On the Difficulty of Inserting Trojans in Reversible Computing Architectures

Xiaotong Cui, Samah Mohamed Saeed, Alwin Zulehner, Robert Wille, Kaijie Wu, Rolf Drechsler, Ramesh Karri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fabrication-less design houses outsource their designs to third-party foundries to lower fabrication cost. However, this creates opportunities for a rogue in the semiconductor foundry to introduce hardware Trojans, which stay inactive most of the time and cause unintended consequences to the system when triggered. Hardware Trojans in traditional CMOS-based circuits have been studied, and Design-for-Trust (DFT) techniques have been proposed to detect them. Different from traditional circuits in many ways, reversible circuits implement one-to-one input/output mappings. In this paper, we investigate the security implications of reversible circuits with a particular focus on the susceptibility to hardware Trojans. To this end, we consider reversible functions implemented using reversible circuits as well as irreversible functions embedded in reversible circuits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8331941
Pages (from-to)960-972
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020


  • Hardware Trojans
  • ancillary inputs
  • design for trust
  • reversible circuits
  • scrambling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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