Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis (Undergraduate)

Department or Program

Department of Computer Science

First Advisor

Sean W. Smith


Cryptography is an ancient art that has passed through many paradigms, from simple letter substitutions to polyalphabetic substitutions to rotor machines to digital encryption to public-key cryptosystems. With the possible advent of quantum computers and the strange behaviors they exhibit, a new paradigm shift in cryptography may be on the horizon. Quantum computers could hold the potential to render most modern encryption useless against a quantum-enabled adversary. The aim of this thesis is to characterize this convergence of cryptography and quantum computation. We provide definitions for cryptographic primitives that frame them in general terms with respect to complexity. We explore the various possible relationships between BQP, the primary quantum complexity class, and more familiar classes, and we analyze the possible implications for cryptography.


Originally posted in the Dartmouth College Computer Science Technical Report Series, number TR2002-425.