Benchmarking Advanced Security Closure of Physical Layouts: ISPD 2023 Contest

Mohammad Eslami, Johann Knechtel, Ozgur Sinanoglu, Ramesh Karri, Samuel Pagliarini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Computer-Aided design (CAD) tools traditionally optimize "only'' for power, performance, and area (PPA). However, given the wide range of hardware-security threats that have emerged, future CAD flows must also incorporate techniques for designing secure and trustworthy integrated circuits (ICs). This is because threats that are not addressed during design time will inevitably be exploited in the field, where system vulnerabilities induced by ICs are almost impossible to fix. However, there is currently little experience for designing secure ICs within the CAD community. This contest seeks to actively engage with the community to close this gap. The theme is security closure of physical layouts, that is, hardening the physical layouts at design time against threats that are executed post-design time. Acting as security engineers, contest participants will proactively analyse and fix the vulnerabilities of benchmark layouts in a blue-Team approach. Benchmarks and submissions are based on the generic DEF format and related files. This contest is focused on the threat of Trojans, with challenging aspects for physical design in general and for hindering Trojan insertion in particular. For one, layouts are based on the ASAP7 library and rules are strict, e.g., no DRC issues and no timing violations are allowed at all. In the alpha/qualifying round, submissions are evaluated using first-order metrics focused on exploitable placement and routing resources, whereas in the final round, submissions are thoroughly evaluated (red-Teamed) through actual insertion of different Trojans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationISPD 2023 - Proceedings of the 2023 International Symposium on Physical Design
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781450399784
StatePublished - Mar 26 2023
Event32nd ACM International Symposium on Physical Design, ISPD 2023 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Mar 26 2023Mar 29 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Symposium on Physical Design


Conference32nd ACM International Symposium on Physical Design, ISPD 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • ASAP7
  • Contest
  • Hardware Security
  • Hardware Trojans
  • Physical Design
  • Security Closure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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