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Department of Computer Science and Technology

A research collaboration between this Department and semiconductor leader Arm on pioneering cybersecurity technology has been shortlisted for the Bhattacharyya Award 2022.

This Royal Academy of Engineering award celebrates exceptional collaborations between academia and industry.

Researchers here, working with colleagues at SRI International and Arm, have jointly developed a potentially game-changing new cybersecurity technology called CHERI ('Capability Hardware Enhanced RISC Instructions').  

They have focused on new ways to design the architecture of a computer’s central processing unit (its brain) to make software less vulnerable to security breaches. The CHERI technology extends conventional architectures and software stacks with novel hardware support for memory protection and secure encapsulation. 

Throughout 2022, an industrial demonstrator of the technology – the CHERI-enabled Arm Morello processor and evaluation board – is being rolled out to UK companies for testing through the UK government’s £200 million Digital Security by Design programme

As announced today, this is one of just six university-industry collaborations to be picked as finalists for this prestigious prize.  

On 29 September, the prize will be awarded to the team that best shows how industry and universities can work together.  

[These] are excellent examples of industry-academia collaboration, with timely and innovative responses to some of the most challenging issues facing society today.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, Chair of the judging panel

"We are delighted to be shortlisted for this award that values collaboration between academia and industry," say project leaders Professors Robert Watson, Simon Moore and Peter Sewell

"Computer security is one of the greatest challenges we must address and we can only do this through a combined effort that involves academia and industry – and government.

"Through collaborating on our CHERI technology with Arm and other industry leaders and academic researchers, we have jointly developed an approach that can fundamentally improve cyber security. And now, through the government Digital Security by Design programme, it is being trialled in such vital industrial sectors as utilities and e-commerce. We are very pleased that this highly effective collaboration has been named as a finalist in this prestigious award scheme."  

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, former President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Chair of the judging panel for the Bhattacharyya Award, said: "All six shortlisted partnerships are excellent examples of industry-academia collaboration, with timely and innovative responses to some of the most challenging issues facing society today.

"It is a privilege to showcase these successful collaborations and we hope that doing so fosters even greater connection between industry and academia in the UK."

  • Digital Security by Design: Toward Commercial Adoption of CHERI Secured Computers
    Academic Team: Robert N. M. Watson, Simon W. Moore, Peter Sewell, Peter G. Neumann, Hesham Almatary, Jonathan Anderson, Alasdair Armstrong, Rosie Baish, John Baldwin, Hadrien Barrel, Thomas Bauereiss, Peter Blandford-Baker, Ruslan Bukin, Brian Campbell, David Chisnall, Jessica Clarke, Nirav Dave, Brooks Davis, Lawrence Esswood, Nathaniel W. Filardo, Franz Fuchs, Dapeng Gao, Khilan Gudka, Brett Gutstein, Alexandre Joannou, Mark Johnston, Robert Kovacsics, Ben Laurie, A. Theo Markettos, J. Edward Maste, Alfredo Mazzinghi, Alan Mujumdar, Prashanth Mundkur, Steven J. Murdoch, Edward Napierala, George Neville-Neil, Kyndylan Nienhuis, Robert Norton-Wright, Philip Paeps, Lucian Paul-Trifu, Allison Randal, Ivan Ribeiro, Alex Richardson, Michael Roe, Colin Rothwell, Peter Rugg, Hassen Saidi, Thomas Sewell, Stacey Son, Ian Stark, Domagoj Stolfa, Andrew Turner, Munraj Vadera, Konrad Witaszczyk, Jonathan Woodruff, Hongyan Xia, and Bjoern A. Zeeb.
    Partners: Arm Limited, SRI International, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), UKRI / InnovateUK / EPSRC / ESRC, Thales E-Security, Microsoft Research Cambridge, Google, Google DeepMind, HP Enterprise, over 30 (and growing) UK companies working with Morello boards, and 10 UK universities with funded research projects.
    CHERI technology:
    Digital Security by Design:
    Arm Morello:

Published by Rachel Gardner on Monday 5th September 2022