Senior Design Projects on Display at Virtual Fall Expo

Monday, December 14, 2020

Senior will be presenting their innovative and creative design solutions to engineering challenges at the fall 2020 Senior Design Expo, which will be held virtually on Dec. 17th. One of the teams participating will be the FPGA Secure Design Flow team, which has developed a new encryption method for programmers customizing hardware applications.

The team is made up of Wallace Obey, a double major in electrical and computer engineering; William Halaburda, an electrical engineering major; and Guillermo Briceno, a computer engineering major. The official title of their project is "A Novel User-Friendly Automated Framework for FPGA Design Logic Encryption." Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are integrated circuits designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing.

“Our work looks at a way to encrypt a FPGA device through a totally automated process,” Wallace said. “Our software allows anyone to feed in their hardware code, and then our system creates an encrypted design. To open the encryption, you have to input a software key to unlock the original design.”

The team started with five members, but two had to leave the project. In addition to the project and their regular course work, all of the remaining team members were also working at engineering internships this semester.

“We each put in a lot of time on the project, and it has been a very busy semester,” Wallace said. “We have definitely learned a lot about hardware security from the project.”

William said the knowledge they have gained from the project will be very useful as they enter the professional world. “Prior to this I had no experience with FPGA” he said. “It really opened my eyes to how FPGA works and the importance of hardware security encryption.”

The team published a paper about the project, which was presented at IEEE HONET 2020 (2020 IEEE 17th International Conference on Smart Communities: Improving Quality of Life Using ICT, IoT and AI (HONET). A second paper from the team will be published in January.

The virtual fall 2020 Senior Design Expo will begin at 8 am on Thursday the 17th, and can be accessed at the website here. Winners will be announced to Best Project (1st, 2nd and 3rd place) and Best Project Video (1st, 2nd and 3rd place).