Faculty Advisor

Berk Sunar

Faculty Advisor

Stanley Selkow

Faculty Advisor

Kaveh Pahlavan

Faculty Advisor

Fred J. Looft


Efficient implementation of the number theoretic transform(NTT), also known as the discrete Fourier transform(DFT) over a finite field, has been studied actively for decades and found many applications in digital signal processing. In 1971 Schonhage and Strassen proposed an NTT based asymptotically fast multiplication method with the asymptotic complexity O(m log m log log m) for multiplication of $m$-bit integers or (m-1)st degree polynomials. Schonhage and Strassen's algorithm was known to be the asymptotically fastest multiplication algorithm until Furer improved upon it in 2007. However, unfortunately, both algorithms bear significant overhead due to the conversions between the time and frequency domains which makes them impractical for small operands, e.g. less than 1000 bits in length as used in many applications. With this work we investigate for the first time the practical application of the NTT, which found applications in digital signal processing, to finite field multiplication with an emphasis on elliptic curve cryptography(ECC). We present efficient parameters for practical application of NTT based finite field multiplication to ECC which requires key and operand sizes as short as 160 bits in length. With this work, for the first time, the use of NTT based finite field arithmetic is proposed for ECC and shown to be efficient. We introduce an efficient algorithm, named DFT modular multiplication, for computing Montgomery products of polynomials in the frequency domain which facilitates efficient multiplication in GF(p^m). Our algorithm performs the entire modular multiplication, including modular reduction, in the frequency domain, and thus eliminates costly back and forth conversions between the frequency and time domains. We show that, especially in computationally constrained platforms, multiplication of finite field elements may be achieved more efficiently in the frequency domain than in the time domain for operand sizes relevant to ECC. This work presents the first hardware implementation of a frequency domain multiplier suitable for ECC and the first hardware implementation of ECC in the frequency domain. We introduce a novel area/time efficient ECC processor architecture which performs all finite field arithmetic operations in the frequency domain utilizing DFT modular multiplication over a class of Optimal Extension Fields(OEF). The proposed architecture achieves extension field modular multiplication in the frequency domain with only a linear number of base field GF(p) multiplications in addition to a quadratic number of simpler operations such as addition and bitwise rotation. With its low area and high speed, the proposed architecture is well suited for ECC in small device environments such as smart cards and wireless sensor networks nodes. Finally, we propose an adaptation of the Itoh-Tsujii algorithm to the frequency domain which can achieve efficient inversion in a class of OEFs relevant to ECC. This is the first time a frequency domain finite field inversion algorithm is proposed for ECC and we believe our algorithm will be well suited for efficient constrained hardware implementations of ECC in affine coordinates.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Electrical & Computer Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





discrete Fourier transform, ECC, elliptic curve cryptography, inversion, finite fields, multiplication, DFT, number theoretic transform, NTT, Curves, Elliptic, Cryptography