Virtual Architecture Overlay for Computer Hardware Security

Technology #16477

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Greg M. Stitt
Kai Yang
Swarup Bhunia
Robert A. Karam
Managed By
Richard Croley
Assistant Director 352-392-8929
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

Increases Hardware Security and Information Processing Efficiency

This virtual architecture interface improves both security and performance for field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). FPGAs are integrated circuits that can be configured — and reconfigured — by a customer after manufacture. They function almost as blank slates, which the customer can customize with a bit file. This flexibility allows FGPA use in a wide variety of fields, including wearable electronics, space exploration, defense and the internet of things (IoT), which refers to the connection of devices like appliances, cars or health monitors to the internet. Available computer-aided design (CAD) tools for FPGAs fail to provide the security, performance, and programmability that these types of uses demand.

Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a full bridge LLC resonant converter that automatically dampens the amount of electromagnetic interference produced.


These virtual architecture interfaces provide a range of overlay architectures to improve the performance, security, and programmability of FGPAs


  • Improves data security, reducing risk of piracy or cloning
  • Constructs overlay architecture closely matched to the requirements of an application or domain, improving programmability, flexibility, and productivity
  • Reduces bitstream size, enabling easier field upgrades
  • Allows for dynamic reconfiguration of FPGAs, improving working flexibility
  • Increases design-space exploration speed by three orders of magnitude, allowing for faster innovation and development


Unique virtual architectures make the underlying hardware appear different on every FPGA device, despite having the same functionality, by separating true device functionality from hardware-specific resources. The architecture interface makes reverse engineering, piracy, and tampering difficult because while the actual FPGA architecture is described in documentation, and the hardware itself is identical among specific devices. The overlay architecture can be proprietary for a company or product and kept confidential. The automatically-generated architectural variants can deter large-scale piracy and reverse engineering efforts.