University of Hertfordshire

School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science


Classical and Quantum Security, Networks and Distributed Systems


The following research areas are currently being explored and are available to join under the PhD programme. For further information please contact Dr William Joseph Spring via


Quantum Based Distributed Systems and Networks


Team: Dr William Joseph Spring, Dr Hannan Xiao, Preeti Kandwal


Recent developments in technology for quantum based repeaters have extended the range available for communicating information enabling the potential for realising quantum based networks, distributed systems and a quantum based internet. Quantum repeaters employing entanglement swapping are currently reported as achieving distances in excess of 100km together with reports of direct peer to peer quantum key distribution also in excess of 100km. Quantum based networks are under development with a range of 2000km, with private commercial quantum communication networks already reported as completed.


The areas of research that this group is involved in are:


·      Quantum Ad Hoc Networks

·      Quantum IoT (Internet of Things)

·      Quantum Concepts for Distributed Environments

·      Quantum Stochastic Processes with Applications in Distributed Systems


Classical and Quantum Based Voting Schemes


Team: Dr William Joseph Spring


Various properties have emerged as being desirable from the literature regarding classical secret ballot voting schemes. Amongst these is the concept of resilience which involves the properties of universal verifiability, privacy, and robustness. A universally verifiable election scheme is a scheme deemed open to scrutiny by all interested parties. Compliance with this property ensures that ballots are carried out correctly and that subsequent tallies are fairly assessed. From a scheme satisfying the privacy property an honest participant is assured that their vote remains confidential, provided the number of attackers does not grow too large. With the property of robustness an election scheme has the capacity to recover from faults again, provided the number of parties involved does not grow too large. Schemes satisfying these three properties are said to be resilient. The concept of a receipt-free election scheme has also emerged as a desirable property particularly as a counter to the risk of vote buying/coercion. Receipt-free election schemes ensure that voters cannot prove, to other parties, the particular vote cast within the scheme. Further desirable properties, are to be found in the literature. Voting protocols performed within a classical setting are in general grouped according to their use of: homomorphism, MIX nets and blind signatures.


Since the publication of the ground breaking paper ‘Quantum Protocols for Anonymous Voting and Surveying’ in 2007, quantum based voting schemes have developed into an established area of research in its own right, with quantum based schemes involving anonymity, verifiability, conjugate coding, distributed multipartite states, quantum key distribution, quantum blockchains and quantum games.  Hand in hand with secure systems comes the potential for attacks based for example, on corrupt voters, forgery, impersonation, exploitable protocols, and lattice-based attacks


The areas of research that this group is involved in are:


·      Quantum Blockchains, Games and Voting Schemes

·      Quantum Free (PQC) Voting Schemes

·      Quantum Stochastic Voting Protocols


Classical and Quantum based Cybersecurity


Team: Dr William J Spring, Dr Hannan Xiao, Aldo Febro, Jacob Abegunde, Peter Orioha


The advent of Shor’s algorithm in the mid 1990’s raised the potential to disarm asymmetric cipher schemes based on either the DLP, ECDLP or IFP. Governments, security agencies and e-commerce were now under threat, concerned with the anticipated timescale involved in developing a quantum computer, a quantum computer with sufficient processing power upon which Shors algorithm could effectively be run. However devastating a prospect this appeared to be, the cryptographic community responded to the challenge of developing quantum free cyber schemes under the umbrella of Post Quantum Cryptography. From a cryptographic perspective the post quantum community turned their attention to developing replacements for, for example RSA and El Gamal based on hash based, code based, lattice based and multivariate based algorithms. Symmetric Key cryptography remained unscathed by both Shor’s algorithm and Grover’s quantum based, search algorithm.

The areas of quantum research that this group is involved in are:


·      Analysis of multipartite quantum-based systems

·      Quantum protocols and their applications

·      Quantum Cryptography

·      Integrating Quantum Concepts into Cybersecurity


From a classical perspective the areas that this group is involved in are:


·      Post Quantum Cryptography

·      Living in a quantum free world

·      Lightweight Cryptography for IoT

·      Securing the edge of IoT Networks

·      Smart protocols employing games and blockchains

·      Intrusion detection and countermeasures for attacks on IoT routing