The SHA-1
collision project

Future developments

Towards tera-computing cryptanalysis

The evolution of computing technologies is today at a turning-point. Next-generation computing platforms and emerging hardware technologies are enabling radically new computational models and computational power levels, opening up unprecedented scenarios for tera-computing applications. On the one hand, the availability of low-cost, massively parallel and/or dedicated hardware platforms, ranging from HPC and cloud computing to FPGAs and configurable ASICs, is broadening the spectrum of computational resources accessible to both public and private organizations and is increasing the computational power/cost ratio at impressive speed. On the other hand, completely new underlying technologies for information processing are progressively taking shape: quantum computing, optical computing, bio-chemistry based computing outline groundbreaking scenarios for the next few decades and, although most of them are still in an experimental stage, it is of paramount importance to understand their implications and their potential consequences. As a matter of fact, the multifaceted reality of tera-computing and its unprecedented opportunities may deeply impact several application domains, including, in primis, cryptography.

The activity presented in this web site will be part of a larger research initiative, addressing the systematic study of present and future technology-enabled cryptanalysis approaches, introduced by the next wave of tera-computing information processing technologies.

The overall research project will focus on understanding the computational aspects inherent in the full spectrum of cryptanalytic techniques. As a key, ambitious, highly interdisciplinary objective, indeed, it will look at the different technologies horizontally, trying to distill the common aspects that are relevant to understand their impact on cryptanalysis. In particular, the project will aim to characterize and quantify the potential of next-generation computing platforms, ranging from HPC, cloud computing, multi-core and GPU architectures down to massively parallel hardware systems relying on FPGA or customizable ASIC technologies. This part of the study will encompass both high-level, conceptual aspects as well as on-field experiments and the development of prototypes to demonstrate the feasibility of the techniques devised. Additionally, the project will study the impact of future information processing technologies, such as quantum and molecular computing, exploring high-level designs and approaches for the implementation of cryptanalytic applications exploiting their specific characteristics.