Keynote talk at the Qualcomm Product Security Summit May 17, 2024.

Keynote talk given by Onur Mutlu on “Future of Computer Architecture and Hardware Security” at the Qualcomm Product Security Summit in San Diego, May 17, 2024.

Future of Computer Architecture and Hardware Security

Computer architecture has been undergoing a revolution with widespread adoption of heterogeneous, specialized and massively parallel hardware systems, to accelerate major data-intensive workloads and enable better system scaling. Hardware for novel computing paradigms (e.g., processing in memory, quantum computing) is already being prototyped and commercialized. At the same time, hardware security issues at the very low levels have been causing great concern and threatening the benefits and future of even old computing paradigms like speculative execution and main memory (DRAM) scaling. We are at an exciting time when the tensions between low-level architecture/technology innovations and security problems such innovations expose are being heavily examined and such tensions are likely to increase for the foreseeable future.

In this talk, we will examine the interplay between computer architecture and system security in modern and emerging computing systems. We will cover major trends in computer architecture and discuss how they may impact hardware and system security.  We will examine potential threats as we see them, especially in areas related to the memory hierarchy and data access. We will also examine the requirements security goals may demand from future hardware architectures and technologies. We aim to provide directions that we believe would be fruitful and important to study to proactively address security challenges of emerging hardware architectures and design fundamentally-secure computing systems.

Onur Mutlu is a Professor of Computer Science at ETH Zurich. He is also a Visiting Professor at Stanford University and a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, where he previously held the Strecker Early Career Professorship. His current broader research interests are in computer architecture, systems, hardware security, and bioinformatics. A variety of techniques he, along with his group and collaborators, has invented over the years have influenced industry and have been employed in commercial microprocessors and memory/storage systems. He obtained his PhD and MS in ECE from the University of Texas at Austin and BS degrees in Computer Engineering and Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He started the Computer Architecture Group at Microsoft Research (2006-2009), and held various product and research positions at Intel Corporation, Advanced Micro Devices, VMware, and Google. He received various honors for his research, including a Google Open Source Peer Bonus Award, the Huawei OlympusMons Award for Storage Systems Research, Google Security and Privacy Research Award, Intel Outstanding Researcher Award, IEEE High Performance Computer Architecture Test of Time Award, NVMW Persistent Impact Prize, the IEEE Computer Society Edward J. McCluskey Technical Achievement Award, ACM SIGARCH Maurice Wilkes Award, the inaugural IEEE Computer Society Young Computer Architect Award, the inaugural Intel Early Career Faculty Award, US National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Carnegie Mellon University Ladd Research Award, faculty partnership awards from various companies, and a healthy number of best paper or “Top Pick” paper recognitions at various computer systems, architecture, and security venues. He is an ACM Fellow “for contributions to computer architecture research, especially in memory systems”, IEEE Fellow for “contributions to computer architecture research and practice”, and an elected member of the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea). His computer architecture and digital logic design course lectures and materials are freely available on YouTube (, and his research group makes a wide variety of software and hardware artifacts freely available online ( and For more information, please see his webpage at
Posted in Conference, Industry, Seminar, Talks.