Nearly Sparse Linear Algebra and Discrete Logarithm Problem

12 October 2016

Linear algebra is a widely used tool both in mathematics and computer science, and cryptography is no exception to this rule. Yet, it introduces some particularities, such as dealing with linear systems that are often sparse, or, in other words, linear systems inside which a lot of coefficients are equal to zero. We propose to enlarge this notion to nearly sparse matrices, caracterized by the concatenation of a sparse matrix and some dense columns, and to design an algorithm to solve this kind of problems. Motivated by discrete logarithms computations on medium and high caracteristic finite fields, the Nearly Sparse Linear Algebra briges the gap between classical dense linear algebra problems and sparse linear algebra ones, for which specific methods have already been established. Our algorithm particularly applies on one of the three phases of NFS (Number Field Sieve) which precisely consists in finding a non trivial element of the kernel of a nearly sparse matrix.

  • Cryptography Seminar