I am a fifth year PhD student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am fortunate to be advised by Prof. Cynthia Sturton. My research interests are in hardware security, formal method, and computer architecture. Currently, my research focuses on developing tools and systems for security validation of hardware designs. The goals of my research are to help hardware designers efficiently build more secure processors that can withstand a wide range of attack programs in the field, as well as to provide interesting insights about hardware vulnerabilities to the community. I completed my BS in Microelectronics from Peking University, and my MS in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University.

I am currently on the job market!


  • Aug 2019
    Transys is accepted to appear at Oakland 2020.
  • Jul 2019
    I am selected as a participant of the 2019 Rising Stars in EECS Workshop.
  • Apr 2019
    I am selected as a participant of the 7th Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
  • Jan 2019
    Duo Security writes about our research: Better Hardware Security Through Automation.
  • Aug 2018
    Coppelia is one of four papers nominated for Best Paper Award at MICRO 2018.
  • Jul 2018
    Coppelia is accepted to appear at MICRO 2018.


Talks and Posters

  • Transys: Leveraging Common Security Properties Across Hardware Designs
    • (Poster) CWWMCA Workshop, Oct 2019
  • End-to-End Automated Exploit Generation for Validating the Security of Processor Designs
    • Top Picks in HES Workshop, Nov 2019.
    • SRC, Aug 2019.
    • Intel-SCAP, Mar 2019.
    • MICRO Conference, Oct 2018.
    • MICRO Lightning Talk.
  • Computer Performance
    • Lecture in Computer Organization Course (COMP411), Fall 2018.
  • A Recursive Strategy for Symbolic Execution to Find Exploits in Hardware Designs
    • FMS Workshop, co-located with PLDI, Jun 2018.
  • Identifying Security Critical Properties for the Dynamic Verification of a Processor
    • (Poster) Duke Triangle Machine Learning Day, Apr 2018.
    • High Confidence Software and Systems Conference, May 2017.
    • ASPLOS Conference, Apr 2017.
    • NVIDIA, Feb 2017.


  • Email: rzhang [at] cs [dot] unc [dot] edu
  • Office: 346 Brooks Building
  • Blog: Find me on Medium