Silicon Fingerprinting: Where Energy Efficiency Meets Security

Thursday, April 21, 2016 10:00 am - 11:00 am EDT (GMT -04:00)


Anys Bacha

Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Ohio State University



For decades, the semiconductor industry thrived on advances in process technology fueled by Moore's law. Unfortunately, densely populated microprocessors are facing increasingly restricted power budgets that are undermining the benefits of traditional multi-core scaling, emphasizing the need to explore low power architectures.

Furthermore, as more of our personal data is collected, created, and consumed through interconnected devices, information security is becoming increasingly important. The rapid growth in mobile and wearable technology is driving the need for scalable designs that can autonomously safeguard digital content, putting more emphasis on hardware-assisted solutions.

I will present how “silicon fingerprints,” inherent in today’s microprocessors, can be used to improve energy efficiency and security. I will first describe how such fingerprints, when combined with error-correcting codes, can enable chips to adapt their reliability constraints according to their operating environments in order to save energy. I will then discuss a technique that dynamically constructs unique 3D maps based on error locations in processor caches. I will show how these maps can be utilized for building autonomous authentication systems, cryptographic key generators, and memoryless key storage.


Anys Bacha is a Ph.D. candidate in the Computer Science and Engineering department at The Ohio State University. His research focuses on developing secure and energy efficient computer systems, and investigating new synergies between mobile and cloud computing to meet the demand of emerging workloads. Anys has 12 years of Research and Development experience with Hewlett-Packard where he worked on a variety of subsystems at the hardware, firmware, and OS levels. In 2014, Anys served as a lead R&D engineer on Hewlett-Packard’s Superdome X project that broke performance records for the SPECjbb2013 benchmark in multiple categories. He recently won The Ohio State CSE Graduate Research Award. Anys has authored publications in top architecture conferences. He holds two patents and has eight additional that are pending.