Mengjia Yan

Assistant Professor, MIT EECS
The Stata Center, 32G-840
32 Vassar St, Cambridge, MA 02139
mengjia [at] csail [dot] mit [dot] edu

I’m an assistant professor at MIT's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. My research interest lies in the areas of computer architecture and hardware security, with a focus on transient execution attacks and cache-based side channel attacks and defenses.

Before joining MIT, I earned a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where I worked with Professor Josep Torrellas. I received a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Zhejiang University, China.

I'm looking for highly-motivated PhD students. Please do email me if you are interested. Please include a CV to help me understand your background.


  • 13 Jan, 2020
    STT and Microscope are selected as MICRO Top Picks 2020.
  • 30 Oct, 2019
    My thesis "Cache-based Side Channels: Modern Attacks and Defenses" was selected for the David J. Kuck Outstanding PhD Thesis Award. The award is given to one outstanding doctoral thesis in the Computer Science department per year.
  • 17 Oct, 2019
    "Speculative Taint Tracking (STT): A Comprehensive Protection for Transiently Accessed Secrets" won the best paper award at MICRO 2019.
  • 15 Sep, 2019
    "Cache Telepathy" was accepted at USENIX Security 2020.


  • Spring 2020 6.823 Computer System Architecture


  • Cache Telepathy: Leveraging Shared Resource Attacks to Learn DNN Architectures; Mengjia Yan, Christopher W. Fletcher, Josep Torrellas; USENIX Security, 2020.
  • Speculative Taint Tracking (STT): A Comprehensive Protection for Speculatively Accessed Data; Jiyong Yu, Mengjia Yan, Artem Khyzha, Adam Morrison, Josep Torrellas, Christopher W. Fletcher; MICRO, 2019.
    Best Paper Award
    IEEE Micro's Top Picks 2019
    [paper] [slides] [formal analysis/security proof]
  • SecDir: A Secure Directory to Defeat Directory Side-Channel Attacks; Mengjia Yan, Jen-Yang Wen, Christopher Fletcher, Josep Torrellas; ISCA, 2019.
    [paper] [slides] [poster]
  • MicroScope: Enabling Microarchitectural Replay Attacks; Dimitrios Skarlatos, Mengjia Yan, Bhargava Gopireddy, Read Sprabery, Josep Torrellas, Christopher Fletcher; ISCA, 2019.
    IEEE Micro's Top Picks 2019
    [paper] [slides] [open-source release]
  • Attack Directories, Not Caches: Side Channel Attacks in a Non-Inclusive World; Mengjia Yan, Read Sprabery, Bhargava Gopireddy, Christopher W. Fletcher, Roy Campbell, Josep Torrellas; S&P, 2019.
    [paper] [slides] [poster] [talk video] [HASP workshop slides]
  • InvisiSpec: Making Speculative Execution Invisible in the Cache Hierarchy; Mengjia Yan, Jiho Choi, Dimitrios Skarlatos, Adam Morrison, Christopher W. Fletcher, Josep Torrellas; MICRO, 2018.
    IEEE Micro's Top Picks 2018 Honorable Mention
    [paper] [slides] [poster] [open-source release]
    [corrected version of the paper] [one-page explanation of the correction]
  • UCNN: Exploiting Computational Reuse in Deep Neural Networks via Weight Repetition; Kartik Hegde, Jiyong Yu, Rohit Agrawal, Mengjia Yan, Michael Pellauer, Christopher W. Fletcher; ISCA, 2018.
  • Record-Replay Architecture as a General Security Framework; Yasser Shalabi, Mengjia Yan, Nima Honarmand, Ruby B Lee, Josep Torrellas; HPCA, 2018.
  • Secure Hierarchy-Aware Cache Replacement Policy (SHARP): Defending Against Cache-Based Side Channel Attacks; Mengjia Yan, Bhargava Gopireddy, Thomas Shull, Josep Torrellas; ISCA, 2017.
    [paper] [slides] [poster]
  • ReplayConfusion: Detecting Cache-based Covert Channel Attacks Using Record and Replay; Mengjia Yan, Yasser Shalabi, Josep Torrellas; MICRO, 2016.
    [paper] [slides] [poster]


  • Cache-based Side Channels: Modern Attacks and Defenses; Mengjia Yan; Ph.D. Thesis, 2019.