The Current State of Post Quantum Cryptography - ON-202

Preferred Disciplines: Computer Science, Quantum Computing (PhD and/or Post-Doc)
Company: Sectigo
Project Length: 8-12 months (2 units)
Desired start date: As soon as possible
Location: Ottawa, ON
No. of Positions: 2
Preferences: None

About the Company: 

A leading web security solutions company enabling organizations worldwide to secure their identities, web presence and connected devices. 

Project Description:

The research project to be performed will be a literature search based on topics related to post quantum cryptography.  Quantum computers have the potential to render current cryptographic algorithms insecure, so quantum-safe cryptographic algorithms are being developed. Ultimately, the research goal is to have a better understanding of the current state of quantum-safe cryptographic algorithms. 

Research Objectives:

Answer the following questions:

  • What is the current understanding of the date that quantum-safe cryptography will render current cryptographic algorithms obsolete or commercially unviable?
    • What is the latest research on 'z' date, especially based on Michele Mosca's research.  Is there other research, and does it differ?
    • What is the explicit definition of obsolete or commercially unviable?  What exactly will the attacker be able to do?  Read SSL in real time?
  • What are the leading quantum-safe cryptography algorithms? 
    • Recently NIST proposed a process for standardizing post-quantum cryptography and is currently reviewing first-round submissions. The most promising of these submissions included cryptosystems based on lattices, isogenies, hash functions, and codes.  What is the current state of research submitted to NIST?
    • Beyond NIST, what are the other research programs occuring?  Are they in early stages of research, or are they mature and well understood?
    • Is there consensus for the timeframe in which quantum-safe cryptographic algorithms considered mature?
    • What are the leading quantum-safe cryptographic algorithms?
  • What will be the engineering implications for post quantum PKI?
    • As an example, ECC certificates are quicker to issue than RSA certificates, so what will be the relative speed of issuance be for certificates related to post quantum algorithms


  • Literature search with a synthesis and summary of findings
  • Collaboration with partner company to further refine research definition

Expertise and Skills Needed:

  • Familiarity with PKI (Public Key Infrastructure)
  • Familiarity with cryptographic algorithms

For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

  1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects
  2. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform or directly to Mel Chaar