A fork of SealPIR (v2.1) with patches for PIROS microbenchmarking

Sebastian Angel a38a0943f4 updating to support SEAL 4.0 2 years ago
src a38a0943f4 updating to support SEAL 4.0 2 years ago
test eea9b2bcf8 Added modulus context switching - greatly reduces response size. 2 years ago
.gitignore 386973297e Added replace element functionality 3 years ago
CMakeLists.txt cbbc5ac1c1 adding ctest and changing structure 3 years ago
LICENSE 76e1a93d3c Initial commit 6 years ago
README.md a38a0943f4 updating to support SEAL 4.0 2 years ago


SealPIR: A computational PIR library that achieves low communication costs and high performance.

SealPIR is a research library and should not be used in production systems. SealPIR allows a client to download an element from a database stored by a server without revealing to the server which element was downloaded. SealPIR was introduced at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (Oakland) in 2018. You can find a copy of the paper here.

Compiling SEAL

SealPIR depends on Microsoft SEAL version 4.0.0.

Download and install SEAL (follow the instructions in the above link) before before compiling SealPIR.

Compiling SealPIR

Once Microsoft SEAL 4.0.0 is installed, to build SealPIR simply run:

cmake .

This should produce a binary file bin/main.

Testing SealPIR

Once you have compiled SealPIR, you can run our battery of unit tests with:

ctest .

Using SealPIR

Take a look at the example in src/main.cpp for how to use SealPIR. You can also look at the tests in the test folder.

Default parameters

N indicates the degree of the BFV polynomials. Default is 4096.

t indicates the plaintext modulus, but we specify log t instead. Default is 20.

Each BFV ciphertext can encrypt log t * N, which is approximately 10 KB bits of information.

This means that if your database has, say, 1 KB elements, then you can pack 10 such elements into a single BFV plaintext. On the other hand, if your database has, say, 20 KB elements, then you will need two BFV plaintexts to represent each of your elements.

d represents the recursion level. When the number of BFV plaintexts needed to represent your database (see above for how to map the number of database elements of a given size to the number of BFV plaintexts) is smaller than N, then setting d = 1 minimizes communication costs. However, you can also set d = 2 which doubles the size of the query and increases the size of the response by roughly a factor of 4, but in some cases might reduce computational costs a little bit (because the oblivious expansion procedure is cheaper).

When the number of BFV plaintexts is much greater than N, then d = 2 minimizes communication costs. You can read the paper to understand how d affects communication costs. In general, the query consists of d BFV ciphertexts and can index a database with N^d BFV plaintexts; the response consists of F^(d-1) ciphertexts, where F is the ciphertext expansion factor. In the current implementation which uses recursive modulo swithcing, F is around 4. We have not identified any setting where d > 2 is beneficial.


This implementation of SealPIR uses the latest version of SEAL, fixes several bugs, and provides better serialization/deserialization of queries and responses, and a more streamlined code base.

If you wish to use the original version of SealPIR which corresponds to the numbers reported in the paper and which uses an older version of SEAL, check out this branch in the git repository.


This project welcomes contributions and suggestions. Most contributions require you to agree to a Contributor License Agreement (CLA) declaring that you have the right to, and actually do, grant us the rights to use your contribution. For details, visit https://cla.microsoft.com.

When you submit a pull request, a CLA-bot will automatically determine whether you need to provide a CLA and decorate the PR appropriately (e.g., label, comment). Simply follow the instructions provided by the bot. You will only need to do this once across all repos using our CLA.

This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. For more information see the Code of Conduct FAQ or contact opencode@microsoft.com with any additional questions or comments.