Collaborative and accountable hardware governance using blockchain
Hardware systems are complex and the complexity of such systems is increasing with the adoption of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and with the advent of cryptocurrency and Internet-of-Things. The increase in complexity makes it harder to address failure, security compromises, and lack of performance in hardware systems. Further, such systems need to be customized and integrated by several parties and stakeholders in order to implement specific end-to-end applications. In this paper, we make two contributions towards managing this complexity: (1) we present a vision on how hardware system development and governance should be carried out, and (2) we advocate applying a fresh approach to the problem of hardware development and verification, going from a blackbox driven model to a white-box model in order to improve trust, reliability and efficiency in a dynamic, collaborative and accountable manner. We think that it is essential to employ automated validation of technical and business specification as well as to carry out analytics and machine learning on the internal states of hardware devices and systems in order to dynamically determine and/or predict faults, security issues, performance issues and address them in a collaborative manner. We lay out the desiderata, challenges and issues in accomplishing this. We also present a blockchain-based governance platform for hardware systems as part of our solution.