Quantum Computing Terminology

Cryptographic Agility
The ability of a system, protocol, or application to easily switch, adapt, or upgrade cryptographic algorithms and protocols without major disruptions to its normal operation.
Cryptographically Relevant Quantum Computers
The process where quantum systems lose their quantum properties, like superposition and entanglement, due to interactions with their environment.
In QC, entanglement is a phenomenon in which two or more quantum systems become correlated in such a way that their collective state cannot be described independently of each other, even when they are separated by large distances. The ability for qubits to correlate to each other. Einstein coined this "spooky action at a distance". Gravity is one example. We still can't really explain what it is, but once we understand how it behaves, we can make extensive use of it (hydro electric power, anchoring a boat, etc.).
Harvest Now Decrypt Later (aka HNDL or SNDL)
An adversary's strategy to collect (harvest or store) encrypted data now, to decrypt when future technology allows it.
Migration Time
The number of years needed to properly and safely migrate the system to a quantum-safe solution
Mosca’s Theorem
If x=y>Z, then "we have a serious problem. Where
  • (x) - Shelf Life) How long do you need your cryptographic keys to remain secure?
  • (y)- Migration Time) How long will it take to deploy a set of tools that are quantum-safe?
  • (z) - Collapse time) How long will it be before QC breaks the currently deployed public-key cryptography tools?
Modular Reasoning, Knowledge and Language (MRKL, pronounced "miracle") Systems
A neuro-symbolic architecture that combine LLMs (neural computation) and external tools like calculators (symbolic computation), to solve complex problems.
Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) Era
The current state of quantum computing. It is characterized by quantum processors containing 50-100 qubits which are not yet advanced enough for fault-tolerance or large enough to achieve quantum supremacy. These processors, which are sensitive to their environment (noisy) and prone to quantum decoherence, are not yet capable of continuous quantum error correction. This intermediate-scale is defined by the quantum volume, which is based on the moderate number of qubits and gate fidelity.
Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC, quantum-proof, quantum-safe or quantum-resistant)
Refers to cryptographic algorithms or methods (usually public-key) that are thought not to be specifically vulnerable to attack by either a quantum or classical computer.
Quantum Key Distribution (QKD)
A secure communication method that uses quantum mechanics to generate and share cryptographic keys between parties.
Quantum Computer
A computer that uses the collective properties of quantum states, such as superposition, interference, and entanglement, to perform calculations.
Quantum Information Systems (aka QIS
The interdisciplinary field studying the principles and applications of quantum mechanics for information processing, computation, and communication.
Quantum-Resistant Digital Infrastructure
Infrastructure that can withstand attacks from quantum computers.
Short for "quantum bit". The basic unit of quantum information, is analogous to a classical bit. Unlike a classical bit, which can only be in a state of 0 or 1, a qubit can be in a superposition of both states simultaneously, allowing for more powerful quantum computations and cryptography.
The day when quantum computers are powerful enough to break our current encryption
The moment that QC proves that it is faster than even the best theoretical conventional computer. Google claims to already have done this.
The number of years the information must be protected by the cyber-system
Threat Timeline
The number of years before the relevant threat actors will be able to break the quantum-vulnerable systems (3-10 years)
Shor’s Algorithm
A quantum computer algorithm for finding the prime factors of integers very quickly. This has been proven to work on QCs for small numbers. By comparison, RSA-2048 would take a traditional computer 1 trillion years to crack. It will take a QC 10 seconds.
Grover’s Algorithm
Can be used to speed up the search for the secret key used by symmetric cryptography to guarantee the confidentiality of most of our data exchanges and storages, as well as the search for the passwords we use to secure our personal accounts.
Year to Quantum when current cryptography breaks; It's a reference to Y2K but perhaps more disruptive as the date is unknown.

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