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SPA - A Synthesisable Amulet Core for Smartcard Applications

L.A. Plana, P.A. Riocreux, W.J. Bainbridge, A. Bardsley, J.D. Garside, S. Temple


SPA is a synthesised, self-timed, ARM-compatible processor core. The use of synthesis was mandated by a need for rapid implementation. This has proved to be very effective, albeit with increased cost in terms of area and performance compared with earlier non-synthesised processors. SPA is employed in an experimental smartcard chip which is being designed to evaluate the applicability of self-timed logic in security-sensitive devices. The Balsa synthesis system is used to generate dual-rail logic with some enhancements to improve security against non-invasive attacks. A complete system-on-chip is being synthesised with a only small amount of hand design being employed to boost the throughput of the on-chip interconnection system.

Full paper (105K, PDF).