Cracking the Code with a Quantum Computer

Quantum computers might revolutionize the world of technology. Classical computers use bits to store information in binary states. Quantum computers use qubits that can exist in entangled multiple states at once. This feature allows quantum computers to be exceedingly more efficient than current computers. With today’s computers, all encryption schemes – incl. cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin – are impossible to break in reasonable time. However, quantum computers may be able to quickly break current encryption schemes in the upcoming future.

In this master thesis you will familiarize yourself with quantum computers and their programming models, evalulate possible practical applications (e.g. cracking a private-public key pair), and then implement it on a real-world quantum computer.

Note: We have direct access to quantum computers (4 – 12 qbits) with premier support.

Tasks

  • Get acquainted with principles of quantum computing
    • Physical background
    • Programming model
    • Challenges and limitations
  • Evaluate
    • Currently accessible quantum computers (competitive landscape)
    • Possible applications that are suitable/non-suitable for quantum computing
  • Define 1-2 possible applications to be implemented on a publicly accessible quantum computer. For example:
    • Cracking the code of a simple electronic door/car key
    • Forward calculation of a simple deep learning neural network
  • Implement corresponding application programs that run
    • On a high-end PC as a reference system
    • On a quantum computer
  • Evaluate and benchmark the results
  • Document work and provide a 1 minute video summarizing the master thesis

Requirements

  • (Very) basic understanding of quantum physics
  • Fluency in a high-level programming language (e.g. Python)
  • Strong interest in quantum computing, cryptography and machine learning

References

  • Hidden In Plain Sight 10: How To Program A Quantum Computer, Andrew Thomas  (2018)
  • Why now is the right time to study quantum computing, Aram W. Harrow (2015)
  • Quantum Computing since Democritus 1st Edition, Scott Aaronson (2013)
  • Quantum Computing: A Gentle Introduction, Wolfgang Polak, Eleanor Rieffel (2011)
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_Riqjdh2oM

Kind of Work
30% Theory, 70% Implementation

Requirements
Strong interest in quantum computing

Time & Effort
Master’s Thesis, 1-2 Students

Contact
fabian.schenkel@scs.ch