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Cryptonight variant 4 aka CryptonightR #5126
This is a proposal for the next Monero PoW algorithm. Please read original discussion before posting here.
Random integer math modification
Division and square root are replaced with a sequence of random integer instructions:
Program size is between 60 and 69 instructions, 63 instructions on average.
There are 9 registers named R0-R8. Registers R0-R3 are variable, registers R4-R8 are constant and can only be used as source register in each instruction. Registers R4-R8 are initialized with values from main loop registers on every main loop iteration.
All registers are 32 bit to enable efficient GPU implementation. It's possible to make registers 64 bit though - it's supported in miners below.
The random sequence changes every block. Block height is used as a seed for random number generator. This allows CPU/GPU miners to precompile optimized code for each block. It also allows to verify optimized code for all future blocks against reference implementation, so it'll be guaranteed safe to use in Monero daemon/wallet software.
An example of generated random math:
Optimized CPU miner:
Optimized GPU miner:
Instruction set is chosen from instructions that are efficient on CPUs/GPUs compared to ASIC: all of them except XOR are complex operations at logic circuit level and require O(logN) gate delay. These operations have been studied extensively for decades and modern CPUs/GPUs already have the best implementations.
SUB, XOR are never executed with the same operands to prevent degradation to zero. ADD is defined as a 3-way operation with random 32-bit constant to fix trailing zero bits that tend to accumulate after multiplications.
Code generator ensures that minimal required latency for ASIC to execute random math is at least 2.5 times higher than what was needed for DIV+SQRT in CryptonightV2: current settings ensure latency equivalent to a chain of 15 multiplications while optimal ASIC implementation of DIV+SQRT has latency equivalent to a chain of 6 multiplications.
It also accounts for super-scalar and out of order CPUs which can execute more than 1 instruction per clock cycle. If ASIC implements random math circuit as simple in-order pipeline, it'll be hit with further up to 1.5x slowdown.
A number of simple checks is implemented to prevent algorithmic optimizations of the generated code. Current instruction mix also helps to prevent algebraic optimizations of the code. My tests show that generated C++ code compiled with all optimizations on is only 5% faster on average than direct translation to x86 machine code - this is synthetic test with just random math in the loop, but the actual Cryptonight loop is still dominated by memory access, so this number is needed to estimate the limits of possible gains for ASIC.
Performance on CPU/GPU and ASIC
CryptonightR parameters were chosen to:
Actual numbers (hashrate and power consumption for different CPUs and GPUs) are available here.
ASIC will have to implement some simple and minimalistic instruction decoder and execution pipeline. While it's not impossible, it's much harder to create efficient out of order pipeline which can track all data dependencies and do more than 1 instruction per cycle. It will also have to use fixed clock cycle length, just like CPU, so for example XOR (single logic gate) won't be much faster anymore.
ASIC with external memory will have the same performance as they did on CryptonightV2, but they will require much more chip area to implement multiple CPU-like execution pipelines.
Has this been compared for pros/cons with the claimed "FPGA-proof" CN-GPU algo? I have 0 clue how they compare and lack the technical know-how to compare the two, but figured this would be a good place to discuss them to be sure we get the best of all available PoW algorithms:
Hadn't seen the merits/issues of it discussed elsewhere by people who know these things.
That's exactly what I was hoping to hear. I had no idea it was GPU-only, as there is no documentation around it. Thanks
@SChernykh How are the instruction frequencies calculated? I remember it used to be 3/8 for multiplication and 1/8 for the rest.
Regarding "CN-GPU", it replaces the AES encryption in the initialization loop with keccak and then the main loop is replaced with just a lot of floating point math (single precision multiplication and addition). That's why it's power hungry. It will be most likely compute-bound on CPUs and possibly also on some GPUs.
Yes, it is like you say initially (except ROR/ROL are less frequent (1/16) in favor of XOR (1/4)):
But it changes during code generation because code generator adjusts some sequences to avoid possible ASIC optimizations. You can read comments in variant4_random_math.h starting from line 263:
The instruction frequencies in the table are average from first 10,000,000 random programs.
These rules make sense since there is just one 'program' per block.
[We are asicmakers (but not interested in secret Monero mining)]
Is it possible to use data from the blockchain itself in the PoW algo? block data? The problem with PoW in our view is that it's isolated from the block data. Inclusion of block data would force asicmakers to make chips that could be more useful later.
How it would affect existing ASIC designs (if there are any which I doubt):
Effect on CPU/GPU: my tests show absolutely no changes to their performance/power usage.