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( Winter 2007 )
Speaker and Abstract
2007/01/12 Speaker: Arvind Gupta
Affiliation: Simon Fraser University
Title: MITACS - A Model for Academic-Industry Research Collaboration
Abstract: The MITACS network was established in 1999 by the Canadian government to forge research links between the academic mathematical sciences community and Canadian society at large. The network has grown quickly and today more than 30 projects involving hundreds of scientists take part in the MITACS research program. In this talk I will describe MITACS, its programs and the potential for involvement by faculty and graduate students. I will then present three case studies of current MITACS projects, illustrating the breadth of the research program.
2007/01/19 Speaker: Jeanette Wing
Affiliation: Carnegie Mellon University
Title: Automatic Generation and Analysis of Attack Graphs
Abstract: Attack graphs represent the ways in which an adversary can exploit vulnerabilities to break into a system. System administrators analyze these attack graphs to understand where their system's weaknesses lie and to help decide which security measures will be effective to deploy. In practice, attack graphs are produced manually by Red Teams. Construction by hand, however, is tedious, error-prone, and impractical for attack graphs larger than a hundred nodes. In this talk I present a technique, based on model checking, for generating attack graphs automatically. I also describe different analyses that system administrators can perform in trading off one security measure for another. These analyses can answer questions such as "Given a set of measures, what is a minimum subset needed to make this system safe?" This work is joint with Somesh Jha and Oleg Sheyner.
2007/01/26 Speaker: Hans-Arno Jacobsen
Affiliation: University of Toronto
Area: Distributed Systems
Title: The PADRES Publish/Subscribe Middleware for the Decentralized Execution of Business Processes
Abstract: The PADRES project aims to create a reliable content-based publish/subscribe system. The primary research focus of PADRES lies in applying and extending the content-based publish/subscribe paradigm to fit the requirements of workflow management and business process execution in large-scale distributed environments (e.g. hundreds of nodes and thousands of users). Specifically, PADRES is developed as a message layer for such a system, including atypical publish/subscribe features such as historic data access, composite subscriptions and load balancing. In this talk, I provide an overview of publish/subscribe comparing it to database processing, motivate various application scenarios well suited for publish/subscribe-style processing, present the PADRES architecture and system, and discuss the decentralized execution of business processes with PADRES. Biography of Speaker:

Hans-Arno Jacobsen holds the Bell University Laboratories Chair in Software Engineering, and he is a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, where he leads the Middleware Systems Research Group. His principal areas of research include the design and the development of middleware systems, distributed systems, and information systems. Arno's current research focuses on distributed event-based processing and aspect-oriented software development. Selected research projects include:

  • The Padres enterprise services bus middleware for the decentralized management of business processes
  • Middleware for sensor/actuator networks
  • Aspect-oriented software development for C-based systems
Arno received his Ph.D. degree from Humboldt University, Berlin in 1999 and his M.A.Sc. degree from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany in 1994. Between 1992 and 2000 Arno worked at various research institutes, including LIFIA in Grenoble, France, ICSI in Berkeley, U.S., LBNL in Berkeley, U.S., and INRIA in Rocquencourt, France. Arno has served as program committee member of various international conferences, including ICDCS, OOPSLA, Middleware, and VLDB. He was the Program Chair of the 5th International Middleware Conference in Toronto. He is the General Chair of the Inaugural International Conference on Distributed Event-Based Systems 2007 (DEBS'07) in Toronto. For more information, see .

2007/02/16 Speaker: Lionel Briand
Affiliation: Carleton University
Title: A Difficult Endeavor: Ensuring the Dependability of Software-Intensive Systems

As software systems become increasingly ubiquitous and society depends on them for many critical services, cost-effective techniques for ensuring their dependability are a growing necessity. Unfortunately, resources for verifying and validating software systems are usually limited and projects typically run late, thus making any lengthy testing phase impractical. An additional difficulty is that the circumstances under which testing takes place vary a great deal. Systems have widely varying dependability requirements, use different development technologies, exhibit different degrees of concurrency, distribution, and real-time constraints, and are developed according to different development methodologies and processes. This variability calls for the development of alternative testing solutions that address the same issues but in widely different contexts.

So how can we address the dilemma of testing complex software systems--which cannot be exhaustively tested--with limited resources and time, while satisfying dependability requirements? This is, at a high level, what should be the ultimate objective of software testing research.

Software testing has been an active research area for more than 30 years. Where do we stand? What have we achieved? What have we learnt that can be used by practitioners to perform more effective testing on large, complex software systems? This talk will focus on presenting a personal perspective of what should be the focus of testing research so as to reconcile it with the needs of practitioners.

The presentation will also cover a selected number of topics that I find important: (1) the role of model-driven techniques for testing large, complex object-oriented systems, (2) the impact of search-based techniques on test automation (e.g., genetic algorithms), and (3) the role of empirical studies in making testing research more relevant. I will discuss some of my projects, specific challenges that I consider important, and future research directions.

Biography of Speaker:

Lionel C. Briand is with the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, where he is full professor and has been granted the Canada Research Chair in Software Quality Engineering. He is also a visiting professor at the Simula Research Laboratory, Oslo, Norway. Before that Lionel was the software quality engineering department head at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering, Germany. He also worked as a research scientist for the Software Engineering Laboratory, a consortium of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, CSC, and the University of Maryland. He has been on the program, steering, or organization committees of many international, IEEE and ACM conferences. He is the coeditor-in-chief of Empirical Software Engineering (Springer) and is a member of the editorial boards of Systems and Software Modeling (Springer) and Software Testing, Verification, and Reliability (Wiley). He was on the board of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering from 2000 to 2004. His research interests include: model-driven development, testing and quality assurance, and empirical software engineering. He received the PhD degree in computer science, with high honors, from the University of Paris XI, France.

2007/03/09 Speaker: Amy Felty
Affiliation: University of Ottawa
Title: Applying Program Verification to Privacy in Data Mining
Abstract: In today's society, people have very little control over what kinds of personal data are collected and stored by various agencies in both the private and public sectors. Moreover, the ability to infer new knowledge from existing data is increasing rapidly with advances in database and data mining technologies. We describe an approach to addressing this problem that allows individuals to specify constraints on the way their own data is used. We use program correctness methods to allow developers of software that processes personal data to provide assurances that the software meets the specified privacy constraints. Our notion of ``privacy correctness'' differs from general software correctness in two ways. First, properties of interest are simpler and thus their proofs are generally easier to automate. Second, this kind of correctness is stricter; in addition to showing that a certain relation between input and output is realized, we express constraints on information flow to show that only operations that respect privacy constraints are applied during execution. We begin with some simple data mining programs and consider two approaches. In the first approach, we express programs directly in an expressive logic, and state and prove privacy properties as theorems about such programs. We use the Coq proof assistant for this task. The second approach works directly on Java programs. Specifications are written in the Java Modelling Language (JML), and Hoare-style program verification is carried out using the Krakatoa tool, which generates proof obligations in Coq and helps to automate their proofs. This work is joint with Stan Matwin, Venanzio Capretta, and Guillaume Dufay.
2007/03/16 Speaker: André Costopoulos
Affiliation: Anthropology Department, McGill University
Title: Using Computer Simulation to Study Early Human Evolution
Abstract: This talk explains how agent-based computer simulation helps Anthropologists understand key episodes of early human evolution, including cognitive complexification and dispersal into new environments. Biography of Speaker:

2007/03/23 Speaker: Naoki Katoh
Affiliation: Kyoto University
Title: An Efficient Algorithm for the Evacuation Problem in a Certain Class of a Network with Uniform Path-
Abstract: We consider the evacuation problem for a network which consists of a directed graph with capacities and transit times on its arcs. This problem can be solved by using the so-called time-expanded network but this requires psedo-polynomial running time. It is known that the problem can be solved by the algorithm of Hoppe and Tardos in polynomial time. However their running time is high-order polynomial, and hence is not practical in general. Therefore it is necessary to devise a faster algorithm for a tractable and practically useful subclass of this problem. In this talk, we consider the evacuation problem for a dynamic network with a single sink such that (i) the capacity of any arc takes the same value, (ii) for each vertex v the sum of transit times of arcs on any path from v to a sink takes the same value, and (iii) for each vertex v the local arc connectivity from v to a sink is equal to the number of arcs incident to a sink whose tail is reachable from v. For this problem we show that the problem can be solved efficiently. This class of such networks is a generalization of the grid network previously studied by the authors.
2007/03/30 Speaker: Jonathan Farley
Affiliation: University of the West Indies
Title: Toward a Mathematical Theory of Counterterrorism: Building the Perfect Terrorist Cell
Abstract: Under certain not-too-unrealistic assumptions, we investigate the possibility of determining the structure of the most robust terrorist cell: that is, the cell that is least likely to be disrupted if a certain number of its members are captured. This talk is non-political and will be accessible to a wide audience.
Jonathan will also give 2 other talks during his stay at McGill on Friday. More information can be found here. Biography of Speaker:

Dr. Jonathan David Farley is Professor of Mathematics at the University of the West Indies (Jamaica). He has formerly been a Science Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and a professor at MIT. Seed Magazine has named him one of “15 people who have shaped the global conversation about science in 2005.” He is the 2004 recipient of the Harvard Foundation’s Distinguished Scientist of the Year Award, a medal presented on behalf of the president of Harvard University in recognition of “outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of mathematics.” He obtained his doctorate in mathematics from Oxford University in 1995, after winning Oxford’s highest mathematics awards, the Senior Mathematical Prize and Johnson University Prize, in 1994. In 2001-2002, Dr. Farley was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to the United Kingdom. He was one of only four Americans to win this award in 2001-2002. The City of Cambridge, Massachusetts (home to both Harvard University and MIT) officially declared March 19, 2004 to be “Dr. Jonathan David Farley Day”.