Science Foundation Ireland

Talk: Accelerating Privacy-Preserving Computations with FPGAs

Accelerating Privacy-Preserving Computations with FPGAs

3pm, Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Seminar Room, Dunlop Oriel House, 34 Westland Row, Trinity College Dublin.


Mining behavioural data is a ubiquitous practice among Internet companies, currently happening at an unprecedented scale.  However, while users would like the benefits of data mining, they also would like to preserve their personal privacy.  This gives rise to the following challenge:   is it possible to enable data mining without jeopardizing user privacy?  Secure Function Evaluation (SFE) solves this problem, but at the expense of orders of magnitude more processing cost compared to data mining without privacy assurances.  Hardware acceleration of data processing has also become more prevalent, with FPGAs in the data center now being applied to Bing searches, machine learning and other applications.

In this talk, I will present Yao’s Garbled Circuits (GC), a broadly applicable method for Secure Function Evaluation.   I will present an approach to accelerating GC that makes use of parallelism on several different levels using FPGAs in the data center, and will present preliminary results.  Our approach both accelerates GC by orders of magnitude and is rapidly reconfigurable, through the use of overlay circuits, to handle both very large problems and multiple different problems with little reprogramming time.


Miriam Leeser is Professor and Interim Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University.  Her research interests include application acceleration with Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), programming paradigms for heterogeneous computers, computer arithmetic and reproducibility in higher performance computing.  She received her BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and Diploma and Ph.D. Degrees in Computer Science from Cambridge University in England.  After completion of her Ph.D., she joined the faculty of Cornell University, Department of Electrical Engineering.  In January, 1996 she joined the faculty of Northeastern University, where she is head of the Reconfigurable and GPU Computing Laboratory and a member of the Computer Engineering group.  She is a senior member of ACM, a senior member of IEEE and a senior member of SWE.

CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.

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