Many protocols in MP-SPDZ use preprocessing, that is, producing secret shares that are independent of the actual data but help with the computation. Due to the independence, this can be done in batches to save communication rounds and even communication when using homomorphic encryption that works with large vectors such as LWE-based encryption.

Generally, preprocessing is done on demand and per computation threads. On demand means that batches of preprocessing data are computed whenever there is none in storage, and a computation thread is a thread created by control flow instructions such as for_range_multithread().

The exceptions to the general rule are edaBit generation with malicious security and AND triples with malicious security and honest majority, both when using bucket size three. Bucket size three implies batches of over a million to achieve 40-bit statistical security, and in honest-majority binary computation the item size is 64, which makes the actual batch size 64 million triples. In multithreaded programs, the preprocessing is run centrally using the threads as helpers.

The batching means that the cost in terms of time and communication jump whenever another batch is generated. Note that, while some protocols are flexible with the batch size and can thus be controlled using -b, others mandate a batch size, which can be as large as a million.

Separate preprocessing

It is possible to separate out the preprocessing from the input-dependent (“online”) phase. This is done by either option -F or -f on the virtual machines. In both cases, the preprocessing data is read from files, either all data per type from a single file (-F) or one file per thread (-f). The latter allows to use named pipes.

The file name depends on the protocol and the computation domain. It is generally <prefix>/<number of players>-<protocol shorthand>-<domain length>/<preprocessing type>-<protocol shorthand>-P<player number>[-T<thread number>]. For example, the triples for party 1 in SPDZ modulo a 128-bit prime can be found in Player-Data/2-p-128/Triples-p-P1. The protocol shorthand can be found by calling <share type>::type_short(). See Share Types for a description of the share types.

Preprocessing files start with a header describing the protocol and computation domain to avoid errors due to mismatches. The header is as follows:

  • Length to follow (little-endian 8-byte number)

  • Protocol descriptor

  • Domain descriptor

The protocol descriptor is defined by <share type>::type_string(). For SPDZ modulo a prime it is SPDZ gfp.

The domain descriptor depends on the kind of domain:

Modulo a prime

Serialization of the prime

  • Sign bit (0 as 1 byte)

  • Length to follow (little-endian 4-byte number)

  • Prime (big-endian)

Modulo a power of two:

Exponent (little-endian 4-byte number)

  • Storage size in bytes (little-endian 8-byte number). Default is 16.

  • \(n\) (little-endian 4-byte number)

As an example, the following output of hexdump -C describes SPDZ modulo the default 128-bit prime (170141183460469231731687303715885907969):

00000000  1d 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  53 50 44 5a 20 67 66 70  |........SPDZ gfp|
00000010  00 10 00 00 00 80 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|
00000020  00 00 1b 80 01                                    |.....|

The actual data is stored is by simple concatenation. For example, triples are stored as repetitions of a, b, ab, and daBits are stored as repetitions of a, b where a is the arithmetic share and b is the binary share.

For protocols with MAC, the value share is stored before the MAC share.

Values are generally stored in little-endian order. Note the following domain specifics:

Modulo a prime

Values are stored in Montgomery representation with \(R\) being the smallest power of \(2^{64}\) larger than the prime. For example, \(R = 2^{128}\) for a 128-bit prime. Furthermore, the values are stored in the smallest number of 8-byte blocks necessary, all in little-endian order. As an example, consider the default 128-bit prime \(p = 170141183460469231731687303715885907969\). The Montgomery representation of \(x\) is \(xR \bmod p\). For \(x = 1\), this is 170141183460469231731687303715882303487 or 0x7fffffffffffffffffffffffffe47fff in hexadecimal. Using to little-endian, hexdump -C would output the following:

ff 7f e4 ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff 7f
Modulo a power of two:

Values are stored in the smallest number of 8-byte blocks necessary, all in little-endian order, so 1 with a modulus of \(2^{64}\) would result in the following hexdump -C output:

01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

Values are stored in blocks according to the storage size above, all in little-endian order.

For further details, have a look at Utils/Fake-Offline.cpp, which contains code that generates preprocessing data insecurely for a range of protocols (underlying the binary Fake-Offline.x).

{mascot,cowgear,mal-shamir}-offline.x generate sufficient preprocessing data for a specific high-level program with MASCOT, CowGear, and malicious Shamir secret sharing, respectively.