Towards Automating Cryptographic Hardware Implementations: a Case Study of HQC


October 20, 2022


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Carlos Aguilar-Melchor, James Howe, Jean-Christophe Deneuville, Arnaud Dion, Romain Malmain, Vincent Migliore, Mamuri Nawan, and Kashif Nawaz


While hardware implementations allow the production of highly efficient and performance oriented designs, exploiting features such as parallelization, their longer time to code and implement often bottlenecks rapid prototyping. On the other hand, high-level synthesis (HLS) tools allow for faster experimentation of software code to a hardware platform while demonstrating a reasonable extrapolation of the expected hardware behavior. In this work, we attempt to show a rapid, fast prototyping of the well known HQC algorithm, using HLS, and show how with a modification of certain parameters, varying degrees of comparable results can be obtained. These results, in turn, could be used as a guide for HDL-RTL developers to enhance their designs and better prototyping time in the future. Additionally, we also demonstrate that it is possible to benefit from HQC's versatility; by achieving a low hardware footprint whilst also maintaining good performances, even on low-cost FPGA devices, which we demonstrate on the well known Artix-7 xc7a100t-ftg256-1.

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