MU hosts annual Midwest Verification day
The University of Missouri’s Center for High Assurance Computing hosted Midwest Verification Day, an annual workshop focused on the verification of hardware and software, on Oct. 3 and 4.
The workshop attracted graduate students and researchers from universities all over the Midwest, as well as from farther locations, who came to present their work and give presentations on the topic of verification.
“Verification is basically the computer science in which we try to verify formally, using mathematics and logic and other computer aided methods, that computer systems are functioning correctly,” said Rohit Chadha, an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department.
“It’s about making sure programs don’t have bugs or security flaws,” said student Chris Hathhorn, who helped organize the event.
The Center for High Assurance Computing is a center founded by Associate Professor of Computer Science William Harrison and dedicated to research and education in information security and assurance. The center is recognized by the National Security Agency (NSA) as a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE).
With our world becoming increasingly more automated, the need to make sure computer systems are safe and secure in a way that goes beyond regular testing is more important than ever.
“Everyday we hear on TV about security flaws being found in software and online systems, so it has big economic consequences,” said Chadha, who added that a lot of hardware and software now goes into airplanes, automobiles, medical devices and other safety-critical areas. “An error can have serious consequences on human life.”
Most Midwestern universities don’t have many people working in this field, with sparse faculty spread far apart. “This is one way to sort of amplify their efforts in the Midwest, and it’s a good opportunity for our students to attract the students and researchers from nearby universities,” said Chadha. “It’s also a good opportunity for researchers and students to get acquainted with the challenges in this area of work.”
A number of informational talks were given during Midwest Verification Day, including talks from four invited speakers. The talks focused on a range of topics covering cybersecurity, verification of flight-critical systems, secure hardware design and a software-controlled insulin pump, among others.
The Natural Science Foundation granted money for the students to attend, while the Center for High Assurance Computing sponsored the event.