Saturday, August 16, 2014

RPiSoC Webinar has announced a webinar on the RPiSoC platform. RPiSoC is a board with a PSoC system-on-chip that connects to the Raspberry Pi and allows it to make use of the PSoC I/O analog and digital configurable I/O. You can find more information on the webinar here.

Monday, August 11, 2014

NIST CPS Public Working Group Meeting

NIST is having its first face-to-face meeting of its Cyber-Physical Systems Public Working Group today and tomorrow.  The agenda is here.  The plenary meetings will be available online and a live webcast.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

USB Trojan attack reports on a recently discovered gaping security hole in USB---see this link. Bugs carried on USB sticks have been implicated in many attacks, including Stuxnet, but this attack relies on modifying the USB controller's software, which is extremely difficult to detect.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

NIST CPS Public Working Group

NIST has announced the first webinar meeting of its Cyber-Physical Systems Public Working Group (CPS PWG).  More details can be found here.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Second Edition of High Performance Embedded Computing

The second edition of my book High Performance Embedded Computing has just been published by Morgan Kaufman.  This book takes a more advanced view of embedded system design than does my other book Computers as Components. HPEC goes into detail on system architectures, design algorithms, performance analysis, energy and power.  A new chapter concentrates on cyber-physical systems. This new edition also covers thermal-aware design of embedded systems.

You can find the book's overheads and other supplements at my Web site. And you can order it from a variety of sources, including Amazon.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

More on Stuxnet

I just ran across this excellent article on Stuxnet in, of all places, Foreign Policy magazine. It contains the best technical overview of Stuxnet that I've seen so far.

Friday, March 14, 2014


I attended a meeting today on the DARPA SHIELD program where I learned a lot about the problems of assuring the integrity of electronic hardware.  Counterfeit parts are a major concern for the U. S. military and a growing concern for companies.  The SHIELD program will develop a tag with a unique ID that can be attached to all sorts of electronic components.  The tag chip will be designed to
resist efforts to examine or alter it.

Counterfeit parts are widespread and come from a variety of sources.  False designs that contain Easter eggs designed to activate at a later date and cause problem are just one of the concerns.  A lot of fake chips are recycled from old, recycled electronics; ironically, much of that recycled gear comes from U. S. consumers.  Other fakes were made by the manufacturer but didn't pass all their tests for performance, temperature, etc.  The entities that sell these chips range from mom-and-pop operations to sophisticated criminal organizations to countries.  Some of the counterfeiters just want to make money while others are intent on harming the United States.

Interestingly, DARPA thinks that some of the most serious threat comes not from the high-end components but from simpler, commodity parts.  If your Ethernet chip goes bad, it can cause just as much problems as a bad high-performance CPU.  And intermittent failures, which are common in counterfeits, are harder to debug and trace to the part causing the problem.

Electronic parts have very long, complex supply chains.   All it takes is one slip-up anywhere along that path to allow bad parts to slip into the sytsem. Paperwork on the sources of components isn't enough.  The SHIELD program could make a big change in how we think about manufacturing and using electronics.