70-04, Nadia Polikarpova: Synthesis of Safe Pointer-Manipulating Programs

CS-550 Formal Verification

7 December 2021, Viktor Kuncak, 44 views


Low-level pointer-manipulating programs form the backbone of our digital infrastructure. Unfortunately, they are susceptible to memory safety bugs, such as buffer overflows and use-after-free, which lead to crashes and security vulnerabilities. A promising approach to eliminating memory safety bugs is to use

program synthesis technology to generate provably safe low-level code automatically from high-level specifications.

In this talk I will present a program synthesizer SuSLik, which accepts a logical specification as input, and produces a provably safe C program as output. SuSLik is the first synthesizer capable of generating a wide range of operations on linked data structures (such as singly- and doubly-linked lists, sorted lists, and trees) without additional hints from the user. To make this possible, SuSLik relies on a novel proof system—synthetic separation logic—to derive correct-by-construction programs directly from their specifications. 

About the Speaker

Nadia Polikarpova is an assistant professor at UC San Diego, and a member of the Programming Systems group. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from ETH Zurich in 2014, and then spent a couple years as a postdoctoral researcher at MIT. Nadia's research interests are in program synthesis, program verification, and type systems. She is a 2020 Sloan Fellow, and a recipient of the 2020 NSF Career Award and the 2020 Intel Rising Stars Award.

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