13 April 2010 Watermarking strategies for IP protection of micro-processor cores
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Reuse-based design has emerged as one of the most important methodologies for integrated circuit design, with reusable Intellectual Property (IP) cores enabling the optimization of company resources due to reduced development time and costs. This is of special interest in the Field-Programmable Logic (FPL) domain, which mainly relies on automatic synthesis tools. However, this design methodology has brought to light the intellectual property protection (IPP) of those modules, with most forms of protection in the EDA industry being difficult to translate to this domain. However, IP core watermarking has emerged as a tool for IP core protection. Although watermarks may be inserted at different levels of the design flow, watermarking Hardware Description Language (HDL) descriptions has been proved to be a robust and secure option. In this paper, a new framework for the protection of μP cores is presented. The protection scheme is derived from the IPP@HDL procedure and it has been adapted to the singularities of μP cores, overcoming the problems for the digital signature extraction in such systems. Additionally, the feature of hardware activation has been introduced, allowing the distribution of μP cores in a "demo" mode and a later activation that can be easily performed by the customer executing a simple program. Application examples show that the additional hardware introduced for protection and/or activation has no effect over the performance, and showing an assumable area increase.
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L. Parrilla, E. Castillo, U. Meyer-Bäse, A. García, D. González, E. Todorovich, E. Boemo, A. Lloris, "Watermarking strategies for IP protection of micro-processor cores", Proc. SPIE 7703, Independent Component Analyses, Wavelets, Neural Networks, Biosystems, and Nanoengineering VIII, 77030L (13 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.850526; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.850526

Digital watermarking


Intellectual property

Computer aided design

Integrated circuit design

Electronic design automation

Field programmable gate arrays

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