Developing Systems Worthy of Our Trust

Portrait of Eric Van Hensbergen
Eric Van Hensbergen, Fellow and Systems Research Lead

Systems research isn’t just about the architecture or microarchitecture of a single core or accelerator. It's about the entire stack, and all the components within and across the multiple layers. At Arm, we look to evolve software alongside the architecture and microarchitecture of the hardware we’re investigating. This co-design approach is crucial for building better systems. Just developing software for existing hardware platforms, or vice versa, limits the ability to unlock capabilities, solve problems, and achieve the advances our ecosystem requires. We look for the gaps in the software ecosystem and how the hardware needs to adapt to meet these needs, no matter where they are distributed.

But it’s not all about performance gains. Security has never been more critical as a system is only as secure as its weakest link. Our research helps us systematically remove excuses for untrustworthiness, eliminating vulnerabilities and protecting our data and devices. Our system design principles minimize the trusted computing base, reducing what ‘needs’ to be trusted and ensuring the security of that base through rigorous verification methods. We aim to develop new security and robustness mechanisms that help to eliminate performance costs and other overheads, making security implementation as frictionless as possible.

One of our biggest challenges is that the technology we develop can be used in Arm applications ranging from the smallest IoT devices through to the largest supercomputers. How do we build a software ecosystem that allows the same software to run across these multiple nodes, and the many applications where a single application doesn’t just run on a single node? It’s a unique challenge which Arm is in a great position to solve, and we’re excited to make even more progress throughout 2021.

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