Colloquium Details

What Quantum Computation Says About Cryptography (and Vice Versa)

Speaker: Fermi Ma, Simons Foundation

Location: 60 Fifth Avenue Room C15

Date: March 7, 2024, 2 p.m.

Host: Michael Overton


Perhaps no field will be more heavily impacted by quantum computers than cryptography. Quantum computers have the potential to break many of today’s cryptosystems, which makes it crucial to develop new ways of protecting against quantum attacks. At the same time, quantum computers open the door to new cryptographic protocols, which leverage quantum-mechanical phenomena to achieve ends that are impossible classically.
In this talk, I will discuss my work in quantum cryptography, which includes:

(1) proving the quantum security of foundational cryptographic protocols via a new technique called “quantum rewinding”, (2) introducing commitments to quantum states, a versatile tool that gives rise to powerful quantum cryptographic protocols, and (3) a lower bound indicating that breaking quantum cryptography might be harder than computing any function.

I will also highlight a fascinating connection between quantum cryptography and physics, namely that commitments to quantum states precisely capture the main computational task in the AMPS firewall paradox.

Speaker Bio:

Fermi Ma is a Simons-Berkeley Postdoctoral Fellow hosted by Umesh Vazirani. He received his PhD from Princeton, where he was advised by Mark Zhandry. His research focuses on quantum computational hardness, and its implications for the foundations of cryptography, the theory of computation, and fundamental physics.


In-person attendance only available to those with active NYU ID cards.

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