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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
  2. Due to the increasing complexity of modern hetero-geneous System-on-Chips (SoC) and the growing vulnerabilities, security risk assessment and quantification is required to measure the trustworthiness of a SoC. This paper describes a systematic approach to model the security risk of a system for malicious hardware attacks. The proposed method uses graph analysis to assess the impact of an attack and the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is used to quantify the security level of the system. To demonstrate the applicability of the proposed metric, we consider two open source SoC benchmarks with different architectures. The overall risk is calculated using the proposed metric by computing the exploitability and impact of attack on critical components of a SoC.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  3. Cloud deployments now increasingly exploit Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) accelerators as part of virtual instances. While cloud FPGAs are still essentially single-tenant, the growing demand for efficient hardware acceleration paves the way to FPGA multi-tenancy. It then becomes necessary to explore architectures, design flows, and resource management features that aim at exposing multi-tenant FPGAs to the cloud users. In this article, we discuss a hardware/software architecture that supports provisioning space-shared FPGAs in Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) clouds. The proposed hardware/software architecture introduces an FPGA organization that improves hardware consolidation and support hardware elasticity with minimal data movement overhead. It also relies on VirtIO to decrease communication latency between hardware and software domains. Prototyping the proposed architecture with a Virtex UltraScale+ FPGA demonstrated near specification maximum frequency for on-chip data movement and high throughput in virtual instance access to hardware accelerators. We demonstrate similar performance compared to single-tenant deployment while increasing FPGA utilization, which is one of the goals of virtualization. Overall, our FPGA design achieved about 2× higher maximum frequency than the state of the art and a bandwidth reaching up to 28 Gbps on 32-bit data width.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 30, 2023
  4. In this article, we survey existing academic and commercial efforts to provide Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) acceleration in datacenters and the cloud. The goal is a critical review of existing systems and a discussion of their evolution from single workstations with PCI-attached FPGAs in the early days of reconfigurable computing to the integration of FPGA farms in large-scale computing infrastructures. From the lessons learned, we discuss the future of FPGAs in datacenters and the cloud and assess the challenges likely to be encountered along the way. The article explores current architectures and discusses scalability and abstractions supported by operating systems, middleware, and virtualization. Hardware and software security becomes critical when infrastructure is shared among tenants with disparate backgrounds. We review the vulnerabilities of current systems and possible attack scenarios and discuss mitigation strategies, some of which impact FPGA architecture and technology. The viability of these architectures for popular applications is reviewed, with a particular focus on deep learning and scientific computing. This work draws from workshop discussions, panel sessions including the participation of experts in the reconfigurable computing field, and private discussions among these experts. These interactions have harmonized the terminology, taxonomy, and the important topics covered in this manuscript.
  5. Cloud and data center applications increasingly leverage FPGAs because of their performance/watt benefits and flexibility advantages over traditional processing cores such as CPUs and GPUs. As the rising demand for hardware acceleration gradually leads to FPGA multi-tenancy in the cloud, there are rising concerns about the security challenges posed by FPGA virtualization. Exposing space-shared FPGAs to multiple cloud tenants may compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of FPGA-accelerated applications. In this work, we present a hardware/software architecture for domain isolation in FPGA-accelerated clouds and data centers with a focus on software-based attacks aiming at unauthorized access and information leakage. Our proposed architecture implements Mandatory Access Control security policies from software down to the hardware accelerators on FPGA. Our experiments demonstrate that the proposed architecture protects against such attacks with minimal area and communication overhead.
  6. Convolutional Neural Networks are compute-intensive learning models that have demonstrated ability and effectiveness in solving complex learning problems. However, developing a high-performance FPGA accelerator for CNN often demands high programming skills, hardware verification, precise distribution localization, and long development cycles. Besides, CNN depth increases by reuse and replication of multiple layers. This paper proposes a programming flow for CNN on FPGA to generate high-performance accelerators by assembling CNN pre-implemented components as a puzzle based on the graph topology. Using pre-implemented components allows us to use the minimum of resources necessary, predict the performance, and gain in productivity since there is no need to synthesize any HDL code. Furthermore, components can be reused for a different range of applications. Through prototyping, we demonstrated the viability and relevance of our approach. Experiments show a productivity improvement of up to 69% compared to a traditional FPGA implementation while achieving over 1.75× higher Fmax with lower resources and power consumption.
  7. Cloud deployments now increasingly provision FPGA accelerators as part of virtual instances. While FPGAs are still essentially single-tenant, the growing demand for hardware acceleration will inevitably lead to the need for methods and architectures supporting FPGA multi-tenancy. In this paper, we propose an architecture supporting space-sharing of FPGA devices among multiple tenants in the cloud. The proposed architecture implements a network-on-chip (NoC) designed for fast data movement and low hardware footprint. Prototyping the proposed architecture on a Xilinx Virtex Ultrascale + demonstrated near specification maximum frequency for on-chip data movement and high throughput in virtual instance access to hardware accelerators. We demonstrate similar performance compared to single-tenant deployment while increasing FPGA utilization (we achieved 6× higher FPGA utilization with our case study), which is one of the major goals of virtualization. Overall, our NoC interconnect achieved about 2× higher maximum frequency than the state-of-the-art and a bandwidth of 25.6 Gbps
  8. FPGAs are getting an increasing interest from public clouds and cloud research projects. They are particularly attractive because of their ability to serve as energy efficient and customizable hardware accelerators. Commercial clouds have however highlighted the lack of multi-tenancy support, which does not permit hardware consolidation as it is not possible to space-share FPGA resources between multiple tenants. In this paper, we propose an architecture that divides the FPGA into logically isolated regions that we call ” virtual regions ” (VR). The VRs are immersed in a NoC interconnect allowing flexible communication, fast data movement, and low hardware footprint. The proposed architecture enables multitenancy as VRs can be allocated to different tenants at runtime.