The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Daniel Holcomb Participates in NSF Briefing on Semiconductors

Daniel Holcomb

Daniel Holcomb

According to the UMass News Office, Daniel Holcomb, an associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, recently participated in a National Science Foundation media briefing on fundamental research and the future of semiconductors. Joining faculty from Duke University, Boston University, Stanford, and Penn State, Holcomb answered media questions related to semiconductors and the current global shortage of chips.

The White House, Congress, and industry groups have identified semiconductors and microelectronics as a top priority for the U.S. innovation economy, and President Joe Biden recently met with congressional leaders to discuss the shortage of computer chips.

According to the News Office, Holcomb’s research group researches new techniques for securing hardware, aiming to stop everything from physical attacks to counterfeits or malicious tampering with design. Holcomb’s research looks at how to leverage, at a physical level, any information advantages held by trusted parties over attackers.

In addition to traditional ASIC chips, Holcomb’s team is also looking into field-programmable gate-array technology, so that chips coming out of fabrication aren’t complete until the group ordering them receives them and adds programming.

As Holcomb says, “My research is on building secure embedded systems that are also reliable and efficient. I lead a laboratory of talented researchers that pursue these goals working broadly across computer engineering topics such as formal verification, CAD, and VLSI design. Current projects are on designing secure hardware (low-power ASIC and FPGA), obfuscation and reverse engineering, interdomain routing, and supply chain security.”

Holcomb earned his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UMass Amherst and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California Berkeley. (April 2021)