Physics-Informed Quantum Communication Networks: A Vision Towards the Quantum Internet

by   Mahdi Chehimi, et al.

Quantum communications is a promising technology that will play a fundamental role in the design of future networks. In fact, significant efforts are being dedicated by both the quantum physics and the classical communications communities on developing new architectures, solutions, and practical implementations of quantum communication networks (QCNs). Although these efforts led to various advances in today's technologies, there still exists a non-trivial gap between the research efforts of the two communities on designing and optimizing the QCN performance. For instance, most prior works by the classical communications community ignore important quantum physics-based constraints when designing QCNs. For example, many works on entanglement distribution do not account for the decoherence of qubits inside quantum memories and, thus, their designs become impractical since they assume an infinite quantum states' lifetime. In this paper, we introduce a novel framework, dubbed physics-informed QCNs, for designing and analyzing the performance of QCNs, by relying on the quantum physics principles that underly the different QCN components. The need of the proposed approach is then assessed and its fundamental role in designing practical QCNs is analyzed across various open research areas. Moreover, we identify novel physics-informed performance metrics and controls that enable QCNs to leverage the state-of-the-art advancements in quantum technologies to enhance their performance. Finally, we analyze multiple pressing challenges and open research directions in QCNs that must be treated using a physics-informed approach to lead practically viable results. Ultimately, this work attempts to bridge the gap between the classical communications and the quantum physics communities in the area of QCNs to foster the development of future communication networks (6G and beyond, and the quantum Internet).


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