Purdue University Graduate School
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Feasibility, Efficiency, and Robustness of Secure Computation

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posted on 2022-12-02, 18:33 authored by Hai H NguyenHai H Nguyen

Secure computation allows mutually distrusting parties to compute over private data. Such collaborations have widespread applications in social, scientific, commercial, and security domains. However, the overhead of achieving security is a major bottleneck to the adoption of such technologies. In this context, this thesis aims to design the most secure protocol within budgeted computational or network resources by mathematically formulating it as an optimization problem. 

With the rise in CPU power and cheap RAM, the offline-online model for secure computation has become the prominent model for real-world security systems. This thesis investigates the above-mentioned optimization problem in the information-theoretic offline-online model. In particular, this thesis presents the following selected sample of our research in greater detail. 

Round and Communication Complexity: Chor-Kushilevitz-Beaver characterized the round and communication complexity of secure two-party computation. Since then, the case of functions with randomized output remained unexplored. We proved the decidability of determining these complexities. Next, if such a protocol exists, we construct the optimal protocol; otherwise, we present an obstruction to achieving security. 

Rate and Capacity of secure computation: The efficiency of converting the offline samples into secure computation during the online phase is essential. However, investigating this ``production rate'' for general secure computations seems analytically intractable. Towards this objective, we introduce a new model of secure computation -- one without any communication -- that has several practical applications. We lay the mathematical foundations of formulating rate and capacity questions in this framework. Our research identifies the first tight rate and capacity results (a la Shannon) in secure computation. 

Reverse multiplication embedding: We identify a new problem in algebraic complexity theory that unifies several efficiency objectives in cryptography. Reverse multiplication embedding seeks to implement as many (base field) multiplications as possible using one extension field multiplication. We present optimal construction using algebraic function fields. This embedding has subsequently led to efficient improvement of secure computation, homomorphic encryption, proof systems, and leakage-resilient cryptography. 

Characterizing the robustness to side-channel attacks: Side-channel attacks present a significant threat to the offline phase. We introduce the cryptographic analog of common information to characterize the offline phase's robustness quantitatively. We build a framework for security and attack analysis. In the context of robust threshold cryptography, we present a state-of-the-art attack, threat assessment, and security fix for Shamir's secret-sharing. 


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Computer Science

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Henmanta K. Maji

Additional Committee Member 2

Jeremiah Blocki

Additional Committee Member 3

Saugata Basu

Additional Committee Member 4

Thanh Nguyen

Additional Committee Member 5

Wojciech Szpankowski

Additional Committee Member 6

Eyal Kushilevitz