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IIT Guwahati develops secure integrated circuits for efficient computing

Researchers at the Automation, Verification, and Security (AVS) Lab at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, have worked towards developing secure and dependable integrated circuits (ICs) for faster and more efficient computing. The research looks at all aspects of the automated electronics design process like synthesis, verification, and security, and contributes towards strengthening the electronics manufacturing ecosystem in India. The findings have been published in top tier journals and conferences of IEEE. The research team is funded by ECR, CRG, and Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (ICPS) grants from the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, and by a Research Fellowship from Intel (India).

With increasing computational demands, there is a need for application-specific processors that can outperform current CPUs. While multicore processors are being used in modern times, their computing power improvements continue to be insufficient. To cite an analogy for better understanding, running more cars on the road does not necessarily mean you can reach your destination faster; in fact, more cars can lead to congestion and delays.

Pointing out the importance and need of research in the area of increasing computational power, Dr. Chandan Karfa, said “A promising technology to improve computational efficiency is hardware accelerators. In hardware acceleration, specific tasks can be offloaded to dedicated hardware instead of being performed by the CPU core of the system. For example, visualization processes may be offloaded onto a graphics card, thereby freeing the CPU to perform other tasks.”

The impact of the IIT Guwahati team’s work is enormous because of the increasing demand for hardware accelerators in disruptive areas such as Internet-of-Things (IoT), embedded and cyber-physical systems, machine learning and image processing applications. With the Government of India’s recent approval of the Rs 76,000 crore scheme to boost semiconductor manufacturing in the country, efficient EDA aids such as those designed by the IIT Guwahati team will support and promote self-sufficiency in chip design.

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