A Response-Based Cryptography Engine in Distributed-Memory

Christopher Philabaum, Christopher Coffey, Bertrand Cambou, Michael Gowanlock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Cryptographic keys extracted from Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs) can be produced reliably when paired with helper functions, but this places a burden of computation on client devices. With the disparity in power between weaker Internet of Things devices and the more powerful server clusters, response-based cryptography (RBC) shifts that burden of error correction on the server to match the client’s response. Noise injection is a potential solution for security in hostile environments, so it is vital to know to what error rate can a distributed system correct in an RBC cyber system. In this paper, we explore the feasibility and scalability of response-based cryptography in a high-performance computing environment. We present a highly parallel, MPI-based implementation using up to 512 ranks/cores. Scalability was achieved by ordering the key space lexicographically and having each rank independently generate its own work using combinadics, where we assign equal workloads to each MPI rank. Terminating the key search early across distributed-memory ranks is challenging as it can incur significant overhead. Thus, we compare two strategies for terminating the search algorithm early. We assume that a typical user prefers a service to be responsive within a two second window. We are able to achieve authentication under this assumed latency metric up to 5 bit errors over an AES-256 key when utilizing 512 ranks. The speedup of our RBC search algorithm developed achieves good scalability yielding a speedup of 404 × on 512 ranks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIntelligent Computing - Proceedings of the 2021 Computing Conference
EditorsKohei Arai
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9783030801281
StatePublished - 2021
EventComputing Conference, 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jul 15 2021Jul 16 2021

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Networks and Systems
ISSN (Print)2367-3370
ISSN (Electronic)2367-3389


ConferenceComputing Conference, 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • Cryptographic protocols
  • Cryptography
  • Distributed computing
  • High performance computing
  • Response-based cryptography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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