I recently started becoming interested in Boolean functions. Because they are defined as $f: \{0, 1\}^n \rightarrow \{0, 1\}$, or in other words only over $\{0, 1\}$, I guessed they can somehow be applied in cryptography. After all in cryptography (in some sense) we have an input which can be defined as bits, and then we do some kind of operations on those bits to scramble them.

Additionally, many algorithms (like BLAKE, ChaCha20, etc.) use the ARX (addition-rotation-xor) method. And as long as I know some parts of AES does the same. I have already read that Boolean functions are important for the design of S-boxes, but I want to learn how more they are applied in cryptography.

So, how and where (hash functions, block ciphers, stream ciphers, public key cryptosystems, etc.) are the Boolean functions used in cryptography (either for designing algorithms or cryptanalysis)? Can they be used in some more complex algorithms that are based on things like finite field arithmetic, elliptic curves, lattices, etc?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Actually I think the most common application of boolean functions would be multi-party computation (e.g. who has the largest (number)? do two parties have equal numbers?,...). But I'm not educated too much in this specific area so I'll leave it to others. $\endgroup$
    – SEJPM
    Apr 28, 2016 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


Many properties of boolean functions are used in stream and block cipher design, e.g., when they are used as filtering and combining functions. Some important examples are:

Finally, Sboxes are just vectorial (vector output) boolean functions, see the chapter entitled Propagation and Correlation in the AES Proposal, a version of which also appears in the book "The Design of Rijndael" by Rijndael designers Daemen and Rijmen.


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