Michele Mosca

Faculty, Professor
Michele Mosca

Michele Mosca obtained a BMath at Waterloo in 1995 and was recipient of the Mathematics Faculty Alumni Gold Medal. He went to Wolfson College, University of Oxford, on a Commonwealth Scholarship, and received an MSc in Mathematics and the Foundations of Computer Science (with Distinction) in 1996. He continued at Oxford, obtaining a DPhil in quantum computer algorithms in 1999 while holding the Robin Gandy Junior Research Fellowship.

In 1999 he started Waterloo’s effort in quantum computing, with the support of the Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research, St. Jerome’s University, and his home department, Combinatorics & Optimization (C&O). He is currently Full Professor in the C&O Department of the Faculty of Mathematics. He also has cross-appointments in Computer Science and Physics & Astronomy. He is co-founder of CryptoWorks21, a training program in quantum-safe cryptography. He also initiated the Quantum Cryptography Summer School for Young Scientists (QCSYS) at IQC.

Mosca has made major contributions to the theory and practice of quantum information processing, particularly in the areas of quantum algorithms, techniques for studying the limitations of quantum computers, quantum self-testing and private quantum channels.

Together with collaborators at Oxford, he realized several of the first implementations of quantum algorithms using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. He also made major contributions to the phase estimation approach to quantum algorithms, including the hidden subgroup problems, and quantum searching and counting. In the area of quantum security, he helped define the notion of private quantum channels and develop optimal methods for encrypting quantum information using classical keys.

His current research interests include quantum computation, cryptographic tools designed to be safe against quantum technologies, and software tools for quantum information processing systems.

He is globally recognized for his drive to help academia, industry and government prepare our cyber systems to be safe in an era with quantum computers.

He was a founder of the ETSI-IQC workshop series in Quantum-Safe Cryptography which brings together a broad range of stakeholders working toward globally standardized quantum-safe cryptography. He co-founded evolutionQ Inc. to provide services and products that enable organizations to evolve their quantum-vulnerable systems and practices to quantum-safe ones.

His work is published widely in top journals, and he co-authored the respected textbook “An Introduction to Quantum Computing” (OUP). Mosca has won numerous academic awards and honours, including 2010 Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, the Premier’s Research Excellence Award (2000-2005), Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) since 2010, Canada Research Chair in Quantum Computation (2002-2022), University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo (2012-present), Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013) and Fr. Norm Choate C.R., Lifetime Achievement Award (2017).

Current projects and research expertise

  • Quantum-safe cryptography
  • Quantum algorithms and complexity
  • Methods for mapping quantum circuits to realistic architectures


  • Department of Combinatorics & Optimization, University of Waterloo
  • Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo (Founding Member and Associate Faculty)
  • David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo (cross-appointed)
  • Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Waterloo (cross-appointed)
  • Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute
  • Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research, University of Waterloo
  • Institute for Computer Research, University of Waterloo


  • DPhil, Mathematics, Quantum Computer Algorithms, University of Oxford, 1999
  • MSc, Mathematics and Foundations of Computer Science, University of Oxford, 1996
  • BMath, Combinatorics & Optimization and Pure Mathematics, University of Waterloo, 1995

Awards & honours

  • Knight in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, 2018
  • Webit Security and Anti-Fraud Innovation Award, 2018
  • Fr. Norm Choate, C.R., Lifetime Achievement Award, 2017
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2013
  • Canada's Top 40 Under 40, 2010
  • Fellow of CIFAR in Quantum Information since 2010
  • Recipient of the Waterloo Region 40 under 40: “Honouring those making a difference in our region”
  • Canada Research Chair, 2002-2022
  • Premier’s Research Excellence Award, Ontario, 2000-2005.
  • Fellow of the Institute for Combinatorics and its Applications, 2000-present
  • Bronze Medal (3rd in Canada), Descartes Mathematics Competition, 1990

Major positions

Title Location When
Director CryptoWorks21, NSERC CREATE 2012-2018
University Research Chair University of Waterloo 2012-2019
Full Professor Department of Combinatorics & Optimization, University of Waterloo 2009-present
Deputy Director Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo 2002-2016
Researcher Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics 2001-present
Member Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute 2001-present
Cross-appointed Faculty Member Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Waterloo 2001-present
Cross-appointed Faculty Member David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo 2001-present
Member Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research, University of Waterloo 1999-present