University of Washington School of Public Health & Community Medicine
A one-time program is a hypothetical device by which a user may evaluate a circuit on exactly one input of their choice, before the device self-destructs. One-time programs cannot be achieved by software alone, as any software can be copied and re-run. However, it is known that every circuit can be compiled into a one-time program using a very basic hypothetical hardware device called a one-time memory. At first glance it may seem that quantum information, which cannot be copied, might also allow for one-time programs. But it is not hard to see that this intuition is false: one-time programs for classical or quantum circuits based solely on quantum information do not exist, even with computational assumptions.