What has the ATTRACT seed funding enabled you to do so far?
ATTRACT seed funding enabled us to work on the very challenging problem of hardware trojan (HT) detection from a different perspective trying for the first time to develop an AI empowered multi-scale approach. Specifically, the proposed methodology goes a step forward from the detection approaches that are available today providing a holistic global solution to the HT challenge. The combined effect of the known validation approaches with the latest deep learning algorithms will lead to the development of a novel gold standard HT detection tool that is expected to revolutionise the Integrated Circuit (IC) sector. So far, a first prototype has been built and applied on the pre-silicon phase, data augmentation algorithms have been applied to increase the sample size and resolve issues related to class imbalance. At the moment, we are combining decisions generated at both pre- and post- silicon phases to increase the detection accuracy.
What challenges have you faced so far?
The main challenges we have faced were the availability of representative HT data and the problem of class imbalance given that there are hundreds of trojan-infected variants for each trojan-free circuit.To overcome the aforementioned challenges, we made use of ~1000 circuit benchmarks and counted on the latest generative adversarial networks (GANs) to overcome the class imbalance problem.
Where does your ATTRACT journey go from here?
The proposed HERO HT detection mechanism will open new trends for protecting complex chips with several third parties implied in the fabrication chain. Our project contributes towards the direction of building trusted systems with untrusted components. The deployment of HERO technology is expected to bring a breakthrough in numerous IC-related sectors including cell phones, tablets, digital cameras,microelectromechanical systems (DLP projectors, inkjet printers, and accelerometers and MEMS gyroscopes), photonics, and sensor applications in medical implants or other bioelectronic devices. After proving the concept, the project partners will seek for further funding to achieve a higher maturity level and commercialise the HERO technology.
Sum up in two sentences the advantages of the ATTRACT Programme over other research funding schemes.
The main advantage of ATTRACT program over the other research funding schemes is that it enables researchers to work on small breakthrough ideas/concepts that could not be funded under other schemes. Moreover, ATTRACT has built a co-innovation ecosystem between fundamental research and industrial communities to facilitate scaling up of promising ventures to global markets.