Sami Zhioua's Web Page

  

Sami Zhioua, Ph.D.

2008- ...
2001-2007
2003-2004
1996-2000

After successfully defending my Ph.D. thesis on January 31st, 2008 at Laval University, I started a Post-Doc at McGill University under the supervision of Pr. Prakash Panangaden and Pr. Doina precup.  

Office: McConnell Engineering Building, room 112
Mailing address: McConnell Engineering Building, room 318
McGill University, 3480 University street
Montreal, Qc, H3A 2A7, Canada
email: zhioua@cs.mcgill.ca

                              
Research
Interests
      Publications       Teaching       Links       Personal       Resume
(CV)

Research Interests      

- Program Verification, Computer Security,
- Artificial Intelligence, Reinforcement Learning, Markov Decision Processes,
- Java Virtual Machines, Embedded Java Platforms, Acceleration and Security of Java Virtual Machines.

In my thesis we worked (my supervisor: Dr. Josée Desharnais and my co-supervisor: Dr. François Laviolette) on formal verification using Reinforcement Learning. The systems that we are interested in verifying are reactive systems (e.g. Operating Systems, Communication Protocols, Control Systems, etc.). We use a probabilistic model: Labelled Markov Process (LMP) to represent the reactive systems. In this research, we focus particularly on computing the relative divergence (distance) between systems (e.g. an implementation and a specification) where only the specification model is available (the implementation is available only for interaction, without model). Our approach consists in using the samples from the reactive system directly (without constructing the LMP) by following an RL (Reinforcement Learning)-style algorithm. Reinforcement Learning is a branch of Artificial Intelligence that is particularly efficient when a model of the system is not available. Hence the challenge of this thesis is to combine ideas from two fields of Computer Science, namely, probabilistic formal verification (Software Engineering) and Reinforcement Learning (Artificial Intelligence). We implemented the algorithm and we called it : RL-Div.

Ph.D. Thesis : Stochastic systems divergence through Reinforcement Learning.

Defense : January 31st, 2008.

Chair : Mario Marchand, Ph.D. (Université Laval)
Comity : Josée Desharnais, Ph.D., supervisor (Université Laval)
  François Laviolette, Ph.D., co-supervisor (Université Laval)
  Marta Kwiatkowska, Ph.D. (Oxford University)
  Doina Precup, Ph.D. (McGill University)
  Danny Dubé, Ph.D. (Université Laval)

The best tribute (hommage) I ever had (it was from my Ph.D. professors : Josée Desharnais and François Laviolette).

I am interested also in the acceleration and security of Java in the context of embedded systems (PDAs, Cell-Phones, Pagers, Set-Top boxes, etc.). During my M.Sc. and the beginning of my Ph.D. I worked under the supervision of Dr. Mourad Debbabi and Dr. Nadia Tawbi on improving the performance and the security of the Java virtual machine (mostly J2ME/CLDC) intended to such devices. We developed a dynamic compiler for J2ME virtual machine called E-Bunny and  we carried out an extensive security study of the same platform (see publications).

M.sc. thesis : A Dynamic Compiler in an Embedded Java Virtual Machine

Publications     

Books
S. Zhioua. A Dynamic Compiler for an Embedded Java Virtual Machine, 96 pages, Paperback, First Edition, ISBN: 3639095065 , October 2008, VDM Verlag.
M. Debbabi, M. Saleh, C. Talhi, S. Zhioua. Embedded Java Security: Security for Mobile Devices, 270 pages, 38 illus., Hardcover, First Edition, ISBN: 978-1-84628-590-5 , November 2006, Springer Verlag.

Refereed Journal Publications

J. Desharnais, F. Laviolette, and S. Zhioua. Testing Probabilistic Equivalence through Reinforcement Learning. Submitted to Information and Computation, Elsevier, 2007.

M. Debbabi, M. Saleh, C. Talhi, and S. Zhioua. Security Evaluation of J2ME CLDC Embedded Java Platform. Journal of Object Technology, Vol 5, Nb 2, Pages 125-154, March-April 2006.

M. Debbabi, A. Gherbi, L. Ketari, C. Talhi, N. Tawbi, H. Yahyaoui, and S. Zhioua. E-Bunny: A Dynamic Compiler for Embedded Java Virtual Machines. Journal of Object Technology, Vol 4, Nb 1, Pages 83-108, January-February 2005.

Refereed Conference Publications

S. Zhioua, J. Desharnais, F. Laviolette, and D. Precup. Learning the Difference between Partially Observable Dynamical Systems. In Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence (Proceedings of the 20th European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases (ECML-PKDD), 2009.

J. Desharnais, F. Laviolette, and S. Zhioua. Testing Probabilistic Equivalence through Reinforcement Learning. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Proceedings of the 26th Conference on Foundations of Software Technology and Theoretical Computer Science), Vol 4337, Pages 236-247, Springer, 2006.

J. Desharnais, F. Laviolette, K. Darsini Moturu, and S. Zhioua. Trace Equivalence Characterization through Reinforcement Learning. In Advances in Artificial Intelligence (Proceedings of the 19th Canadian Conference on Artificial Intelligence), Vol 4013, Pages 371-382, Springer, 2006.

M. Debbabi, M. Saleh, C. Talhi, and S. Zhioua. Security Analysis of Mobile Java. In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Database and Expert Systems Applications (DEXA 2005), Pages 231-235, IEEE Computer Society, 2005.

M. Debbabi, M. Saleh, C. Talhi, and S. Zhioua. Java for Mobile Devices: A Security Study. In Proceedings of the 21st Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC 2005), Pages 235-244, IEEE Computer Society, 2005.

M. Debbabi, A Gherbi, L. Ketari, C. Talhi, H. Yahyaoui, and S. Zhioua. A Synergy between Efficient Interpretation and Fast Selective Dynamic Compilation for the Acceleration of Embedded Java Virtual Machines. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on the Principles and Practice of Programming in Java (ACM PPPJ'04), Pages 100-107, ACM Press, 2004.

M. Debbabi, A. Gherbi, L. Ketari, C. Talhi, N. Tawbi, H. Yahyaoui, and S. Zhioua. E-Bunny: A Dynamic Compiler for Embedded Java Virtual Machines. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on the Principles and Practice of Programming in Java (ACM PPPJ'04), Pages 108-115, ACM Press, 2004.

M. Debbabi, M. Erhioui, L. Ketari, N. Tawbi, H. Yahyaoui, and S. Zhioua. Method Call Acceleration in Java Virtual Machines. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Proceedings of the International Conference on Computational Science 2003), Vol 2659, Pages 750-759, Springer, 2003.

Refereed Workshop Publications

F. Laviolette, S. Zhioua. Testing Stochastic Processes through Reinforcement Learning. In NIPS'06 Workshop on Testing of Deployable Learning and Decision Systems, Kiri Wagstaff, Chris Drummond and Dragos Margineantu (Eds), 8 pages, 2006.

Patent
M. Debbabi, N. Tawbi, S. Zhioua, M. Erhioui, L. Ketari, H. Yahyaoui. Method Call Acceleration in Java Virtual Machines.
Patent disclosure filed at:
- US Patent Office: US20020405266P 20020822.
- European Patent Office: EP1394675.
- Japan Patent Office: JP2004086869.
- Chinese Patent Office: CN1251076.

Teaching      

GLO-21941z2 : Formal Specification and Software Verification (Fall 2006)

Comp-322 : Introduction to C++ (Winter 2009) 

Links      
A research paper generator !
PHD Comics (a must see web site for any Ph.D. candidate)
My native city (Menzel Temime)
Oussama Mellouli (La torpille tunisienne)
Javier Sotomayor (by sami zhioua)

Personal      

Birth date : February 1st, 1978
Citizenship : Tunisia, Canada
Residence : Montreal, Canada
Wife : Karima Makhlouf
Babies : Mohamed (born August 6th, 2006) and Hajer (born February 27th, 2008)
Short biography
Hobbies : Sport (with capital S), reading history, watching Indian movies, ..
Tribute (Hommage) by my Ph.D. professors : Dr. Josée Desharnais and Dr. François Laviolette.

Photos      
           
2 years old       Tunis       Dubai (UAE)
         
            
Sydney (Australia)       Sydney (Australia)       Kangaroo (Australia)
         
           
Mourad & Nadia       Lab-Oratoire public       Josée & François
         
            
Paris       Ph.D. Comity       Kolkata (India)
         
           
Karima       Mohamed       Everybody
            
Mohamed       Mohamed       Mohamed
         
 

     
Mohamed  

Hajer

      Mohamed & Hajer

 

Videos      

     

                                
The first 5 minutes of the defense       Thesis Acknowledgement       In the Lab-oratoire public 2006

 


Last updated December 7, 2008

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