Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2020/1207

FPGA Benchmarking of Round 2 Candidates in the NIST Lightweight Cryptography Standardization Process: Methodology, Metrics, Tools, and Results

Kamyar Mohajerani and Richard Haeussler and Rishub Nagpal and Farnoud Farahmand and Abubakr Abdulgadir and Jens-Peter Kaps and Kris Gaj

Abstract: Twenty seven Round 2 candidates in the NIST Lightweight Cryptography (LWC) process have been implemented in hardware by groups from all over the world. All implementations compliant with the LWC Hardware API, proposed in 2019, have been submitted for hardware benchmarking to George Mason University’s LWC benchmarking team. The received submissions were first verified for correct functionality and compliance with the hardware API’s specification. Then, the execution times in clock cycles, as a function of input sizes, have been determined using behavioral simulation. An overhead of modifying vs. reusing a key between two consecutive inputs was quantified. The compatibility of all implementations with FPGA toolsets from three major vendors, Xilinx, Intel, and Lattice Semiconductor was verified. Optimized values of the maximum clock frequency and resource utilization metrics, such as the number of look-up tables (LUTs) and flip-flops (FFs), were obtained by running optimization tools, such as Minerva, ATHENa, and Xeda. The raw post-place and route results were then converted into values of the corresponding throughputs for long, medium-size, and short inputs. The overhead of modifying vs. reusing a key between two consecutive inputs was quantified. Power consumption and energy per bit were estimated. The results were presented in the form of easy to interpret graphs and tables, demonstrating the relative performance of all investigated algorithms. For a few submissions, the results of the initial design-space exploration were illustrated as well. An effort was made to make the entire process as transparent as possible and results easily reproducible by other groups.

Category / Keywords: implementation / secret-key cryptography, lightweight cryptography, authenticated ciphers, hash functions, hardware, FPGA, benchmarking

Date: received 2 Oct 2020, last revised 24 Feb 2021

Contact author: kgaj at gmu edu, jkaps at gmu edu

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20210224:202629 (All versions of this report)

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