Constructing Cluster of Simple FPGA Boards for Cryptologic Computations

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Abstract

In this paper, we propose an FPGA cluster infrastructure, which can be utilized in implementing cryptanalytic attacks and accelerating cryptographic operations. The cluster can be formed using simple and inexpensive, off-the-shelf FPGA boards featuring an FPGA device, local storage, CPLD, and network connection. Forming the cluster is simple and no effort for the hardware development is needed except for the hardware design for the actual computation. Using a softcore processor on FPGA, we are able to configure FPGA devices dynamically and change their configuration on the fly from a remote computer. The softcore on FPGA can execute relatively complicated programs for mundane tasks unworthy of FPGA resources. Finally, we propose and implement a fast and efficient dynamic configuration switch technique that is shown to be useful especially in cryptanalytic applications. Our infrastructure provides a cost-effective alternative for formerly proposed cryptanalytic engines based on FPGA devices.