Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Engineering Computer Science

Major Professor

Srinivas Katkoori


Circuit Watermarking, Finite State Machine Watermarking, Intellectual Property Protection, Sequential Circuits, Simulated Annealing


We present a method of mitigating theft of sequential circuit Intellectual Property hardware designs through means of watermarking. Hardware watermarking can be performed by selectively embedding a watermark in the state encoding of the Finite State Machine. This form of watermarking can be achieved by matching a directed graph representation of the watermark with a sub-graph in state transition graph representation of the FSM. We experiment with three approaches: a brute force method that provides a proof of concept, a greedy algorithm that provides excellent runtime with a drawback of sub-optimal results, and finally a simulated annealing method that provides near optimal solutions with runtimes that meet our performance goals. The simulated annealing approach when applied on a ten benchmarks chosen from IWLS 93 benchmark suite, provides watermarking results with edge overhead of less than 6% on average with runtimes not exceeding five minutes.