Paper 2023/452

Piano: Extremely Simple, Single-Server PIR with Sublinear Server Computation

Mingxun Zhou, Carnegie Mellon University
Andrew Park, Carnegie Mellon University
Elaine Shi, Carnegie Mellon University
Wenting Zheng, Carnegie Mellon University

We construct a sublinear-time single-server pre-processing Private Information Retrieval (PIR) scheme with optimal client storage and server computation (up to poly-logarithmic factors), only relying on the assumption of the existence of One Way Functions (OWF). Our scheme achieves amortized $\tilde{O}(\sqrt{n})$ online server computation and client computation and $O(\sqrt{n})$ online communication per query, and requires $\widetilde{O}_\lambda(\sqrt{n})$ client storage. Unlike prior single-server PIR schemes that rely on heavy cryptographic machinery such as Homomorphic Encryption, our scheme only utilizes lightweight cryptography such as PRFs, which is easily instantiated in practice. To our knowledge, this is the first practical implementation of a single-server sublinear-time PIR scheme. Compared to existing linear time single-server solutions, our schemes are faster by $40-900\times$ and are comparable to the fastest two-server schemes. In particular, for a 100GB database of 1.6 billion entries, our experiments show that our scheme has 12ms online computation time on a single core.

Available format(s)
Cryptographic protocols
Publication info
Published elsewhere. Major revision. IEEE S&P 2024
Contact author(s)
mingxunz @ andrew cmu edu
andrewpark @ cmu edu
runting @ cs cmu edu
wenting @ cmu edu
2023-11-12: last of 3 revisions
2023-03-28: received
See all versions
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Mingxun Zhou and Andrew Park and Elaine Shi and Wenting Zheng},
      title = {Piano: Extremely Simple, Single-Server PIR with Sublinear Server Computation},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2023/452},
      year = {2023},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
Note: In order to protect the privacy of readers, does not use cookies or embedded third party content.