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Security '01 Abstract

Improving DES Coprocessor Throughput for Short Operations

Mark Lindemann, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center; Sean W. Smith, Dept. of CS/Institute for Security and Technology Studies


Over the last several years, our research team built a commercially-offered secure coprocessor that, besides other features, offers high-speed DES: over 20 megabytes/second. However, it obtains these speeds only on operations with large data lengths. For DES operations on short data (e.g., 8-80 bytes), our commercial offering was benchmarked at less than 2 kilobytes/second. The programmability of our device enabled us to investigate this issue, identify and address a series of bottlenecks that were not initially apparent, and ultimately bring our short-DES performance close to 3 megabytes/second. This paper reports the results of this real-world systems exercise in hardware cryptographic acceleration---and demonstrates the importance of, when designing specialty hardware, not overlooking the software aspects governing how a device can be used.
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Last changed: 30 Apr 2002 ml
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