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Research Programmer II - Hardware Security

Information Sciences Institute Arlington, Virginia

USC’s Information Sciences Institute (ISI), a unit of the university’s Viterbi School of Engineering, is a world leader in the research and development of advanced artificial intelligence, information processing, computing, and communications technologies. ISI’s 400 faculty, professional staff and graduate students carry out extraordinary information sciences research at three distinct locations - Marina Del Rey, CA; Arlington, VA; and Waltham, MA.

*This position is based in Arlington, VA. Remote work options are available *

The Reconfigurable Computing Group (RCG) at ISI is a leader in disrupting and advancing the fields of front-end ASIC and FPGA design, computer architecture, and EDA tools. As an applied research lab, our work spans the creation and maturation of ideas from academic conception to applied research prototypes.

RCG staff can be found:

  • Researching and developing toolsets to map AI algorithms directly to hardware,
  • Optimizing full scale testing of billion transistor FPGAs to minimal runtime,
  • Performing experiments on the International Space Station,
  • Utilizing ISI’s MOSIS service to fabricate novel computer architectures.

Our success is based on investing in our staff through a culture centered on:

  • Learning and idea generation,
  • Transparent and constructive feedback, and
  • Continual growth through contributing to, creating, and leading a research agenda.

We are looking for highly talented, motivated researchers to lead research and development in the area of secure hardware. Be a member of a high caliber team exhaustively exploring the theoretical and empirical effectiveness of hardware security techniques. Lead the architecting, development, and refinement of a complex research platform to quantitatively evaluate the ASIC designs in terms of quantifiable security, overhead, and useability metrics. Leverage detailed knowledge of ASIC design to analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of hardware security techniques such as obfuscation, logic locking, or programmability for use in advanced lithography nodes and real-world System on a Chip use cases in terms of quantifiable security, overhead, and useability metrics. Lead development while contributing to advanced research, collaborating with peers within the group and across ISI, and contributing to publications in top tier conferences.

Position specific JOB QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Graduate degree or equivalent experience in Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Computer Science required.
  • 3 to 5 years demonstrating strong software engineering skills (Algorithms, Data Structures, etc).
  • Expert level programming in Synthesizable C, VHDL / Verilog
  • Experience scripting standard digital design tools such as Cadence Genus, and Innovus or Synopsys Design Compiler, and IC compiler.
  • Expert level understanding of SAT, ATPG, or reverse engineering tools.
  • Ability to handle Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Per U.S. government regulations, eligibility to handle CUI requires U.S. Citizenship.

 Preferred Job Qualifications:

  • Experience with circuit obfuscation, logic locking, IP redaction and associated vulnerabilities a strong plus.
  • Understanding of SAT, ATPG, or reverse engineering tools is a plus.
  • Experience taping out an ASIC in 65nm or smaller lithography node.
  • Experience with Verilator, or Yosys a plus.
  • Experience with Python Libs (PySide2, QT, NetworkX, Bokeh) a plus.

The University of Southern California values diversity and is committed to equal opportunity in employment.


Minimum Education: Master's degree, Combined work experience and education as equivalent Minimum Experience: 3 years Minimum Field of Expertise: Relevant work experience to provide strong technical knowledge of programming and analysis as well as senior or lead experience. Demonstrated ability to stand in for researchers as circumstances require. Demonstrated creativity and innovation in solving conceptual programming problems.


REQ20094025 Posted Date: 10/08/2020

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