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Section: New Results

Diffusion layers for block ciphers

MDS matrices allow the construction of optimal linear diffusion layers in block ciphers. However, MDS matrices usually have a large description (for example, they can never be sparse), and this results in costly software/hardware implementations. We can solve this problem using recursive MDS matrices, which can be computed as a power of a simple companion matrix—and thus have a compact description suitable for constrained environments. Until now, finding recursive MDS matrices required an exhaustive search on families of companion matrices; this clearly limited the size of MDS matrices that one could look for. We have found a new direct construction, based on shortened BCH codes, which allows us to efficiently construct these matrices for arbitrary parameter sizes.