Since 2009, the annual Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship has enabled Qualcomm to help foster the research and development of new technologies in key areas of interest to the semiconductor industry through investments in Ph.D. students and their forward-thinking ideas. Members of winning teams are awarded a fellowship and partner with a Qualcomm mentor to help facilitate their proposed research plan.
For this year’s fellowship, Qualcomm listed “Secure System Design” as one of their eight areas of interest. Upon seeing this, Andy Meza (UCSD) was inspired to join forces with current research collaborator and former UCSD labmate Colin Drewes (Stanford) in order to submit a proposal, given their shared interest and background in hardware security research. From December 2022 to July 2023, Andy and Colin’s research proposal, “Facilitating Security Verification via Hyperflow Analysis” made its way through the Abstract phase (182 teams), the Full Proposal phase (90 teams), and the Finalist Presentation and Live Q&A phase (43 teams) in order to end up among the winning proposals (18 teams).
The funding and mentorship from the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship will enable Andy and Colin to continue their research into automated methodologies for detecting, exploiting, and, ultimately, mitigating security vulnerabilities in hardware designs. It will also support their sushi-eating and coffee-drinking endeavors, which, as any serious researcher knows, is a critical part of the research process.
Congrats Andy and Colin!