We are thrilled to have been selected as the winner of the OpenUK 2022 Awards Hardware Category and would like to thank OpenUK, the award sponsors StackPublishing, the judges and all our hard working staff at lowRISC without whom this would not be possible.
Recent headlines about ransomware attacks, account phishing, and identity theft continue to underscore the critical importance of cybersecurity in our everyday lives. This has led to a growing awareness among most businesses and households of important mitigations like encryption, 2-factor authentication and verified software updates. But guess what? There’s an unsung hero behind all these safeguards that underpins their effectiveness: the silicon Root of Trust (RoT). And yet, despite the vital role these RoTs play, few people, including even security professionals, are familiar with what a Root of Trust is — or in fact that it even exists.
CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom, Oct. 5th, 2022 – lowRISC C.I.C., the open source system on a chip (SoC) organization, today announced the appointment of Prof. Dr. Claudia Eckert to its board of directors. Eckert holds the chair for IT Security in the Department of Computer Science at Technical University of Munich (TUM) and is director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security (AISEC) in Munich, overseeing more than 220 researchers.
OpenTitan is a powerful open source silicon root of trust project, designed from scratch as a transparent, trustworthy and secure implementation for enterprises, platform providers and chip manufacturers. Featuring numerous hardware security features ranging from secure boot and remote attestation to secure storage of private user data. The open source development model allows OpenTitan to serve as a vehicle for innovation in academia, but also as an effective commercial platform as well.
lowRISC Acquires NewAE Technology, Adding Advanced Security Analysis Tools to the OpenTitan Platform
lowRISC C.I.C., the open source organization dedicated to bringing secure collaborative innovation to silicon development, today announced the acquisition of NewAE Technology, Inc., a privately-held designer and manufacturer of broadly accessible silicon security analysis tools. The acquisition brings added momentum to lowRISC, whose OpenTitan project – a collaboration between lowRISC, Google, Western Digital, Seagate and other commercial and academic partners – has created the first transparent, high-quality reference design and integration guidelines for silicon root of trust (RoT) chips.
lowRISC is delighted that Andy Hopper, lowRISC’s independent chair, has been knighted for services to Computer Technology. Andy said “As you might imagine I am delighted. What I have achieved is all a result of teamwork. The University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Cluster have provided a wonderfully collaborative and flexible environment within which I have had the good fortune to work for over 40 years.” The culture he created, and his interest in and support for doing things in non-standard ways, has helped to establish over 200 start-ups, including lowRISC CIC.
Last year, along with our partners, lowRISC announced OpenTitan, the world’s first open source silicon root of trust. The project has progressed rapidly since then. A recent Google Security Blog post detailed key milestones met, our growth in contributors, and revealed news of the first commercial OpenTitan tapeout. OpenTitan’s success demonstrates the value of the lowRISC collaborative engineering model, wherein our full-stack engineering team allows us to serve as an essential development hub.
On October 20th, lowRISC CIC won in the Open Hardware category at the 2020 OpenUK Awards, describing lowRISC as “the jewel in the crown of the UK’s open silicon companies”. The OpenUK awards promote “UK Leadership in Open Technology”, and are given out by OpenUK, a UK-based not-for-profit company which supports open source collaboration and open technologies within the United Kingdom. On receiving the award, lowRISC CTO, Alex Bradbury, said “We’re incredibly grateful to have been recognised for our achievements and contributions to date.
How we used differential testing to rapidly find and fix missed optimisation opportunities in LLVM's RISC-V backend
At this October 2020 LLVM Developers’ Meeting I presented a poster about how, with a surprisingly simple tool, we were able to rapidly identify, isolate, and fix a range of missed optimisation opportunities in LLVM’s RISC-V backend. The tool works by generating random C programs, compiling each program with both Clang and GCC (targeting RISC-V) and comparing the assembly generated by both compilers. If it estimates that Clang/LLVM generated worse code than GCC then it saves that case for further analysis.
Time is ticking and summer is almost over already. With that, also our this years’ Google Summer of Code (GSoC) projects are coming to an end. A lot of open-source coding has been done, pull requests have been made, reviewed and merged. Experiments have been conducted, results were gathered, interpreted and presented. Bugs were found and fixed, and the resulting designs further improved. Both our students and mentors have been working hard and we are pleased to announce that both our two projects described below have been completed successfully.