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Valuable Verification: Theorems that Pay

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 -
8:45am to 10:00am
KEC 1007

Speaker Information

Jay McCarthy
Assistant Professor
Computer Science Department
Brigham Young University


<p>Most programmers associate formal verification and mechanical theorem proving with formalizing mathematics, high assurance software (such as aerospace control systems), and hardware checking, but not their own work. Yet, recently these approaches have found success in more commonplace applications such as C compilers and relational databases. We attribute this expansion to a greater appreciation of reliable software and a decrease in the cost of verification. In this talk, I will describe my own forays into this area with an emphasis on how formal verification creates practical benefits that would not have been available if not for the reliability of the theorems. I have selected a diverse set of applications for this presentation:</p><p>- how traditional network services, like <span data-scayt_word="load-balancers" data-scaytid="4">load-balancers</span>, must adapt to handle the unique constraints of cryptographic protocols;</p><p>- how simple probabilistic relationships need a foundation in complex measure theory to understand and automate;</p><p>- how modern APIs assume users obey temporal orderings in their uses which need a new kind of monitoring system to enforce at runtime.</p><p>Finally, I will close with a sketch of further ways that this application of programming language and verification research can improve software quality and programmer quality of life.</p>

Speaker Bio

Jay McCarthy is an assistant professor at Brigham Young University in the Computer Science Department. He is a member of the PLT research group and works on the Racket programming language. He completed a PhD at Brown University in the Computer Science Department under Shriram Krishnamurthi as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. He did his BS at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell studying Mathematics, Computer Science, and Economics. He is passionate about computer science education & diversity, formal verification, programming language expressiveness, and his three adorable kids.