Garbled circuit is a core building block of two-party computation. The invention of garbled circuit was credited to Andrew Yao, with plenty of optimizations the state-of-the-art protocols are extremely efficient. This subsection will first introduce the basic idea of garbled circuit.

Garbled circuit involves two parties: the garbler and the evaluator. The garbler takes as input the circuit and the inputs, generates the garbled circuit and encoded inputs. The evaluator takes as input the garbled circuit and encoded inputs, evaluates the garbled circuit and decodes the result into outputs.

The security of garbled circuit ensures that the evaluator only gets the outputs without any additional information.

Given a circuit and related inputs, the garbler handles the circuit as follows.

  • For each gate in the circuit , the garbler writes down the truth table of this gate. Taking an gate for example. The truth table is as follows. Note that for different gates, the wires may be different.
  • The garbler chooses two uniformly random -bit strings for each wire. We call these strings the truth labels. Label represents the value and label represents the value . The garbler replaces the truth table with the following label table.
  • The garbler turns this label table into a garbled gate by encrypting the labels using a symmetric double-key cipher with labels as the keys. The garbler randomly permutes the ciphertexts to break the relation between the label and value.
Garbled Gate
  • The garbled circuit consists of all garbled gates according to the circuit.

  • Let be the input, where , let be the wires of the input. The garbler sends and to the evaluator. The garbler also reveals the relation of the output labels and the truth values. For example, for each output wire, the label is chosen by setting the least significant bit to be the truth value.

Given the circuit , the garbled circuit and the encoded inputs , the evaluator does the following.

  • Uses the encoded inputs as keys, the evaluator goes through all the garbled gates one by one and tries to decrypt all the four ciphertexts according to the circuit.

  • The encryption scheme is carefully designed to ensure that the evaluator could only decrypt to one valid message. For example, the label is encrypted by padding , and the decrypted message contains is considered to be valid.

  • After the evaluator gets all the labels of the output wires, he/she extracts the output value. For example, just take the least significant bit of the label.

Note that the above description of garbled circuit is very inefficient, the following subsections will introduce optimizations to improve it.