"The Greek goddess Athena was frequently called upon to settle disputes between the gods or various mortals. Athena Goddess of Wisdom was known for her superb logic and intellect. Her decisions were usually well-considered, highly ethical, and seldom motivated by self-interest."

from "Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom and Craftsmanship"

ATHENa: Automated Tools for Hardware EvaluatioN is a project started at George Mason University, aimed at fair, comprehensive, and automated evaluation of hardware cryptographic cores targeting FPGAs, All Programmable Systems on Chip, and ASICs.

Our project has been inspired by a similar environment for comparing software implementations of cryptography, developed by Daniel Bernstein and Tanja Lange,  called eBACS (ECRYPT Benchmarking of Cryptographic Systems).

Our design and benchmarking methodologies allow the comparison of

  1. Cryptographic algorithms, e.g. candidates in the SHA-3 and CAESAR contests
  2. Cryptographic architectures and implementations, e.g.,  basic iterative vs. unrolled, GMU implementation vs. Bochum implementation
  3. Hardware platforms, e.g.  Xilinx Virtex 7 vs. Altera Stratix V
  4. Languages and tools, e.g., VHDL vs. Verilog, Xilinx ISE v. 14.7 vs. Xilinx Vivado 2015.2

This project is currently supported through the NSF grant no. 1314540. In the period 2010-2013, it was supported through the NIST/ARRA grant no. 60NANB10D004.

Our paper describing our FPGA option optimization tool ATHENa has received the Field Programmable Logic (FPL) Community Best Paper Award at the 20th International Conference on Field Programmable Logic and Applications, FPL 2010, held in Milan, Italy, on Aug. 31st - Sep. 2nd, 2010.

Image of Athena Goddess courtesy of Carolyn Angus.