Research at Cisco

Alternate Public Key Cryptosystems

Cisco is not currently accepting proposals for this RFP.

Project ID:



Alternate Public Key Cryptosystems


Currently standardized cryptosystems, such as those based on integer factorization, have been successfully deployed for many computer applications. However, such systems have several characteristics that limit their use in high-performance networking applications. Cisco encourages research to explore the effectiveness, security, and evolution of asymmetric cryptosystems that have better deployment properties for the high-performance network space.

Full Description:

Existing asymmetric encryption and signature systems are successfully used in many computer applications. Nevertheless such cryptosystems are affected by a number of limitations that severely limit their use in high-performance networking applications. Some of the issues are related to key size, computational complexity, need for a certification infrastructure, future proofness in the presence of Moore's law, and survivability to computational attacks based on quantum computing. Moreover, current systems are encumbered with intellectual property constraints that limit their worldwide use and incorporation into open standards.

Cisco wants to stimulate research that proves the effectiveness and security, and helps the evolution, of asymmetric cryptosystems alternative to ECC and factorization-based crypto. The area of interest includes, but is not limited to, applications or optimizations of existing methods such as one-time signatures, McEliece encryption, or group signatures, or work on fundamentally new methods. The focus is on mathematical constructions that are hardware-friendly for networking applications that require throughputs of millions of public key operations per second, or more. The goal for such new cryptosystems is to be computationally not worse than ECC for large key sizes. The scope of this RFP is limited to algorithmic cryptography; it does not include quantum cryptography.

Constraints and other information:

IPR will stay with the University. Cisco expects customary scholarly dissemination of results. Restrictions on IPR, if any, should allow for implementations worldwide and the incorporation into open standards without payment of royalties.

Proposal submission:

Please use the link below to submit a proposal for research responding to this RFP. After a preliminary review, we may ask you to revise and resubmit your proposal.

Cisco is not currently accepting proposals for this RFP.

RFPs may be withdrawn as research proposals are funded, or interest in the specific topic is satisfied. Researchers should plan to submit their proposals as soon as possible. The deadline for Submissions is the Friday of the first week of each calendar quarter (the months of January, April, July, October). Funding decisions and communication will occur within 90 days from the quarterly submission deadline. The usage of funding is expected within 12 months of funding decision. Please plan your requests accordingly.

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