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Semiconductor Engineering Article: Building Security Into RISC-V Systems

By January 30, 2019May 12th, 2021No Comments

Semiconductor Engineering sat down with Helena Handschuh, a Rambus fellow; Richard Newell, senior principal product architect at Microsemi, a Microchip Company; and Joseph Kiniry, principal scientist at Galois.
SE: It’s extremely rare that you have industry, academia and government all working on the same technology issues, which is what’s happening with RISC-V. How important is that?
Kiniry: It’s critical that it happens, but it’s also important to recognize those different entities have different value metrics. We’re seeing quite a bit of change, particularly with government funding. We’re seeing more and more teams that are absolutely balanced between commercial firms and academics. We’re also seeing more and more of this worldwide. But the main thing we need to realize is that professors are rewarded and promoted based upon papers and research grants, not shipping products. In a company, that’s different. So as funding opportunities appear, academics and companies need to start shifting priorities. Companies need to take research and turn it into products. That’s happening more in the RISC-V community than anywhere else.
Handschuh: We have a great opportunity to bring together industry, academia and government.
Newell: This is happening with security, as well. There are a lot of different approaches with security with RISC-V in general, and the RISC-V Foundation, in particular.
Kiniry: We just completed a program with DARPA. A lot of papers are going to be published, and we’re going to see a real flowering of designs and devices. The next wave of RISC-V devices, which will appear in late 2019 or early 2020, will use one or more approaches that come out of that program.
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