Panel On the Implications of the Meltdown & Spectre Design Flaws

Computer Architecture 1.0 specifies the timing-independent functional behavior of a computer, while Micro-Architecture is the implementation techniques that improve performance. What if a computer that is completely correct by Architecture 1.0 can be made to leak protected information via timing, a.k.a., Micro-Architecture? This is done by the Meltdown and Spectre design flaws that were broadly revealed in January 2018. Meltdown leaks kernel memory, but software & hardware fixes exist. Spectre leaks memory outside of sandboxes and bounds checks, and it is scary.

This panel will explore implications of Meltdown and Spectre, especially that the definition of Architecture 1.0 is inadequate to protect information.

Going forward, is it time for Architecture 2.0 and, if so, what is it? If not, do we go forward with micro-architecture best practices and, if so, what are they?

Presentation from the panel is accessible here.


Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Paul Kocher, Independent

Ruby B. Lee, Princeton University

Simha Sethumadhavan, Columbia University and Chip Scan Inc.

Timothy Sherwood, UC Santa Barbara and Tortuga Logic


12:00pm on Monday June 4, 2018