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PhD Defense: Programmable Accelerators for Lattice-based Cryptography

Name: Hamid Nejatollahi

Advisor: Nikil Dutt

Date: June 11, 2020

Time: 10:00 AM

Committee: Ian Harris, Rainer Doemer

Thesis: “Programmable Accelerators for Lattice-based Cryptography”


Advances in computing steadily erode computer security at its foundation, calling for fundamental innovations to strengthen the weakening cryptographic primitives and security protocols.  While many alternatives have been proposed for symmetric key cryptography and related protocols (e.g., lightweight ciphers and authenticated encryption), the alternatives for public-key cryptography are limited to post-quantum cryptography primitives and their protocols. In particular, lattice-based cryptography is a promising candidate, both in terms of foundational properties, as well as its application to traditional security problems such as key exchange, digital signature, and encryption/decryption.  At the same time, the emergence of new computing paradigms, such as Cloud Computing and Internet of Everything, demand that innovations in security extend beyond their foundational aspects, to the actual design and deployment of these primitives and protocols while satisfying emerging design constraints such as latency, compactness, energy efficiency, and agility. In this thesis, we propose a methodology to design programmable hardware accelerators for lattice-based algorithms and we use the proposed methodology to implement flexible and energy-efficient post-quantum cache- and DMA-based accelerators for the most promising submissions to the  NIST  standardization contest.   We validate our methodology by integrating our accelerators into an HLS-based SoC infrastructure based on the X86 processor and evaluate overall performance.  In addition, we adopt the systolic architecture to accelerate the polynomial multiplication, which is the heart of a subset of LBC algorithms (i.e., ideal LBC), on the field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).  Finally, we propose a high-throughput Processing In-Memory (PIM) accelerator for the number-theoretic transform (NTT-) based polynomial multiplier.