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Hardware footprinting of software


Suitable for

MSc in Computer Science


The target of this project is safety relevant, embedded, automotive applications (steering, braking, airbags, drive by wire controls) where the computational state of an embedded controller must be checked before the system can be enabled for each drive cycle. The suggested topic is to outline and demonstrate a system of determining the hardware (gates/transistors/memories) within a controller architecture that is required to execute a given binary image for all possible data input - the 'silicon footprint' of an executable. This 'silicon footprint' would be useful in verifying the diagnostic coverage of a given self-checking code, for targeting error injection into the computation for test purposes, and to optimise power required for common used items. Such proof of diagnostic coverage (ability to detect static and transient faults in the processing core) is requested in the new ISO26262 automotive functional safety standard - but no tools or methods exist today to measure the 'silicon footprint' of an algorithm, so claims on diagnostic coverage are mostly derived from generic silicon failure rates, which is a sub-optimal approach.

There is scope in this project for collaboration project with Infineon Technologies (Bristol, UK).