OneSpin Contributes Processor Integrity Solution for ZuSE-Scale4Edge Government-Funded Project to Assure Integrity of Edge Computing Processors

·6-min read

Collaborating with project partners on verifying functional correctness, functional safety, and security in RISC-V processors for use in commercial artificial intelligence and industry 4.0 designs

OneSpin® Solutions, provider of certified IC integrity verification solutions for building functionally correct, safe, secure and trusted integrated circuits, today announced it is a contributing partner in the Scalable Infrastructure for Edge Computing (Scale4Edge) project. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) of the German government under the ZuSE program, the Scale4Edge project is focused on providing a commercial ecosystem to accelerate the development of advanced edge computing processors to handle the massive amount of data calculations for today’s and future AI and Industry 4.0 applications. This ecosystem will utilize the RISC-V instruction set architecture due to its scalability, flexibility, and cost-effective attributes.

About the Scale4Edge project:

Today’s electronics are being built with more and more artificial intelligence, data-processing, and automation capabilities. Autonomous driving, IoT (Internet of Things), and modern manufacturing are just a few examples. The processors driving these applications must carry out crucial initial calculations and analyze massive amounts of data quickly and accurately. Therefore these processors must be powerful, reliable, robust, and trustworthy.

The BMBF’s ZuSE projects are intended to meet the urgent need of AI user industries for future-proof, trustworthy processors that are tailored to these specific tasks and are high-performing. The Scale4Edge project is researching and working to create an ecosystem (the set of development tools, IP blocks, accelerators, firmware, etc.) that will give edge component providers a competitive advantage and allow them to develop high-quality edge devices quickly and cost-effectively. The development platform will offer a complete accessible environment with all the necessary development components. SMEs in particular can benefit from this effort in order to develop cost-effective, innovative edge devices.

OneSpin’s Contribution to the Scale4Edge Project:

OneSpin’s solutions will ensure the integrity of the RISC-V cores that address the urgent commercial need for trustworthy, high-performing processors for the rapidly growing artificial intelligence (AI) and industry 4.0 markets. As a Scale4Edge partner, OneSpin will work closely with the other project partners on establishing functional correctness and safety to meet strict automotive ISO 26262 standards. In addition, OneSpin will work with the Technical University of Kaiserslautern (TUK) to ensure high security standards.

OneSpin will provide the verification solutions that will guarantee these processors are not only bug free and functionally correct, but also safe and secure from nefarious or unintended actions. OneSpin’s solutions will be integrated into the Scale4Edge ecosystem.

"The Scale4Edge project aligns perfectly with the goals we have at OneSpin to fully verify that integrated circuits are functionally correct, safe, trusted and secure," said Raik Brinkmann, OneSpin President and CEO. "Our involvement in this high-profile and important project that will have a significant impact on the industry is a testament to the value of our technology. We look forward to working together with the Scale4Edge partners to assure the integrity of RISC-V based processors."

Security Analysis:

The computing hardware must be free of any weaknesses that allow nefarious modifications to the functionality of the design or interception of confidential information. Processors across the entire complexity spectrum, including open-source RISC-V ISA specification-based hardware, are vulnerable to such security risks. Simulation-only verification even if augmented by assertion checking is not enough and can lead to critical bugs escaping into the final product resulting in functionality errors, performance loss, and security holes. Using simulation-only methods leaves any chance of critical bug detection until late in the process when a fix is much more expensive and time-consuming and can significantly impact the product launch schedule. Technical University of Kaiserslautern (TUK) worked with researchers at Stanford University and developed a computing method called "Unique Program Execution Checking" (UPEC) that identifies dangerous points of attack in the hardware of open-source processors. TUK will use OneSpin’s 360 Design Verification solutions including its GapFreeVerification™ technology to maturize the UPEC methodology. For commercial application, OneSpin will integrate UPEC into its Processor Integrity App which will be used to prove every aspect of processor behavior and quickly identify all functional errors or malicious code that may be used for spying or sabotage.

"We have worked closely with OneSpin in the past with great success," commented Professor Wolfgang Kunz of the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. "The company’s technology is ideally suited for the Scale4Edge development flow. We can think of no better partner for helping us deliver the most robust verification environment to our network of cutting-edge processor developers."

Functional Safety Analysis:

The Scale4Edge ecosystem is designed to allow for the development of smart sensor systems. This flexible environment will provide the required components to develop application-specific sensor solutions on the base of RISC-V. Industrial Scale4Edge partners will define requirements and support the research partners and companies in the targeted development of the Scale4Edge ecosystem.

Besides the development of efficient top-level architectures and related generators, ASIC design flows will be optimized from the system-level down to layout, and partners will develop and verify a RISC-V-based virtual prototype as well as develop an automotive sensor ASIC prototype. During this process, the Scale4Edge partners will work closely with OneSpin to conduct automated functional safety analysis.

Functional Correctness:

MINRES Technologies GmbH creates virtual prototypes and supports customers in the deployment of the virtual prototypes (VP) in the design of embedded software to enable parallelization of hardware and software development. The company develops a generator to produce ISO 26262 conformant RISC-V RTL IP. It will create VP models of its cores and other components in the Scale4Edge ecosystem and integrate formal methods for system validation. The integration of formal methods in virtual platforms will lead to increased use of VPs in the development of security-sensitive applications according to ISO26262. MINRES will work with OneSpin’s Processor Integrity App to check generated RTL with respect to functional correctness, security, and safety.

About OneSpin Solutions

OneSpin Solutions is a leading provider of certified IC integrity verification solutions for building functionally correct, safe, secure and trusted integrated circuits. These solutions are based on OneSpin's widely used formal verification technology and assure the integrity of SoCs, ASICs and FPGAs. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, OneSpin partners with leaders worldwide in automotive and industrial applications; defense; avionics; artificial intelligence and machine learning; consumer electronics; and communications. Its advanced solutions are well-suited for developing heterogeneous computing platforms, using programmable logic, and designing and integrating processor cores, such as RISC-V. OneSpin's customer-oriented commitment is fundamental to its growth and success. OneSpin: Assuring IC Integrity. Visit www.OneSpin.com to learn more.

OneSpin, OneSpin Solutions and the OneSpin logo are trademarks of OneSpin Solutions GmbH. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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