Project Summary: 

The advent of scalable Quantum computers will jeopardize the entire paradigm of traditional cryptography used to date! Consequently, novel Quantum-resistant cryptographic schemes need the immediate attention of the cryptographic community. Lattice based cryptography (LBC) has emerged as one of the most viable alternatives to classical cryptographic schemes; however, several aspects relating to the practicality of these schemes have not been thoroughly evaluated. Benchmarking critical resources for applications especially lying at the extreme ends of performance requirements, i.e., ultra-low resource and ultra high-speed applications need careful evaluation.

In the proposed project we aim to investigate the practicality of LBC schemes on custom hardware by exploiting the parallelism that Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) devices offer. Additionally, the side channel analysis (SCA) vulnerabilities of the cryptographic schemes as well as an evaluation of the plausibility and cost of various countermeasures will also be benchmarked.



The objectives of this research are:

  • To study the state of the art in Lattice based cryptography and reported custom hardware implementations
  • To study and undertake Algorithmic/ Architectural optimizations to showcase Ultra-high speed LBC schemes implemented on Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) devices.
  • To evaluate the SCA-attack vulnerabilities of various LBC schemes and counteract these by reducing information leakage and proposing countermeasures against known physical attacks.
  • To explore novel architectures/ countermeasures of LBC schemes that are inherently easy to secure, as they have considerable potential in the context of protected implementations.


Academic Requirements:

Students entering the programme will normally be required to have a 2.1 BSc/BEng in Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, or a maths based engineering or physical science degree, or equivalent qualification recognised by the University. Students holding an appropriate MEng or MSc (Software conversion) will normally be required to have a 2.1 or commendation (distinction) respectively. Furthermore, additional criteria may be applied. All applicants must have significant mathematical and programming experience.


General Information: 

This 4 year PhD studentship, potentially funded by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), commences on 1 October 2019.

Eligibility for both fees and maintenance depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship. Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

Applicants should apply electronically through the Queen’s online application portal at: https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/

Further information available at:  http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/eeecs/StudyattheSchool/PhDProgrammes


Contact Details:

Supervisor Name: Dr Ayesha Khalid                                                         

Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 1767                                                                            

Email:  a.khalid@qub.ac.uk