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How to participate?

This page describes the steps required to participate to this edition of the DPA contest. If you have any problem or question, if something does not work for you, if something does not seem clear, please, do not hesitate to send a mail to contact@dpacontest.org, we will make our best to help you.

This page is still under construction, we are doing our best to finish it as soon as possible.


Unlike the two first editions of the DPA contest, you need some hardware equipment to take part in this edition of the contest.

You will need at least:

Inform us (optional)

If you want to participate, please send a mail with your name and your institution, at the address contact@dpacontest.org to allow us to estimate the number of submission we will have to evaluate and to allocate the appropriate resources. However, this step is absolutely not mandatory.

Download and program the reference design

We provide you with the configuration (design) of the two FPGAs (the Spartan-3 which is the control FPGA and the Virtex-5 which is the cryptographic FPGA) of the SASEBO GII board. You are free to modify the design of the control FPGA (the Spartan-3) but you are not allowed to modify the cryptographic FPGA (the Virtex-5) which contains the AES module and the targeted key.

You can download the two programming files (MCS files to be loaded into the two non-volatile configuration memories) from AIST webpage. The Verilog-HDL source code of the design of the control FPGA is also available.

The programming of the SASEBO GII configuration memories can be done with iMPACT (from Xilinx).


Once the SASEBO board is configured with the reference design or with a custom design (only allowed for the control FPGA), you can perform the acquisitions, which is the main part of the contest.

To help you with the acquisition, you can (this is not mandatory) use the acquisition control software provided on the AIST webpage (only for Windows). This software, written in C# (full source code available) controls both the SASEBO board and the oscilloscope (the driver for some Agilent oscilloscope is provided).

However, you are free to use your own tools to control the board and your oscilloscope. In this case, you need the specifications of the communication protocol with the SASEBO GII board. This document is available from the Tools page.

As mentioned in the Rules, you can use the acquisition technique of your choice (consumption, EM...), you can run post-treatments on the traces, etc.

Traces preparation

In order to make the submission of traces and their evaluation easier, the traces must be prepared before being submitted.

If you have used the provided software (see previous section) to acquire the traces, they should already be in the correct format (just verify the allowed file formats for the archive itself).

If you do not use the provided software, the traces to be sent must respect the format described in the Tools page. Traces that do not respect this format will not be evaluated (we simply cannot know all the possible trace formats produced by all the oscilloscopes and write parsers for them). So you must convert your set of traces to our file format.

Send the traces for evaluation

Once you have our two archives, (one containing our post-processed acquisition traces stored in the correct format and the other containing the description of our acquisition platform (probes, oscilloscope, post-processing treatments, etc.)), you can submit them.

The submission server has been opened since the begining of July 2011. To get an access to it, please send a mail to submission@dpacontest.org with your name, your affiliation and your email address. We will then send you by email the procedure to upload your traces to the submission server.

The submission deadline is July 31st 2012.