[LLVMdev] Optimizing math code

Mike Hamburg mike at shiftleft.org
Tue Feb 18 09:28:39 PST 2014

On Feb 18, 2014, at 12:43 AM, David Chisnall <David.Chisnall at cl.cam.ac.uk> wrote:

> On 18 Feb 2014, at 03:13, Michael Hamburg <mike at shiftleft.org> wrote:
>> Yes.  However, I’m using a redundant representation, with 56-bit digits in a 64-bit limb.  (The real code uses uint64_t’s instead of ints.)  That way up to 8 bits of carries can accumulate, and I can propagate them all at a more opportune time.
> Two things to note here:
> 1) Your representation makes it very hard to vectorise.  If you were doing the accumulate on every cycle, then you wouldn't even need to treat them as a vector and they could simply be folded to the largest integer type that the target supports, so if the vector registers can contain 128-bit integers that would work too.  

On the contrary, if I were doing the accumulate on every cycle, it would be nearly impossible to vectorize.  As it is, the code is easy to vectorize: it's running fine with __attribute__((ext_vector_length(...))).  I just want something more portable.  Like a "for" loop which is equivalent to a vector op.

I'm not aware of any platform which supports 128-bit integer ops in its vector registers... what target were you thinking of?

> 2) By deferring the carry calculation, there is a significant chance that you are inserting a timing attack into your crypto code.  I'm finding it quite difficult to think of ways that it is possible to compile code using this representation that doesn't leak information about the key to sufficiently patient attackers.

Redundant encodings are especially popular with implementors who are worried about side-channel attacks.  This is because with a standard encoding, you can't check if your carry chain is done without exposing yourself to a timing attack.  So you have to assume that the carries propagate for as long as possible.  Even if you're just adding 1, you have to propagate the carry all the way.  But with a redundant encoding, it doesn't propagate at all.

Likewise, the reductions in my code aren't done by testing to see if overflow is about to occur.  Instead, they're done by a static analysis (in an external program) which computes when the numbers might overflow, and where reductions should be placed to prevent this.  So I'm hoping that I can avoid screwing this property up over a couple thousand lines.

The reductions themselves also take constant time.  They basically just shuffle 8 bits up to the next word, and do an add.  The resulting number still isn't perfectly reduced -- that's much more expensive -- but the carry on each limb is now at most 1.  This can also be vectorized, but it's more annoying because of the shuffles involved.

>  You might like to look up some of the problems with 64-bit multiply on older ARM systems for an idea why - many of those theoretical attacks are now practical for a remote attacker in a couple of hours.

Yeah, I'll have to be careful about how things get reduced on ARM.  In particular, I'm using PCMPEQD in some places, which is constant-time, but the most obvious translation of it to a vectorless platform is not constant-time.  And I'll have to make sure that if there are any 64-bit ops left, they end up constant-time.  Likewise, I need to either make asm intrinsics for any true 128-bit ops that I want to do on a 64-bit platform, or else find a way to assure myself that they consistently emit ADC and not a jump.

On the other hand, I'm not targeting ARM platforms with a variable-time multiply instruction, because that's a pain.

-- Mike

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