students, and researchers in these technologies. I wish you a good start and good luck in this seminar”.

The event was reported on in the NetFax daily digital newsletter (on September 19, 2023), which fully covers Greek and international news in the areas of information technology and telecommunications, the internet, and e-commerce. Journalist Y. Rizopoulos emphasised that “in an era when our daily lives are increasingly dependent on digital technology, cybersecurity is a critical factor on which our very survival depends.

With the conclusion of the 4-day event, technical knowledge concerning the implementation of the project and best practices were shared, including information about the: 

  • design of the quantum communication architecture, the use-cases and the QKD (quantum key distribution) technologies that will be used throughout the implementation phase, as well as the initial steps for the trainings,
  • national stakeholder engagement through the HellasQCI community, 
  • national QCI projects from Ireland, Luxembourg and Poland and their aim to build networks using QKD technology within the EuroQCI framework.

The 4-day training on quantum communication infrastructure generated strong interest from the Greek and the European quantum community. Social media announcements were made to support and document the important work carried out and succeeded in driving more traffic to the training event, as evidenced by the significant increase in social media engagement and website visits during and after the event. The organisers of both events, in the framework of the HellasQCI project were: GRNET, National Technical University of Athens, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Foundation for Research & Technology – Hellas, National Centre of Scientific Research “Demokritos” and Space Hellas.

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