This talk looks at some of the history, opportunities and challenges of providing hardware support for computer security.  We begin with basic definitions and review recent history to understand the current goals and challenges of secure computing hardware.  We then describe in detail a particular system, called Ryoan, that uses modern secure computing as provided by Intel's software guard extensions (SGX). When participating in a data-processing service such as online tax return processing or genetic testing, Ryoan provides secrecy for the user's data without trusting the software stack, developers, or administrators of these services.  We conclude with future directions for Ryoan in particular and for secure computing in general.


Emmett Witchel is a professor in computer science at The University of Texas at Austin.  He received his doctorate from MIT in 2004.  He and his group are interested in operating systems, security, and concurrency.