Farahmandi Works to Optimize Chip Lifecycle Management

Dr. Farimah Farahmandi

Yangbin Wang Rising Star Endowed Assistant Professor Farimah Farahmandi has received funding from the Office of Naval Research in support of her project “Optimized System Design for Assurance and Life-Cycle Management (SaLEM).” The objective of the $498K project is to develop a sustainable and security-aware life-cycle management solution, called SALeM, that monitors the run-time behaviors and silicon status of microelectronic devices. The team will also develop novel designs for upgradable hardware, meaning that the design can be altered and enhanced during runtime.

SaLEM is a first-of-its-kind optimized system designed for assurance and lifecycle management. It is intended to address key sustainability and security concerns in semiconductor manufacturing while enhancing device sustainability and mitigating e-waste issues. A key feature of the SALeM system is fine-grained monitoring to enable run-time security monitoring and in-field upgrades. The monitoring is accomplished by distributed monitoring agents, essentially sensors embedded in the hardware. The monitoring agents collect and report data (e.g., aging status) from chiplets which is then transmitted to a reconfigurable fabric, an embedded FPGA (eFPGA), for further analysis. The sensors provide meticulous observability in security-critical areas, while reconfigurable hardware-based controllers offer adaptability in deploying dynamic security policies against sophisticated attacks like zero-day threats. This detailed level of data monitoring and communication will enable the recovery of systems in the field and over-the-air hardware security updates, greatly enhancing overall device security, reducing the frequency of device replacement, and enabling device reuse.

By focusing on reducing device replacement frequency, extending device lifespan, and enabling device reuse for diverse applications, SALeM aims to mitigate sustainability challenges and supply chain disruptions. The methodology shows great potential for semiconductor manufacturing, highlighting a strategy for the integration of advanced monitoring capabilities into future products.

Dr. Farahmandi’s SaLEM project continues her work in the national security space by creating trustworthy and sustainable electronics for secure and reliable hardware used in military and naval systems, the aerospace industry, financial systems, and automobile systems. Both semiconductor manufacturing companies and OEM companies stand to benefit from this research.