GALS-based LPSP: Performance Analysis of a Novel Architecture for Low Power High Performance Security Processors

Hala A. Farouk, Mahmoud T. El-Hadidi, Ahmed Abou El-Farag


The past two decades have witnessed a revolution in the use of electronic devices in our daily activities. Increasingly, such activities involve the exchange of personal and sensitive data by means of portable and light weight devices. This implied the use of security applications in devices with tight processing capability and low power budget. Current architectures for processors that run security applications are optimized for either high-performance or low energy consumption. We propose an implementation for an architecture that not only provides high performance and low energy consumption but also mitigates security attacks on the cryptographic algorithms which are running on it. The proposed architecture of the Globally-Asynchronous Locally-Synchronous-based Low Power Security Processor (GALS-based LPSP) inherits the scheduling freedom and high performance from the dataflow architectures and the low energy consumption and flexibility from the GALS systems. In this paper, a prototype of the GALS-based LPSP is implemented as a soft core on the Virtex-5 (xc5-vlx155t) FPGA. The architectural features that allow the processor to mitigate Side-Channel attacks are explained in detail and tested on the current encryption standard, the AES. The performance analysis reveals that the GALS-based LPSP achieves two times higher throughput with one and a half times less energy consumption than the currently used embedded processors.


Security Processor; Globally-Asynchronous Locally-Synchronous (GALS); High Performance Processor; Low Power Processor; DPA Countermeasure

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