On April 7, several faculty members and students from the UMass Amherst Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department were conspicuous at Northeastern University in Boston during the annual New England Hardware Security Day (NEHWS), led by the event's program chair, ECE Professor Daniel Holcomb. See the event website at

“The New England area has remarkable talent in hardware security across our universities and industry, all concentrated within a small geographic radius,” explains Holcomb. “So, in recognition of that, a group of us launched NEHWS to bring the community together each spring for a single-day workshop to cross-pollinate through sharing of research results, opinions, capabilities, and needs.”

Holcomb adds that “The interest from participants and sponsors has made NEHWS a success — the workshop had to close registration early this year after hitting capacity limits — and it has a bright future in 2024 and beyond.”

Among others affiliated with the UMass CoE, ECE Professor Sandip Kundu and two of his M.S. students – Jonah O’Brien Weiss and Dong Hyub Kim – along with Tiago Alves, a collaborator from State University of Rio de Janeiro, put together a scheduled “long talk” in the program on “A Model Extraction Attack on Deep Neural Networks Running on GPUs.” Kundu’s team also took part in the poster competition and tied for second place with a poster on “Voltage Sensor Development for PDN PUF” by ECE graduate student Max Cohen Hoffing. Check out the best-poster awardees.

The poster awards were decided by a popular vote of the audience. According to ECE Professor Wayne Burleson, “It was impressive to see our ECE M.S. students tying for second place against a field of mostly Ph.D. students.”

Several academics who launched their careers at UMass Amherst also participated in the NEHWS Day. For instance, ECE Ph.D. alum Xiaolin Xu, now an assistant professor at Northeastern, handled local arrangements and was the session chair for the poster awards. Xu’s mentor at UMass Amherst was Burleson.

The keynote speech on the “Wicked Bizarre Semiconductor Physics of Sensor Security” was presented by Kevin Fu, a former UMass associate professor in the Computer Science Department, who recently moved to Northeastern to serve as a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences. Fu also directs the Archimedes Center for Health Care and Medical Device Cybersecurity at Northeastern. 

NEHWS Day is an annual workshop that rotates across New England, with UMass Amherst hosting last year and Northeastern hosting this year. Participants include researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Yale, the Worchester Polytechnic Institute, New England University, and the University of New Hampshire, as well as industry representatives from MITRE, Draper, Analog Devices, IBM, and others. (May 2023)

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