Associate Professor Dr Zuriati Ahmad Zulkarnain with her achievement medals and trophies.

QUANTUM computing is essentially harnessing and exploiting the amazing laws of quantum mechanics to process information. A traditional computer uses long strings of “bits”, which encode either a zero or a one.

A quantum computer, on the other hand, uses quantum bits, or qubits. What’s the difference?

A qubit is a quantum system that encodes the zero and the one into two distinguishable quantum states.

So, quantum communication is a communication based on qubit. For example, it is used for any experiment that involves two or more qubits.

Right now, you can’t see the quantum communication just yet. It could happen if every single device is quantum technology, for example, quantum ATM machine, quantum networks, quantum computer and many others.

How then can this improve your life? Let’s take quantum computers, for example, which could model and execute high scientific data such as producing a new type of medicine, drugs, DNA and other chemical processes.

It also can estimate the transportation routes, hence, flight routes become shorter.

Quantum computers could help scientists to explore new life in space and estimate how to cure cancer in terms of medicine and the cancer itself.

So, quantum communication promises unconditional security with faster transmission. The current digital communication mechanism suffers serious drawbacks due to its inherent weakness.

Unlike digital communication, quantum communication is based on complex quantum mechanism principles.

Hence, quantum-based experiments are expensive and sophisticated due to its optical components and sensitive mode.

In order to achieve an effective simulation for quantum communication, experiments are required not only in computer science but also mathematics, physics and engineering aspects.

Recognising that fact, lecturer from Department of Communication Technology and Networking, Faculty of Computer Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Associate Professor Dr Zuriati Ahmad Zukarnain created a quantum communication simulator (QuCS) software to help researchers simulate and model virtual quantum experiments.

“In order to develop a large-scale computer quantum, the technology we used is a photonic circuit (light-based electromagnetic waves), trapped ions and superconducting electronic devices (solutions that can drain electrical current).

“The cost of providing experimental equipment in the field can reach RM1 million because it involves expensive hardware that is very sensitive to temperature and environmental noise,” said Zuriati.

According to her, quantum fields are quite difficult to understand among researchers as they require the foundation of physics and mathematics as well as knowledge in computer science and engineering.

Zuriati, who received a doctorate in 2005 from Bradford University, United Kingdom in quantum computing, also said conducting quantum bit experiments is a complex mathematical calculation operation with analytical and numerical analysis.

“QuCS helps researchers conduct experiments in the field of quantum computers virtually.

“Therefore, through QuCS researchers can conduct quantum experiments at low cost. Investigators may make estimates to purchase equipment in developing quantum experiments and computer network configurations with the right decision.

“Through QuCS a quantum experimental researcher can define the basic components required to carry out a quantum experiment and make planning on the necessary provisions.

“In addition, they can also make comparative analysis with greater confidence and accuracy based on simulations and modeling conducted before actual quantum experiments are implemented.

“QuCS is arguably the first such software to be developed for the purpose of quantum computer concept simulations thoroughly. Previously, the technology-related software was limited to photonic analysis only.

“However, the simulator lacks various experiments components in order to build the higher lever experiments. Hence, our future goals are to enhance both quality of results and quantity of components,” said Zuriati, founder of ZA Quantum Sdn Bhd who is the pioneer in producing the software for Quantum Experiment and Communication.

“Quantum experiments basically cover both continuous and discrete events. Further, a few devices have its own dynamics action, for example, avalanche photo detector (APD). Hence, a combination of discrete, continuous and system dynamic simulation techniques are involved to develop a quantum communication simulator.

“Overall, QuCS simulates the life cycle of qubit during experiments. The proposed simulation designed as GUI (Graphical User Interface) based drag and drop solution with various Internet features.

“It takes just a simple drag-and-drop method to develop a quantum experiment. This is a simulator abstract and encapsulates the quantum mechanics principle.

“This tool can serve for both teaching as well as research,” she added.

Zuriati’s research interests include efficient multiparty QKD (quantum key distribution) protocol for classical network and cloud, load balancing in the wireless ad hoc network and quantum processor unit for quantum computer among others. She is currently undertaking a national funded project on QKD protocol for cloud environment.

Achievements

i) Gold Medal at 2016 International Invention Innovation Competition in Canada (iCAN 2016)

ii) Special Award at 2016 International Invention Innovation Competition in Canada (iCAN 2016)

iii) World Woman Science Grand Award at the 3rd World Scientist Awards (WSA) 2016 in Seoul, South Korea

iv) Innovative Inventor Grand Award’ for ‘Order of Merit: Information Technology’ at the 5th World Inventor Award Festival (WIAF) 2016