# Modular Arithmetic

Before going straight to cryptography, it is necessary to have clear a few mathematical concepts, as cryptography in based on them.

First, I am going to talk about **modular arithmetic**, also known as **clock arithmetic**, which is defined as:

\[a \equiv b\pmod n,\]

if \(b - a\) is multiple of \(n\), in other words, \(a\) and \(b\) have the same remainder when divided by \(n\).

For example, \(3\equiv 8\pmod 5\), because \(8 - 3 = 5\), which is a 5 multiple. Another way would be knowing that both remainders of 3 divided by 5 and 8 divided by 5 are 3. From now on, I'll write the remainder of a number like this:

\[a\bmod n = r,\]

where \(r\) is the remainder of \(a\) divided by \(n\).

## Computing modular inverses

Given \(a \in \mathbb Z_n\), \(a\) has inverse (also called unit) if \(\exists b \in \mathbb Z_n\ :\ ba = 1\), and its written \(a^{-1}\).

The set of all \(\mathbb Z_n\) units is called \(\mathcal{U}(\mathbb Z_n)\) and is defined as:

\[\mathcal{U}(\mathbb Z_n) = \{ a \in \mathbb Z_n : \exists a^{-1}\} = \{ a \in \mathbb Z_n : gcd(a, n) = 1\},\]

where **gcd** is *Greatest Common Divisor*.

If \(p\) **is prime**, every element in \(\mathbb Z_p\) but zero has inverse, therefore, \(\mathbb Z_p\) is a **field**. Cryptography works with fields \(\mathbb Z_p\) where \(p\) is prime.

The number of units in \(\mathbb Z_n\) can be computed with **Euler's function** \(\phi(n)\):

- If \(p\)
**is prime**\(\phi(p) = p - 1\), because all its elements but zero are units. - Given two integers a,b: \( \phi(ab) = \phi(a)\phi(b)\ \text{iff}\ gcd(a, b) = 1\).
- Given \(p\) prime: \(\phi(p^n) = p^n - p^{n-1}\).

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## Practical example

Lets see **an example**. \(\#\mathcal{U}(\mathbb Z_5) = 4\), because all its elements have inverse (1,2,3,4), and \(\phi(5) = 4\), therefore \(\mathbb Z_5\) **is a field**. However, \(\#\mathcal{U}(\mathbb Z_{15}) = 8\), because \(\phi(15) = \phi(3)\phi(5) = 2\cdot 4 = 8\). The units of \(\mathbb Z_{15}\) are 1,2,4,7,8,11,13,14.

The code below uses the *Euclidean algorithm* to compute the inverse of a number in \(\mathbb Z_n\). This python code is on my github:

```
def extGcd(a,b):
"""
Compute the Greatest Common Divisor d of a and b, and integers x and
y satisfying ax + by = d.
:returns: a tuple (d,x,y)
"""
if b == 0:
return a,1,0
x2 = 1
x1 = 0
y2 = 0
y1 = 1
while b != 0:
q = a//b
r = a - q * b
x = x2 - q * x1
y = y2 - q * y1
a = b
b = r
x2 = x1
x1 = x
y2 = y1
y1 = y
if a < 0:
return map(int, (-a, -x2, -y2))
return map(int, (a, x2, y2))
```

This algorithm returns a tuple `(d, x, y)`

, where `d`

is `gcd(a,b)`

and `x`

is `a mod b`

inverse. For example, `gcd(2, 5)`

, will return `[1, -2, 1]`

, where 1 is `gcd(2, 5)`

, and \(-2\) its inverse, if you want a positive number, just sum 5 to \(-2\), which is 3, therefore 2 mod 5 inverse is 3, because \(2 \cdot 3 = 6\), and 6 mod 5 = 1.

In order to make the task of computing a number's inverse, I've created the method bellow, the code is also available at my github:

```
def moduloInverse(a,n):
""":returns: the inverse of a modulo b, if it exists"""
d,x,y = extGcd(a,n)
if d > 1:
return u' a inverse does not exist'
else:
return x % n
```

Execute it with the same numbers as before, 2 and 5, and it'll return \(2^{-1},\) that is, 3.

# Aknowledgements

I'd like to thank josealberto4444 for helping me with some corrections.

# References

The code shown along this series is hosted on my github

*Cryptography course notes by Professor Jesús García Miranda, Higher Technical School of Information Technology and Telecommunications Engineering of the University of Granada.*

# More resources

Spot a typo?: Help me fix it by contacting me or commenting below!