Meltdown, Spectre, and all that Jazz

As a teacher, I am usually getting embarrassed to hear students talking about a “cage” when in essence they mean “cache”. And I have been defending talking about “branch prediction” in my courses on computer organization despite the fact that students have argued that such “esoteric” topics are way too low-level and that no one any longer is interested in such “historic” hardware stuff. I have also been defending the IAIK-way of teaching “operating systems”, all too often against other teachers at the university complaining about the huge attention a typical student needs to come up with in order to master this course.

But with the recent news about “Meltdown” and “Spectre”, all of these efforts paid off manifold: It should be obvious to each and every of our students that diving deep into the guts of our commodity gadgets like mobile phones, PCs, servers, cloud services, and any other computing device gets you all the “juice” it needs for becoming a major player in the stadium shows of IT.

I congratulate my colleagues Michael Schwarz, Daniel Gruss, Stefan Mangard, and Moritz Lipp (from left to right on the photo above) for their professionalism of detecting, fixing, and communicating results of their work.

In case you have missed all the recent news about Meltdown and Spectre, just google. The news are currently full. This is my favorite:

A note for the younger ones of you: Check out “LosFuzzys” (; it might be your place to start a career in becoming great in IT.

Photo (c) Lunghammer



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