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Post-Quantum Research was an initiative of the Newton Gateway to Mathematics, with support from GCHQ.

There is a realistic possibility that in the medium term the power of quantum computation will have the potential to compromise some cyber security systems. This initiative aims to identify and address the most important challenges and directions for post-quantum cyber-security research now and in the future.

A key area is the need to develop and broaden the post-quantum research community in the UK and a programme of activities is being developed in order to help address this. There is also a current need to develop classical cryptographic security into schemes that are resistant to quantum computer attack.

A two day workshop was held in May 2014 where progress was made to identify exactly what the problems are, in particular, the capabilities and demonstration limitations of a quantum computer. This highlighted the need for consensus on this in order to inform the assessment of potential cryptographic systems. Four break-out sessions were run on the second day of the workshop and addressed the following:

  1. What is the state-of-the-art in quantum algorithms?
  2. What are the mathematical challenges in quantum algorithms?
  3. What are the cyber security issues today?
  4. What are the challenges for mathematicians in cyber security arising out of quantum computing?

Overall feedback from those who attended the event was positive and highlighted the benefit of having a wide spread of backgrounds in attendance. These were advantageous in helping facilitate the range of discussions that took place, allowing for good exploration of the issues/threats that could potentially be faced in the future.

A second workshop Post-Quantum Research - Addressing Future Challenges and Directions took place on the 18th - 19th September 2014. This took forward ideas generated in the first workshop, with a key aim to gain consensus in identifying the mathematical challenges in post-quantum cryptography. There was also a focus on setting the agenda for future research directions and the event was open to a wider audience, including public and industrial stakeholders.