QuICS Fellow Wins Best Paper Award for Theoretical Work in Quantum Cryptography

August 7, 2015

A Fellow in the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer (QuICS) was recently recognized for his research on a new method for constructing secure one-time memories based on quantum physics.

Yi-Kai Liu received an Outstanding Conference Paper award in June from the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL), part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

In addition to his role in QuICS, Liu is a staff scientist at NIST.

Liu’s paper, published in the proceedings of last year’s CRYPTO conference, develops innovative techniques for encrypting information using isolated qubits. This could impact the way data is protected in the future.

One-time memory systems allow for data to be securely stored so that only a party with a given key can access them and can only do so once. Liu’s proposed method of secure one-time memory would use isolated qubits that protect the data from tampering.

Liu says he hopes this award will bring more attention to this research, which opens up new possible uses for quantum cryptography.

“This project on quantum-based one-time memories is trying to look far into the future, to find radically new ideas about how to improve computer security using quantum devices,” he says.

Ronald F. Boisvert, the acting associate director of ITL, says Liu’s paper is the first to demonstrate the viability of secure one-time memories using isolated qubits, which he calls a “landmark” in the field of quantum cryptography.

“Dr. Liu’s research exemplifies the creativity and high technical quality that is a hallmark of NIST science,” he says. “Its realization in this landmark paper is highly deserving of recognition by ITL as its top conference paper of 2014.”

QuICS is a research partnership between NIST and the University of Maryland. It is one of 16 labs and centers in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies.

—Story by Joe Zimmermann