Ph.D. in Cryptography and Quantum Computing

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Fang Song 宋方    

Assistant Professor
Computer Science Department
Portland State University

I am inviting Ph.D. applications in cryptography, quantum computing, and general areas of theoretical computer science (TCS) starting Fall 2018, in the Computer Science Department at Portland State University. Competitive financial supports (TAship and RAship) are available with comprehensive benefits.

Portland State U is located in the heart of Portland, Oregon, one of America’s most dynamic cities. It gives unmatched access to career connections (e.g., Intel) and an internationally acclaimed natural recreational destination and culture scene. Recently, it’s becoming an emerging hub for IT industry (Portland gets its nickname silicon forrest) and quantum computing (Intel lab, QuArC of Microsoft Research at Redmond, WA).

A solid math background and strong interest in TCS are crucial. Suitable students from majors other than computer science (Math, Physics, Electrical Engineering etc.) are also encouraged to apply. It is advised that you contact with me to discuss your individual case. Please see below for more information about the application process, my research and the requirements. Please do not hesitate to reach me for any questions.

  • Contact: Fang Song
  • Email: fsong at
  • Starting Date: Fall 2018
  • Application Deadline: March 1, 2018 (official date). However, review starts immediately upon receiving your complete application, so please start early.

How to apply?

Please refer to the application guideline here Check out more about the Master’s Program (a poster), and the PhD program.

  • Master’s degree is NOT required for the PhD application. A Bachelor’s degree suffices.

  • Please mention my name in your application, or preferably get in touch with me before/during the application process.

What do I do?

Quantum computing provides a new paradigm for computation, and it brings in fatal threats to existing cryptography (e.g. public-key crypto will be largely broken). The central question driving my research is: how does quantum computing change the landscape of cryptography? This leads to three broad directions. The first two are concerned with the security of classical cryptosystems in the presence of quantum adversaries, and the third explores constructing quantum schemes to protect classical as well as quantum information.

  • Designing quantum algorithms and understanding the computaiontal hardness especially for problems that are critical for cryptography.

  • Developing formal models and techniques for reasoning about quantum adversaries and analyzing security in the presence of quantum attacks.

  • Exploring the power of quantum information processing, including quantum cryptography (honest users use quantum technology for both classical and quantum cryptographic tasks), quantum computational complexity.

Feel free to scan through my papers to get some idea.

What am I expecting?

Other than reasonable maturity in math (in particular Probability, Linear Algebra) and core CS knowledge, what TCS requires the most is your self-motivation and perseverance (true for PhD in general but more so in TCS). You have to enjoy what you do and lead your way by your curiosity and determination. Read the many web discussions on why go to TCS (e.g., and if you find NO resonance with those comments, you may want to think again before you apply.

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