Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science
ACC Top Page » Algebra and Cryptology Center

Secure transmission of online data depends on public key cryptosystems, but the public key systems in use today are vulnerable to attacks by quantum computers. Small quantum computers have been built, and bigger ones are coming. New cryptosystems are necessary.

Public key cryptosystems are based on algebraic problems, called cryptoprimitives, which are very difficult to solve without knowledge of certain secret information (the private key). A robust search for new cryptoprimitives is underway, but rather than focusing on this search the ACC is exploring a wide variety of computational problems in order to gain a better understanding of what makes a good cryptoprimitive. Our goals are

  • Insight into how best to test if a computational problem is suitable for use as a cryptoprimitive;
  • Development of generic case complexity, a complexity measure suited to cryptology;
  • Cryptanalysis of existing or proposed public key cryptosystems.
The ACC was founded in 2005 by CS and Math faculty interested in mathematical cryptology. Since then we have hosted 40 visits to Stevens by researchers interested in our work, and organized or helped organize 30 conferences. In the last five years ACC faculty have published over 50 articles in refereed research journals.