As part of the ongoing program to develop a quantum resistant Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC) standard which started in 2017 with 69 candidate algorithms, NIST has announced they have finished their analysis for Round 2 which began in January 2019 with 26 algorithms and are now proceeding to Round 3 with seven finalists and eight alternates.

The algorithms in the finalist group will be evaluated and those that are selected will be recommended for standardization at the conclusion of Round 3. The algorithms in the alternate group were chosen because they may potentially provide better security, better performance, better suitability for certain use cases or have a potential for further improvement, but NIST believes these algorithms will require additional analysis.  They will continue to be analyzed during Round 3 and some of them will be selected for Round 4.  At the conclusion of Round 4 some of these alternate algorithms may also become recommended standards.  The algorithms chosen in each group are as follows:

Round 3 is expected to last 12-18 months (assuming no additional delays due to Covid-19). After completion of Round 3, NIST is planning on releasing their initial standard for quantum-resistant cryptography in 2022.  For more information, you can view NIST’s press release here, an announcement listing the third Round candidates here, and a detailed report describing the Round 2 evaluation process here.

July 22, 2020