Arm, headquartered in Cambridge, UK, is a global leader in semiconductor technology, renowned for its innovative processor designs that power billions of devices worldwide. With a strong focus on security and performance, Arm is at the forefront of technological advancements in the semiconductor industry. They embarked on the Morello project, funded by the UK government's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Digital Security by Design (DSbD) program, to revolutionize processor design and improve built-in security.

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Arm faced several significant challenges due to the rapid data revolution and its impact on semiconductor devices:
  • Vast Amounts of Data: Managing the vast amounts of data generated every day by billions of people online.
  • User Performance Requirements: Meeting the high-performance requirements demanded by users, which drive technological advancements.
  • Security Vulnerabilities: Addressing the major vulnerabilities in the security of semiconductor devices exposed by the data revolution.


Synopsys collaborated with Arm on the Morello project since its launch in October 2019, providing a well-established 7nm in-chip environmental monitoring subsystem to enable greater measurement and control of real-time dynamic conditions on the Morello SoC. Key aspects of the solution included:

  • Embedded Sensors: Integration of 3 temperature sensors, 4 voltage monitors, and a process detector into the Morello SoC.
  • Real-Time Monitoring: Application software enabled the use of temperature sensors to measure CPU temperatures. If the temperature exceeds a configurable warning threshold, a warning is issued. If it exceeds a critical threshold, the software initiates a shutdown.
  • Accuracy and Calibration: Temperature sensors provided an accuracy of +/- 4 °C uncalibrated, which could be improved to +/- 1.2 °C with calibration.
  • Comprehensive Control: The PVT controller managed the subsystem of monitors, relieving the system control processor from associated tasks.
  • Security Enhancements: Monitoring dynamic on-chip conditions to detect sudden changes indicative of potential security breaches.


The implementation of Synopsys' in-chip environmental monitoring solutions yielded impressive results for Arm:

  • Enhanced Accuracy: Improved thermal monitoring accuracy with sensors placed closer to hotspots.
  • Reliability: Lifetime thermal stress analysis supported increased chip reliability and longevity.
  • Optimization: Real-time multi-point embedded supply monitoring allowed for optimization at critical circuits.
  • Variation Assessment: Measurement of process variability at multiple points across the die enabled effective global variation assessment.
  • Performance Analysis: In-test and in-field production variability analysis provided insights for power and speed optimization.
  • Security: Enhanced ability to detect and respond to potential security breaches through real-time environmental monitoring.

The collaboration not only accelerated the development of the Morello project but also set the stage for future secure hardware architectures, ensuring the continued secure growth of the global datasphere.