The backgrounds of Meltdown and Spectre

Speaker: Klaas van Gend


Anyone with a proper IT background has heard about Meltdown and Spectre, a series of security flaws in CPU design that were published early 2018. Problem with both Meltdown and Spectre is that understanding their background requires a thorough understanding of CPU design. Only then it is possible to really identify their impact.

This talk will discuss processor design choices made since the early eighties, including clock domains, caches, super-scalar multi-issue pipelines with a side-step into hyperthreading, branch prediction, and speculation.

Klaas ends with listing how this technology was misused in the Meltdown and Spectre attacks.


With over 30 years of C experience, Klaas worked at various companies in the Eindhoven area and internationally. A well-known speaker and author in the topics of C++ programming, operating systems, systems design, and multicore.

Honorary member of the NLUUG. Founder of, a monthly Meetup evening of talks, videos and visiting an 040 company.

voorjaar 2018

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