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Top Gun Speaker Series 2013

Recognizes faculty on a trajectory to be the research leaders
of the coming decades

Wed, Oct 30, 2013
3:30-4:45 OLS 120

Wenyuan Xu
Associate Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
University of South Carolina
Research interests: Wireless networking, security and privacy

Host: Gabriel Robins

Security and Privacy Implications of Wireless Communication in Embedded Systems

Wireless systems have been integrated into various embedded systems with good intention: tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) were intended to improve road safety and fuel economy, and automatic metering reading (AMR) systems were designed to reduce the burden of manually collecting utility consumption. However, the security and privacy implications of those systems are not well understood, as many of their communication protocols are proprietary. In this talk, we present case studies analyzing the first mandated in-car sensor networks (TPMS) and widely deployed AMR utility meters, using a low-cost out-of-shelf software radio platform (USRP). We show that in both systems, eavesdropping is easily possible at an unexpected distance even with cheap antennas. This leads to privacy concerns as vehicles can be tracked through the identifiers of TPMS, or residents' activities can be recognized through the periodic meter reading reports. Current protocols do not employ authentication or basic input validation, thereby allowing for remote spoofing of sensor messages. The talk concludes with a set of recommendations for improving the privacy and security of tire pressure monitoring systems, ARM utility meters, and other forthcoming consumer wireless networks.

Wenyuan Xu received her Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from Rutgers University in 2007, an M.S. degree in computer science and engineering from Zhejiang University in 2001, and a B.S. degree in electrical engineering with the highest honor from Zhejiang University in 1998. She is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include wireless networking, network security and privacy. Dr. Xu is a co-author of the book Securing Emerging Wireless Systems: Lower-layer Approaches, Springer, 2009. She received the United States NSF Career Award in 2009 and was selected as one of the "1000 Young Talents of China" in 2012. She has served on the technical program committees for several IEEE/ACM conferences on wireless networking and security, and she currently serves as the associate editor of EURASIP Journal on Information Security, Ad Hoc & Sensor Wireless Networks (AHSWN), and International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems (IJAACS).

Fri, Nov 08, 2013
3:30-4:45 OLS 120
Miryung Kim

Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
Research interests: software engineering and software evolution

HOST:Kevin Sullivan

Automation, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Systematic Software Changes

Software modifications are often systematic. Adding features and fixing bugs often require similar, but not identical, changes to many code locations. In this talk, I will present three research themes on how to support systematic changes during software evolution. First, I will present LASE, an approach that automates systematic edits by learning context-aware edit scripts from examples. It handles both issues of recommending change locations and applying context-aware customized transformation. Second, I will present a field study of refactoring benefits and challenges at Microsoft. It is widely believed that refactoring improves software quality and developer productivity. However, few empirical studies quantitatively assess refactoring benefits. Our analysis of Windows 7 version history finds that the binary modules refactored by a designated refactoring team experienced significant reduction in the number of inter-module dependencies and post-release defects, indicating a tangible benefit of refactoring. Finally, I will present refactoring reconstruction and advanced program differencing techniques that detect systematic changes from program versions to help developers during peer code reviews.

Miryung Kim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin since 2009. She received her B.S. in Computer Science from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in 2001 and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington under the supervision of Dr. David Notkin in 2003 and 2008 respectively. She received an NSF CAREER award, a Microsoft Software Engineering Innovation Foundation Award in 2011, and an IBM Jazz Innovation Award in 2009. She also spent her time as a visiting researcher in the Research in Software Engineering (RiSE) group at Microsoft Research during the summer of 2011. She ranked No. 1 among all engineering and science students in KAIST in 2001 and received Korean Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology Award, the highest honor given to an undergraduate student in Korea.

Fri, Nov 15, 2013
3:30-4:45 OLS 120
Shan Lu

Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor
Computer Science Department
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Research interests: software reliability and concurrent software systems

Host:Jim Cohoon
An effect-oriented approach to concurrency bug detection and recovery

Concurrency bugs are caused by unsynchronized interaction among threads. This complicated cause makes concurrency bugs much more difficult to detect and recover from than sequential bugs. With multi-threaded software becoming prevalent in the multi-core era, concurrency bugs are widespread. They frequently escape in-house bug detection and severely hurt system reliability during production runs.

This talk will present an effect-oriented approach to in-house concurrency-bug detection and production-run concurrency-bug failure recovery. I will first use a characteristics study to demonstrate that concurrency and sequential bugs have drastically different causes but mostly similar effects. I will then present two bug detection tools, ConMem and ConSeq. Guided by the effect patterns of concurrency bugs, ConMem and ConSeq can detect concurrency bugs before they manifest with higher coverage and accuracy than traditional cause-oriented approaches. Of course, no bug detection tool is perfect. Next, I will discuss how we build ConAir to handle bugs that escape into production runs. ConAir is a static code transformation tool that enables automatic failure recovery through rollback-reexecution. Different from traditional rollback-reexecution techniques, ConAir leverages the effect patterns of concurrency bugs to avoid memory checkpoint and multi-threaded rollback. As a result, it incurs negligible run-time overhead (<1%) with no OS/hardware change. I will conclude the talk by discussing other research in my group that tackles concurrency bugs and performance bugs.

Shan Lu is the Claire Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Computer Sciences at University of Wisconsin, Madison. She earned her Ph.D. at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 2008. At University of Wisconsin, her group works on detecting, diagnosing, and fixing concurrency bugs and performance bugs. Shan Lu won NSF Career Award in 2010, and the Distinguished Alumni Educator Award from Department of Computer Science at University of Illinois in 2013. Her co-authored papers won the Best Paper Award at USENIX FAST in 2013, ACM-SIGPLAN CACM Research Highlight Nomination in 2011, and IEEE Micro Top Picks in 2006. She currently serves as the Information Director of ACM-SIGOPS.