June 1, 2023


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RPU: The Ring Processing Unit. (arXiv:2303.17118v1 [cs.AR])

Ring-Learning-with-Errors (RLWE) has emerged as the foundation of many
important techniques for improving security and privacy, including homomorphic
encryption and post-quantum cryptography. While promising, these techniques
have received limited use due to their extreme overheads of running on
general-purpose machines. In this paper, we present a novel vector Instruction
Set Architecture (ISA) and microarchitecture for accelerating the ring-based
computations of RLWE. The ISA, named B512, is developed to meet the needs of
ring processing workloads while balancing high-performance and general-purpose
programming support. Having an ISA rather than fixed hardware facilitates
continued software improvement post-fabrication and the ability to support the
evolving workloads. We then propose the ring processing unit (RPU), a
high-performance, modular implementation of B512. The RPU has native large word
modular arithmetic support, capabilities for very wide parallel processing, and
a large capacity high-bandwidth scratchpad to meet the needs of ring
processing. We address the challenges of programming the RPU using a newly
developed SPIRAL backend. A configurable simulator is built to characterize
design tradeoffs and quantify performance. The best performing design was
implemented in RTL and used to validate simulator performance. In addition to
our characterization, we show that a RPU using 20.5mm2 of GF 12nm can provide a
speedup of 1485x over a CPU running a 64k, 128-bit NTT, a core RLWE workload