Featured IEEE Computer Society Distinguished Visitor: Dr. Anirban Sengupta
An Interview with Dr. Anirban Sengupta (2019 - 2021 Distinguished Visitor)


Anirban SenguptaDr. Anirban Sengupta is an Associate Professor in Computer Science and Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T) Indore. He holds a Ph.D. & M.A.Sc in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Ryerson University, Toronto (Canada) and is a registered Professional Engineer of Ontario (P.Eng.). He is the author of over 240 refereed Publications, has presented more than 50

invited talks to audiences on four continents, written four books on Hardware Security and IP core protection, and holds 11 Patents. In addition, he is the recipient of many prestigious honors from multiple societies within the IEEE and ACM.


Dr. Sengupta currently serves in senior editorial posts in multiple transactions and journals within the IEEE, and has served as General/Conference Chair of numerous international conferences, most recently the highly successful 37th IEEE International Symposium on Consumer Electronics (ISCE) 2019, Las Vegas. A consummate engineer, his patents have been cited in the industry patents of multiple corportations including IBM, Siemens, Qualcomm, and Amazon Technologies. He is a Senior Member of IEEE.

As a Distinguished Visitor (DV) of the Computer Society, what are some of the goals that you hope to accomplish both as a DV and in your professional life?

My overall goal is outreach and sharing information to provide opportunity to those within my audience. Since my appointment I have had the opportunity to deliver presentations both in person, to various chapters within India, and online, to audiences spanning the globe. The positive response, especially to the in-person and online small group presentations, has been amazing, as evidenced by audience attention and participation through follow on questions—and has shown me that there is a great need for outreach and the sharing of research work for education purposes. And further, there is a need to inspire others to take up research, perhaps in areas such as “hardware security, IP protection, and system architecture optimization” and expand the body of knowledge while continuing to share that information with our community. I also want to make people aware of the many membership benefits available in the IEEE Computer Society: the opportunity of being a part of this great community of professionals, helping to design and shape the technology of tomorrow, connecting with the world-renowned scientists and researchers who perform collaborative work to advance of science and technology for the benefit of humanity, and—for some—rising to become a DV of this society.

What is important about Secured Hardware Accelerators for DSP and Image Processing and why did you write this book?

My reason in writing Secured hardware accelerators for DSP and image processing applications this book was to put together a one-stop compendium of research works done so far in this field. Securing a hardware accelerator is important because hardware accelerators are the building blocks and work engines of modern consumer electronics products. They are the future computation engines of next generation AI/ML chips, AR, VR chips useful for sophisticated electronics. Owing to their enormous significance in the current/next generation gadgets, they are prone to compromise due to hardware cyber threats in this world of global design supply chain. So, I wrote this book to increase cognizance of the scientific community in this field and encourage them to take up research in this area.

What value is derived from securing Intellectual Property (IP) cores using advanced forensic controls and obfuscation techniques?

There are several threats possible for DSP integrated circuits or IP cores such as reverse engineering, backdoor Trojan insertion, IP abuse/misuse, counterfeiting, cloning etc. Securing an IP core against these threats becomes highly essential for modern CE devices in order to ensure authenticity, evade fake IP/ICs, thwart reverse engineering and prevent IP misuse/abuse/overproduction. Techniques such as hardware watermarking, hardware steganography, and others provide detective control of fake IPs/ICs, as well as act as a deterrent to an adversary.

Digital forensics for IP core protection generate secret security marks (invisible digital evidences) that prove the rightful owner of an IP should someone try to subvert it or misuse/abuse it. Forensic detective approaches (such as digital signature, fingerprint biometrics, facial biometrics, crypto-steganography, integrated obfuscation, watermarking etc.) are some of the state-of-the-art technologies published in the literature for hardware security/IP core protection of DSP applications.

What are your recent research projects?

Some of my recent research projects are:

  • Security of Hardware Accelerators / Applications Specific Processors / Reusable IP cores
  • Forensic detective control of Hardware Accelerators / Applications Specific Processors / Reusable IP cores
  • IP core Steganography, IP core Watermarking of Hardware Accelerators / Applications Specific Processors / Reusable IP cores (especially DSP and multimedia cores)
  • Functional obfuscation, logic encryption, structural obfuscation of DSP hardware
  • Digital Forensics for IC/IP Security