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Villanova Engineering Professor Pioneering Post-Quantum Cryptography

Dr. Jiafeng "Harvest" Xie
Dr. Jiafeng "Harvest" Xie

Quantum physics revolves around atomic and subatomic particles that defy the laws of conventional physics. Quantum particles can exist in two places at once, move backward in time, and have other physics-breaking behaviors that quantum computers capitalize on. This new wave of computing was introduced in 1998 and has led to the development of quantum computers that, in the next 15–20 years, may be millions of times faster than classic computers.

This incomprehensible processing speed poses a significant threat to future cybersecurity, especially when well-established quantum computers employing Shor’s algorithm can break nearly all the existing public-key cryptosystems. Therefore, researchers like Villanova’s Dr. Jiafeng "Harvest" Xie of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department are developing and implementing post-quantum cryptography (PQC) algorithms thought to be resistant to attacks by quantum computers. Dr. Xie has received grants from both the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to research PQC from various angles:

Efficient Hardware Implementation of Lattice-based Post-Quantum Cryptography

This project will investigate a hardware implementation framework of lattice-based PQC based on standard and ideal learning-with-errors (LWE) schemes. The outcomes of this project will facilitate the NIST’s PQC standardization process.

Fast Algorithm Originated Fault Detection Scheme for Ring-LWE based Cryptographic Hardware

Ring-Learning-with-Errors (Ring-LWE) based cryptography is regarded as one of the most promising PQC schemes because of its security and ease of implementation. When cryptographic algorithms are implemented in hardware circuits, fault detection is an essential protective strategy to fight against both natural and maliciously injected faults in cryptographic circuits. This project aims to develop a novel fault detection scheme for the Ring-LWE based PQC.

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