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Paper 2018/1036

If a Generalised Butterfly is APN then it Operates on 6 Bits

Anne Canteaut, Léo Perrin, and Shizhu Tian


Whether there exist Almost Perfect Non-linear permutations (APN) operating on an even number of bit is the so-called Big APN Problem. It has been solved in the 6-bit case by Dillon et al. in 2009 but, since then, the general case has remained an open problem. In 2016, Perrin et al. discovered the butterfly structure which contains Dillon et al.'s permutation over $\mathbb{F}_{2^6}$. Later, Canteaut et al. generalised this structure and proved that no other butterflies with exponent $3$ can be APN. Recently, Yongqiang et al. further generalized the structure with Gold exponent and obtained more differentially 4-uniform permutations with the optimal nonlinearity. However, the existence of more APN permutations in their generalization was left as an open problem. In this paper, we adapt the proof technique of Canteaut et al. to handle all Gold exponents and prove that a generalised butterfly with Gold exponents over $\mathbb{F}_{2^{2n}}$ can never be APN when $n>3$. More precisely, we prove that such a generalised butterfly being APN implies that the branch size is strictly smaller than 5. Hence, the only APN butterflies operate on 3-bit branches, i.e. on 6 bits in total.

Available format(s)
Secret-key cryptography
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
Boolean functionSboxAPNDifferential uniformityButterflies
Contact author(s)
perrin leo @ gmail com
2018-10-30: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Anne Canteaut and Léo Perrin and Shizhu Tian},
      title = {If a Generalised Butterfly is APN then it Operates on 6 Bits},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2018/1036},
      year = {2018},
      note = {\url{https://eprint.iacr.org/2018/1036}},
      url = {https://eprint.iacr.org/2018/1036}
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