Subject Area

Computer Science


In the Prom Problem (TPP), Alice wishes to attend a school dance with Bob and needs a risk-free, privacy preserving way to find out whether Bob shares that same wish. If not, no one should know that she inquired about it, not even Bob. TPP represents a special class of matchmaking challenges, augmenting the properties of privacy-enhanced matchmaking, further requiring fairness and support for identity linked wishes (ILW) – wishes involving specific identities that are only valid if all involved parties have those same wishes.

The Horne-Nair (HN) protocol was proposed as a solution to TPP along with a sample pseudo-code embodiment leveraging an untrusted matchmaker. Neither identities nor pseudo-identities are included in any messages or stored in the matchmaker’s database. Privacy relevant data stay within user control. A security analysis and proof-of-concept implementation validated the approach, fairness was quantified, and a feasibility analysis demonstrated practicality in real-world networks and systems, thereby bounding risk prior to incurring the full costs of development.

The SecretMatch™ Prom app leverages one embodiment of the patented HN protocol to achieve privacy-enhanced and fair matchmaking with ILW. The endeavor led to practical lessons learned and recommendations for privacy engineering in an era of rapidly evolving privacy legislation. Next steps include design of SecretMatch™ apps for contexts like voting negotiations in legislative bodies and executive recruiting. The roadmap toward a quantum resistant SecretMatch™ began with design of a Hybrid Post-Quantum Horne-Nair (HPQHN) protocol. Future directions include enhancements to HPQHN, a fully Post Quantum HN protocol, and more.

Degree Date

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name



Computer Science and Engineering


Dr. Suku Nair

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.