NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Duality Technologies, a leading provider of Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs) based on Homomorphic Encryption (HE), today announced it has been awarded a $14.5M contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) DPRIVE program. Under the contract with DARPA, Duality will lead a team developing a novel ASIC (Application-specific Integrated Circuit) - code named 'TREBUCHET' - to accelerate computations using Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE), with the goal of making FHE cost-effective for even the most challenging high-value applications.
FHE is an advanced cryptographic technique, widely considered the 'holy grail of encryption,' which enables multiple users to process and glean insights on encrypted data while the data or models remain encrypted, preserving data privacy throughout the analytics process. This new hardware is crucial in helping data scientists cross the next frontier in FHE: the ability to train some of the most advanced machine learning (ML) models on encrypted data, enabling organizations to leverage greater amounts of diverse sensitive data for training.
Traditionally, encrypted data is not usable in computations. With increased privacy concerns and tightening data protection regulations, organizations across industries are looking for secure computing methods to train and execute AI models without exposing sensitive or confidential data or IP. For example, PETs based on FHE facilitate cross-border medical research projects, which rely on the interchange of data between healthcare providers and research institutes. Without privacy preservation, healthcare providers would not be able to share sensitive patient data of the sort necessary to yield important research breakthroughs – ultimately saving lives.
DARPA's Data Protection in Virtual Environments (DPRIVE) program aims to design and implement a hardware accelerator for FHE computations that will dramatically reduce the runtime and therefore the cost of high-value FHE applications, such as privacy-preserving image recognition. The computing hardware to be developed by the Duality-led team will reduce run time overhead by many orders of magnitude compared to current software-based FHE computations on conventional CPUs. By accelerating the hardest and highest value FHE calculations to within one order of magnitude of current performance on unencrypted data, the new technology will overcome an obstacle which has hitherto limited widespread use of FHE.
Duality is a leading provider of commercial platforms based on quantum-secure FHE technology – already operative in several privacy-sensitive industries. Under the DARPA program, the company will lead a team of technical experts, experienced in the co-design of FHE algorithms, hardware, and software, who will develop a new integrated approach to accelerate the full FHE hardware and software stacks. Specifically, the Duality team is developing and integrating novel approaches to memory management, flexible data structures and programming models, and formal verification methods which ensure that the design of the FHE implementation is effective and accurate.
"Duality team members have been supporting DARPA-funded innovation and application of FHE for over a decade. For the DARPA DPRIVE project, we've put together an expert team with knowhow covering the entire stack from encrypted data science applications, FHE software engineering, embedded design, ASIC architecture and layout, to state-of-the-art automated system optimization and design verification," said Dr. David Bruce Cousins, Director of Duality Labs and Principal Investigator for the project. "Some members of our team developed the first ever prototype HE hardware accelerators under the DARPA PROCEED program starting in 2010 and are lead developers for the PALISADE open source FHE library, first developed for the DARPA SAFEWARE program in 2015. We are excited to harness our extensive expertise, which spans the encrypted computing stack, to contribute to the DPRIVE program, making privacy-preserving analytics and machine learning a reality."
The hardware accelerator will be fully integrated with the PALISADE open source FHE library and will be used to perform mathematical computations on extremely large integers in parallel, resulting in dramatic speedups to computations on encrypted data. PALISADE is currently widely used in the defense industry for data privacy, and PALISADE forms the open-source cryptographic core of Duality Technologies' SecurePlus® product line. The PALISADE open source FHE library is maintained by a consortium of academic and industry research organizations, supported by DARPA, IARPA, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and is a NumFOCUS affiliated Project. Duality plans to commercialize the TREBUCHET technology, enabling their customers to accelerate their FHE workloads.
Duality's TREBUCHET team consists of the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute, New York University, Carnegie Mellon University, SpiralGen Inc., Drexel University, and TwoSix Labs Inc.
"Duality has a track record of successfully transitioning DARPA research to commercial privacy-preserving data science software products, and DPRIVE's final acceptance challenge of accelerating encrypted Neural Net training lines up perfectly with our product roadmap," said Dr. Kurt Rohloff, CTO and Co-Founder, Duality Technologies. "No other company, either start-up or multinational, has been as successful as Duality in developing and delivering real-world solutions for practical application of advanced privacy technologies such as Fully Homomorphic Encryption."
More information on the program goals can be found in DARPA's press release for the DPRIVE program.
About Duality Technologies
Duality Technologies is at the forefront of Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), setting a new standard for privacy-preserving data collaboration. Duality SecurePlus™, a leading PET platform, combines advanced Homomorphic Encryption and data science, enabling organizations to derive insights without exposing their sensitive data. Duality's products are used by companies across regulated industries including financial services, healthcare, telecommunications and more. Duality conducts contract R&D in applied PET for advanced data science and network security applications. Duality was recently listed on Fast Company's 2020 Most Innovative Companies List in the Data Science category. Duality has also been recognized as a Gartner "Cool Vendor" for Privacy Preservation in Analytics. For more information, please visit dualitytech.com.
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