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Protecting Combinational Logic Synthesis Solutions

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4 Author(s)
Darko Kirovski ; Microsoft Res., Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA ; Yean-Yow Hwang ; Miodrag Potkonjak ; Jason Cong

Recently, design reuse has emerged as a dominant design and system-integration paradigm for modern systems on silicon. However, the intellectual-property-business model is vulnerable to many dangerous obstructions, such as misappropriation and copyright fraud. The authors propose a new method for intellectual-property protection that relies upon design watermarking at the combinational-logic-synthesis level. They introduce two protocols for embedding user- and tool-specific information into a logic network while performing multilevel logic minimization and technology mapping, two standard-optimization processes during logic synthesis. The hidden information can be used to protect both the design and the synthesis tool. The authors demonstrate that the difficulty of erasing or finding a valid signature in the synthesized design can be made arbitrarily computationally difficult. In order to evaluate the developed-watermarking method, the authors applied it to a standard set of real-life benchmarks, where high probability of authorship was achieved with negligible overhead on solution quality

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems  (Volume:25 ,  Issue: 12 )