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The expressive power of regular expressions has been often exploited in network intrusion detection systems, virus scanners, and spam filtering applications. However, the flexible pattern matching functionality of regular expressions in these systems comes with significant overheads in terms of both memory and CPU cycles, since every byte of the inspected input needs to be processed and compared against a large set of regular expressions. In this paper the authors present the design, implementation and evaluation of a regular expression matching engine running on Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). The significant spare computational power and data parallelism capabilities of modern GPUs permits the efficient matching of multiple inputs at the same time against a large set of regular expressions.
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