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Secure & Efficient Implementation of Quantum-Safe Cryptography

Primary supervisor

Ron Steinfeld

Since the 1990s, researchers have known that commonly-used public-key cryptosystems (such as RSA and Diffie-Hellman systems) could be potentially broken using efficient algorithms running on a special type of computer based on the principles of quantum mechanics, known as a quantum computer. Due to significant recent advances in quantum computing technology, this threat may become a practical reality in the coming years. To mitigate against this threat, new `quantum-safe’ (a.k.a. `quantum-resistant’ or `post-quantum') algorithm standards for public-key cryptography are in development [1], that are believed to be resistant against quantum computing attacks.


Student cohort

Single Semester
Double Semester


This project aims to investigate aspects of practical and secure implementation and evaluation of quantum-safe encryption or digital signature algorithms in typical application settings. A primary goal is to evaluate the third-round algorithms of the NIST PQC process [1]. Depending on the interest of the student, there are several alternative project goals that can be chosen:

    Software implementation: Experimenting with, optimising, and evaluating software implementation aspects of quantum-safe algorithms, including one or more of:
    • Evaluation with standard protocols such as TLS/SSL (see [4] for related work).
    • Low-power embedded processor implementations
    • Cryptographic APIs and their `post-quantum’ suitability for specific applications such as Hardware Security Modules (HSMs, see e.g. [5]).  
    • Security evaluation against side-channel attacks (e.g. [6] for prior work).
    • Design and evaluation of practical countermeasures against power or electromagnetic radiation analysis side-channel attacks (e.g.[7] for prior work).
  • Optimisation: Investigating and identifying the bottlenecks of quantum-safe algorithms, in terms of runtime, memory, and/or sizes. Designing and Evaluating optimisation techniques for quantum-safe algorithms, including (but not limited to) one or more of: 
    • Optimising the runtime and/or memory efficiency of critical arithmetic operations used by lattice-based algorithms e.g., polynomial ring multiplication techniques such as the Number Theoretic Transform (NTT) [3]
    • Designing and evaluating efficient side-channel resistant implementation techniques for basic e.g. [7] and advanced lattice-based cryptographic applications e.g. [2].
    • Optimising the sizes of the advanced lattice-based cryptographic applications e.g. [2]

Industry Involvement: Students taking this project will potentially have the opportunity to work with the technical team of the company Senetas [8], a Melbourne-based world-leading provider of high-performance cryptography hardware and software products.



[1] National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC) Standardisation project.

[2] RK. Zhao et al. Quantum-safe HIBE: does it cost a Latte?

[3] JM. Pollard. The Fast Fourier Transform in a finite field.

[4] Open Quantum Safe (OQS) project.

[5] Thales. Hardware Security Modules.

[6] P. Ravi et al. Generic Side-channel attacks on CCA-secure lattice-based PKE and KEMs.

[7] V. Migliore et al. Masking Dilithium: Efficient Implementation and Side-Channel Evaluation.



Required knowledge

Depending on the nature of the specific project topic selected, the student should have one (or more) of:

  • Good programming skills, preferably in C/Assembly/Java/C#.
  • Good mathematical skills, 
  • Familiarity with the basics of cryptography, and preferably taking the unit FIT5124 (Advanced Topics in Security).

If in doubt, please contact the primary supervisor for advice.

Previously Offered: No.