TACL Seminar Spring '05

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TACL Seminar


Date Speaker Title Links
Feb 9 Dan Wang Opportunities and Challenges in End-to-End Verification of Software Systems Abstract
Feb 10 Dinghao Wu Interfacing Compilers, Proof Checkers, and Proofs for Foundational Proof-Carrying Code Abstract
Feb 16 Gang Tan Structured Verification of Unstructured Machine Code Abstract
Feb 23 NJ PLS
Mar 2 Xinming Ou MulVAL: An Automatic Network Vulnerability Analyzer Abstract
Mar 9 George Reis SWIFT: Software Implemented Fault Tolerance Abstract
Mar 16 Bolei Guo Low-Level Pointer Analysis Abstract
Mar 23 Dominic Duggan - Stevens
Mar 28 Neal Glew - Intel Research Inlining, Dynamic Loading and Type Safety Abstract
Apr 6 Neil Vachharajani Opportunities for Coarse-Grained Parallel Execution Abstract
Apr 13 Yitzhak Mandelbaum A Calculus for Specifying Ad Hoc Data Formats Abstract
Apr 22 IBM PL Day
Apr 27 Rob Simmons Metatheoretic Approaches to Formalizing High-level Languages Abstract
May 25 Aarti Gupta - NEC Verifying C Programs by Model Checking Abstract


Dan Wang

Opportunities and Challenges in End-to-End Verification of Software Systems

I'll start out by taking a brief tour that covers my past experience on various projects and how those experiences shape my current view of the importance and practicality of end-to-end system verification. My basic thesis is that end-to-end system verification is theoretically/technically possible, but often *economically* impractical. More importantly the marketplace for verified software systems is likely to significantly expand within this century.

I'll will also discuss on going research in developing simpler and flexible semantic techniques for the verification of Foundational Proof-Carrying code systems. In particular, I will discuss how to build proofs of type soundness using higher-order abstract encodings of syntax without the need for meta-logical approaches to soundness.

Dinghao Wu

Interfacing Compilers, Proof Checkers, and Proofs for Foundational Proof-Carrying Code

Proof-Carrying Code (PCC) is a general framework for the mechanical verification of safety properties of machine-language programs. It allows a code producer to provide an executable program to a code consumer, along with a machine-checkable proof of safety such that the code consumer can check the proof before running the program. A weakness of previous PCC systems is that the proof-checking infrastructure is based on some complicated logic that is not necessarily sound.

Foundational Proof-Carrying Code (FPCC) aims to build the safety proof based on the simple and trustworthy foundations of mathematical logic. There are three major components in an FPCC system: a compiler, a proof checker, and the safety proof of an input machine-language program. The compiler should produce machine code accompanied by a proof of safety. The proof checker verifies, sometimes also discovers, the safety proof before the program gets executed. We have built an end-to-end FPCC system. Our prototype system compiles Core ML programs to SPARC code, accompanied with programs in a low-level typed assembly language; these typed assembly programs serve as the proof witnesses of safety of the corresponding SPARC machine code. Our Flit proof checker includes a simple logic programming engine enabling efficient proof-checking.

In this talk, I'll present the design of interfaces between these components and show how to build an end-to-end FPCC system. We have come to the conclusion that: (1) a type system (a low-level typed assembly language) should be designed to check machine code; (2) the proof-checking should be factored into two stages, namely typechecking of the input machine code and verification of soundness of the type system. Since a type checker can be efficiently interpreted as a logic program, Flit's logic programming engine enables efficient proof-checking.

I'll also briefly present my research on software model checking and program verification.

Gang Tan

Structured Verification of Unstructured Machine Code

Safety properties of machine code are of growing interest in both academia and industry during recent years. Traditional Hoare Logic has been tailored to verify properties of high-level languages with structured control flow, but is not suitable for verifying properties of machine code, because machine code contains goto statements with unrestricted destinations (i.e., unstructured control flow). A mathematical framework that modularly verifies properties of machine code is necessary for projects such as Foundational Proof-Carrying Code (FPCC), which produces type-safety proofs for machine code.

We present a program logic, L_c, which modularly reasons about machine-code fragments. Unlike previous program logics, the basic reasoning units in L_c are multiple-entry and multiple-exit code fragments. L_c provides composition rules to combine code fragments together and to eliminate intermediate entries/exits in the combined fragment. L_c is not only useful for reasoning about properties of machine code with unstructured control flow, but also useful for deriving rules for common control-flow structures such as while-loops, repeat-until-loops, among others. We also present a semantics for L_c and prove that L_c is both sound and complete (with reasonable assumptions). As an application to FPCC, L_c has been developed on top of the SPARC machine language: The semantics of L_c is encoded in higher-order logic; its rules are proved as lemmas with machine-checked proofs; typing rules for machine instructions in FPCC are then derived from rules in L_c. Thus with high confidence, we can check that the output of our certifying compiler is safe.

Xinming Ou

MulVAL: An Automatic Network Vulnerability Analyzer

To determine the security impact software vulnerabilities have on a particular network, one must consider interactions among multiple components of the operating systems and multiple hosts. For a vulnerability analysis tool to be useful in practice, two problems must be addressed. First, the tool must automatically integrate formal vulnerability specifications, which come from bug-reporting communities, into the reasoning process. Second, the reasoning system should be able to scale to networks with thousands of hosts.

In this talk I will show how we achieved these two goals in MulVAL, an end-to-end framework and reasoning system that conducts multihost, multistage vulnerability analysis on a network. MulVAL adopts Datalog as the modeling language for the elements in the analysis (bug specification, configuration description, operating- system permission and privilege model, etc.). We leverage existing vulnerability-database and scanning tools by converting their output into Datalog tuples and feeding them into the MulVAL reasoning engine, which consists of Datalog rules that capture common attack scenarios and security-relevant operating system semantics. Once all necessary information is collected, the analysis can be performed in seconds for networks with thousands of machines.

George Reis

Bolei Guo

Neal Glew

Neil Vachharajani

Yitzhak Mandelbaum

Rob Simmons

Aarti Gupta

TACL Seminar