Farahmandi Receives NSF CAREER Award for AI-Assisted Security Verification Framework

Dr. Farimah Farahmandi

Walden C. Rhines Endowed Assistant Professor for Hardware Security Farimah Farahmandi has received an NSF CAREER award in support of her project “SAIF: Security Assurance through AI and Formal Approaches for System-on-Chips.” The project seeks to enhance the safety and security of microelectronics by creating an innovative AI-assisted security verification framework for modern complex system-on-chip (SoC) devices.

Integrated circuits are critical components in many vital electronic devices and systems, including those used in financial services, military and defense applications, healthcare systems, and business operations. Such circuits are subject to an ever-growing number of security vulnerabilities and attacks due to their complex functionality, increased interactions among numerous functional blocks, and connectivity to the internet.

Dr. Farahmandi’s SAIF framework aims to address these vulnerabilities in a number of ways. The AI-assisted framework seeks to provide high verification coverage while dramatically reducing the time required to verify the integrity of micro devices like SOCs. By taking humans out of the process and leveraging the power of AI, the SAIF framework is able to lower security verification time by orders of magnitude while providing scalability of circuit complexity. SAIF provides computer chip design and verification engineers with properties and tools to check for security vulnerabilities before fabrication and the system promises to be extremely adaptable as new attack surfaces and modalities are discovered.

This project will integrate research and educational activities by developing a modified curriculum/syllabus for high schoolers, workforce development, minority recruiting, training/workshops for K-12 and undergraduate students, and disseminating research results through publications, seminars, tutorials, and panels.