Generalized Hybrid Search and Applications to Blockchain and Hash Function Security

TitleGeneralized Hybrid Search and Applications to Blockchain and Hash Function Security
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsCojocaru, A, Garay, J, Song, F
Date Published11/7/2023

In this work we first examine the hardness of solving various search problems by hybrid quantum-classical strategies, namely, by algorithms that have both quantum and classical capabilities. We then construct a hybrid quantum-classical search algorithm and analyze its success probability. Regarding the former, for search problems that are allowed to have multiple solutions and in which the input is sampled according to arbitrary distributions we establish their hybrid quantum-classical query complexities -- i.e., given a fixed number of classical and quantum queries, determine what is the probability of solving the search task. At a technical level, our results generalize the framework for hybrid quantum-classical search algorithms proposed by Rosmanis. Namely, for an arbitrary distribution D on Boolean functions, the probability an algorithm equipped with τc classical and τq quantum queries succeeds in finding a preimage of 1 for a function sampled from D is at most νD⋅(2τc−−√+2τq+1)2, where νD captures the average (over D) fraction of preimages of 1. As applications of our hardness results, we first revisit and generalize the security of the Bitcoin protocol called the Bitcoin backbone, to a setting where the adversary has both quantum and classical capabilities, presenting a new hybrid honest majority condition necessary for the protocol to properly operate. Secondly, we examine the generic security of hash functions against hybrid adversaries. Regarding our second contribution, we design a hybrid algorithm which first spends all of its classical queries and in the second stage runs a ``modified Grover'' where the initial state depends on the distribution D. We show how to analyze its success probability for arbitrary target distributions and, importantly, its optimality for the uniform and the Bernoulli distribution cases.