Blockchain’s Burden

Blockchains are spreading. Originally proposed in 2008, by the still-unidentified Satoshi Nakamoto, as a secure public ledger for recording Bitcoin transactions, blockchains have moved beyond Bitcoin to a profusion of other cryptocurrencies, and beyond cryptocurrencies into a plethora of other applications (Figure 1). Figure 1. Blockchains are evolving to implement a wide range of services that […]

FPGAs and Data Centers: It Takes a Stack

CATEGORIES : All, Data Center, Design Challenges/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

Design experience across a wide range of applications—from signal processing to network packet processing to cryptography to deep learning inference—has shown that, properly used, FPGAs can provide very substantial performance and power  improvements in algorithm execution. Generally, these improvements come from implementing computational kernels—the inner loops of the algorithm—in the FPGA hardware, offloading these kernels […]

Opening Windows into SoC Hardware

CATEGORIES : SoC, System Management/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

There is a long tradition in system design for embedding special hardware to observe and manipulate the state of the system. From the beginning of digital computing, central processors have had hardware to support single-step, loading and examination of registers and memory, and setting of breakpoints for software debugging. Much later chronologically but early in […]

Securing IoT Devices can be Never-Ending

CATEGORIES : IoT, System Security/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

“Mommy, Daddy … Why is the sky blue?” As you scramble for an answer that lies somewhere between a discussion of refraction in gasses and “Oh, look—a doggie!” you already know the response to whatever you say will be a horrifyingly sincere “But why?” And so on, until your patience lies in tatters at your […]

Learning from the Next-Gen Firewall

CATEGORIES : Data Center, IoT, System Security/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

Torrents of packets will cascade into the data center: endless streams of data from the Internet of Things (IoT), massive flows of cellular network traffic into virtualized network functions, bursts of input to Web applications. And hidden in the cascades, far darker bits try to slip through: cyber attacks. They may seek to interfere with […]