MPI-SWS paper accepted into WSDM '18

November 2017
The paper "Leveraging the Crowd to Detect and Reduce the Spread of Fake News and Misinformation " by MPI-SWS researchers, in collaboration with researchers at KAIST and MPI-IS, has been accepted to WSDM 2018, one of the flagship conferences in data mining.

WSDM will take place in Los Angeles (CA, USA) in February 2018.

Multiple Tenure-Track Faculty Openings

September 2017
Applications are invited for faculty positions at all career stages in computer science, with a particular emphasis on systems (broadly construed). We expect multiple positions to be filled in systems, but exceptional candidates in other areas of computer science are also strongly encouraged to apply.

A doctoral degree in computer science or related areas and an outstanding research record (commensurate for the applicant's career stage) are required. Successful candidates are expected to build a team and pursue a highly visible research agenda, both independently and in collaboration with other groups.

MPI-SWS is part of a network of over 80 Max Planck Institutes, Germany's premier basic-research organisations. MPIs have an established record of world-class, foundational research in the sciences, technology, and the humanities. The institute offers a unique environment that combines the best aspects of a university department and a research laboratory: Faculty enjoy full academic freedom, lead a team of doctoral students and post-docs, and have the opportunity to teach university courses; at the same time, they enjoy ongoing institutional funding in addition to third-party funds, a technical infrastructure unrivaled for an academic institution, as well as internationally competitive compensation.

The institute is located in the German cities of Saarbruecken and Kaiserslautern, in the tri-border area of Germany, France, and Luxembourg. We maintain an international and diverse work environment and seek applications from outstanding researchers worldwide. The working language is English; knowledge of the German language is not required for a successful career at the institute.

Qualified candidates should apply on our application website ( To receive full consideration, applications should be received by December 1st, 2017.

The institute is committed to increasing the representation of minorities, women, and individuals with physical disabilities. We particularly encourage such individuals to apply. The initial tenure-track appointment is for five years; it can be extended to seven years based on a midterm evaluation in the fourth year. A permanent contract can be awarded upon a successful tenure evaluation in the sixth year.

MPI-SWS paper accepted into NIPS '17

September 2017
The paper "From Parity to Preference: Learning with Cost-effective Notions of Fairness" by MPI-SWS researchers, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Cambridge and MPI-IS, has been accepted to NIPS 2017, the flagship conference in machine learning.

NIPS will take place in Long Beach (CA, USA) in December 2017.

Derek Dreyer receives Robin Milner Young Researcher Award

September 2017
MPI-SWS faculty member Derek Dreyer has received the 2017 Robin Milner Young Researcher Award, which is given by ACM SIGPLAN to recognize outstanding contributions by young investigators in the area of programming languages.  The award citation reads as follows:

"Derek Dreyer has made deep, creative research contributions of great breadth. His areas of impact are as diverse as module systems, data abstraction in higher-order languages, mechanized proof systems and techniques, and concurrency models and semantics. He has refactored and generalized the complex module systems of SML and OCaml; devised logical relations and techniques that enabled advances in reasoning about higher-order imperative programs; and developed novel separation logics for modular verification of low-level concurrent programs. His research papers are a model of clarity and depth, and he has worked actively to translate his foundational ideas into practice – most recently with the RustBelt project to provide formal foundations for the Rust language. Additionally, Dreyer has contributed leadership, support, and mentorship in activities such as the PLMW series of workshops, which are instrumental in growing the next generation of PL researchers."

Previous recipients of the award have included Stephanie Weirich, David Walker, Sumit Gulwani, Lars Birkedal, and Shriram Krishnamurthi.

Krishna Gummadi and Peter Druschel win ACM SIGCOMM test-of-time award

July 2017
MPI-SWS researchers—faculty members Krishna Gummadi and Peter Druschel and former SWS doctoral students Alan Mislove and Massimiliano Marcon—have received the ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Award for their IMC 2007 paper on "Measurement and Analysis of Online Social Networks." The work was done in collaboration with Bobby Bhattacharjee of the University of Maryland.

The award citation reads as follows: "This is one of the first papers that examine multiple online social networks at scale. By introducing novel measurement techniques, the paper has had an enduring influence on the analysis, modeling and design of modern social media and social networking services."
The ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Award is a retrospective award. It recognizes papers published 10 to 12 years in the past in Computer Communication Review or any SIGCOMM sponsored or co-sponsored conference that is deemed to be an outstanding paper whose contents are still a vibrant and useful contribution today.

MPI-SWS paper accepted into RTSS'17

July 2017
The paper entitled "An Exact and Sustainable Analysis of Non-Preemptive Scheduling" by MPI-SWS researchers Mitra Nasri and Björn Brandenburg was accepted into the program of the 38th IEEE Real-Time Systems Symposium (RTSS 2017).

RTSS 2017 will be held from December 6 to December 8 in Paris, France.


Amaury Pouly wins Ackermann Award

June 2017
Amaury Pouly, a postdoc in Joël Oukanine's Foundations of Automatic Verification Group, has received the 2017 Ackermann Award for his PhD thesis, “Continuous-time computation models: From computability to computational complexity.” The Ackermann Award is an international prize presented annually to the author of an exceptional doctoral dissertation in the field of Computer Science Logic.

Amaury Pouly's thesis shows that problems which can be solved with a computer in a reasonable amount of time (more specifically problems which belong to the class P of the famous open problem “P = NP?”) can be characterized as polynomial length solutions of polynomial differential equations. This result paves the way for reformulating certain questions and concepts of theoretical computer science in terms of ordinary polynomial differential equations. It also revisits analog computational models and demonstrates that analog and digital computers actually have the same computing power, both in terms of what they can calculate (computability) and what they can solve in reasonable (polynomial) time.

MPI-SWS wins best-paper awards at PLDI and ECOOP

June 2017
MPI-SWS researchers made a very strong showing at PLDI and ECOOP in Barcelona this year.  They received two Best Paper Awards, one from PLDI and one from ECOOP, for the following two papers:

PLDI 2017: Repairing Sequential Consistency in C/C++11, by Ori Lahav, Viktor Vafeiadis, Jeehoon Kang, Chung-Kil Hur, and Derek Dreyer.

ECOOP 2017: Strong Logic for Weak Memory: Reasoning About Release-Acquire Consistency in Iris, by Jan-Oliver Kaiser, Hoang-Hai Dang, Derek Dreyer, Ori Lahav, and Viktor Vafeiadis.

In addition, another PLDI best paper award went to the paper "Bringing the Web Up to Speed with WebAssembly", which was presented by Andreas Rossberg, former member of the Foundations of Programming group, who is now a senior engineer at Google.  WebAssembly is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between engineers at Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Apple to develop a new portable low-level byte code language to replace JavaScript as a target language for web development.

Adish Singla to join MPI-SWS as tenure-track faculty

June 2017

Adish Singla is joining us from ETH Zurich, where he has completed his Ph.D. in computer science. His research focuses on designing new machine learning frameworks and developing algorithmic techniques, particularly for situations where people are an integral part of computational systems. Adish joins the institute as a tenure-track faculty member, effective Oct 1, 2017.

Before starting his Ph.D., he worked as a Senior Development Lead in Bing Search for over three years. Adish received his Bachelor's degree from IIT Delhi and his Master's degree from EPFL. He is a recipient of the Facebook Fellowship in the area of Machine Learning, the Microsoft Research Tech Transfer Award, and the Microsoft Gold Star Award.

Maria Christakis to join MPI-SWS as tenure-track faculty

June 2017
Maria Christakis joins the institute as a tenure-track faculty member, effective Oct 16, 2017. Maria’s goal is to develop theoretical foundations and practical tools for building more reliable and usable software and increasing developer productivity. She is mostly interested in software engineering, programming languages, and formal methods. Maria particularly likes investigating topics in automatic test generation, software verification, program analysis, and empirical software engineering. Her tools and techniques explore novel ways of writing, specifying, verifying, testing, and debugging programs in order to make them more robust while at the same time improving the user experience.

Maria joins MPI-SWS from the University of Kent, England, where she is a Lecturer at the School of Computing. She was previously a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research Redmond. Maria received her Ph.D. from the Department of Computer Science of ETH Zurich and was awarded with the ETH medal and the EAPLS Best PhD Dissertation Award. She completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens, Greece.

MPI-SWS researchers win RTAS 2017 Best Paper award

April 2017
Pratyush Patel, Manohar Vanga, and Björn Brandenburg have won the Best Paper award at the 23rd IEEE Real-Time and Embedded Technology and Applications Symposium (RTAS 2017) for their paper entitled "TimerShield: Protecting High-Priority Tasks from Low-Priority Timer Interference".

MPI-SWS researchers win RTAS 2017 Outstanding Paper award

April 2017
Mitra Nasri and Björn Brandenburg have won an Outstanding Paper award at the 23rd IEEE Real-Time and Embedded Technology and Applications Symposium (RTAS 2017) for their paper entitled "Offline Equivalence: A Non-Preemptive Scheduling Technique for Resource-Constrained Embedded Real-Time Systems".

Principles of Cyber-Physical Systems Course at TU Kaiserslautern

April 2017
Sadegh Soudjani is teaching Principles of Cyber-physical Systems at the University of Kaiserslautern in Summer 2017.

The course meets Tuesdays 11:45-13:15 and Thursdays 10:00-11:30 in 11-260.

Advanced Automata Theory Course at TU Kaiserslautern

April 2017
Rupak Majumdar and Daniel Neider are co-teaching Advanced Automata Theory at the University of Kaiserslautern in the Summer 2017 semester.

The course meets Tuesdays 08:15-09:45 in room 48-210 and Wednesdays 13:45-15:15 in room 46-280 on the University of Kaiserslautern campus.

Paul Francis to lead session at the IAPP Europe Data Protection Congress 2017

April 2017
The session, entitled “Challenges and Strategies for Certifying Data Anonymization for Data Sharing,” brings together technical and legal experts to explore how Data Protection Officers (DPOs) can manage the complexities and uncertainties of GDPR-compliant data anonymization. The IAPP Congress will be held November 7-9 in Brussels.

Session Abstract:

Data sharing is increasingly important. Companies share data internally across business units to gain business insights, they share data externally with data analytics vendors, and they often share data simply to make money. Ensuring the anonymity of users in the data set is necessary. The process of approving or certifying anonymization however is costly, time consuming, and uncertain. Current approaches to anonymization are ad hoc at best. They require a custom strategy for each new data sharing scenario, and it is often unclear whether the data is really anonymized or not.

In this informative and lively session, corporate DPOs, vendors of analytics solutions, and privacy researchers share their experiences with data anonymization and the approval process. They provide case studies illustrating the pitfalls of "do it yourself" anonymization, and show how some new ready-for-use anonymization can eliminate the delays and guesswork of data anonymization.

Paul Francis to give keynote at Oakland '17 Workshop on Privacy Engineering

April 2017
Paul Francis will give the keynote address at the Oakland (IEEE S&P) Workshop on Privacy Engineering. The talk, entitled "The Diffix Framework: Revisiting Noise, Again", presents the first database anonymization system that exhibits low noise, unlimited queries, simple configuration, and rich query semantics while still giving strong anonymity.

The workshop will be held May 25 in San Jose, CA.

Talk Abstract:

For over 40 years, the holy grail of database anonymization is a system that allows a wide variety of statistical queries with minimal answer distortion, places no limits on the number of queries, is easy to configure, and gives strong protection of individual user data.  This keynote presents Diffix, a database anonymization system that promises to finally bring us within reach of that goal.  Diffix adds noise to query responses, but "fixes" the noise to the response so that repeated instances of the same response produce the same noise.  While this addresses the problem of averaging attacks, it opens the system to "difference attacks" which can reveal individual user data merely through the fact that two responses differ.  Diffix proactively examines queries and responses to defend against difference attacks.  This talk presents the design of Diffix, gives a demo of a commercial-quality implementation, and discusses shortcomings and next steps.

Best Paper Award Honorable Mention at WWW '17

April 2017
The MPI-SWS paper "Fairness Beyond Disparate Treatment & Disparate Impact: Learning Classification without Disparate" has received a Best Paper Award Honorable Mention at WWW 2017.

The 26th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW) took place in Perth (Australia) in April 2017.

eine quatsch news

March 2017
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Reinhard Munz interns at Nokia/Bell Labs

February 2017
Reinhard Munz, a doctoral student in Paul Francis' group, is doing an internship at Nokia/Bell Labs. His internship will last from January to May, and is in the Autonomous Software Systems Research Group led by Volker Hilt.

Targeted malware paper accepted at NDSS '17

January 2017
The paper "A Broad View of the Ecosystem of Socially Engineered Exploit Documents" was accepted at NDSS '17 (Network and Distributed System Security Symposium).  The authors include Stevens Le Blond, Cédric Gilbert, Utkarsh Upadhyay, and Manuel Gomez Rodriguez from MPI-SWS, as well as David Choffnes from Northeastern University.

Our understanding of exploit documents as a vector to deliver targeted malware is limited to a handful of studies done in collaboration with the Tibetans, Uyghurs, and political dissidents in the Middle East. In this measurement study, we present a complementary methodology relying only on publicly available data to capture and analyze targeted attacks with both greater scale and depth. In particular, we detect exploit documents uploaded over one year to a large anti-virus aggregator (VirusTotal) and then mine the social engineering information they embed to infer their likely targets and contextual information of the attacks. We identify attacks against two ethnic groups (Tibet and Uyghur) as well as 12 countries spanning America, Asia, and Europe. We then analyze the exploit documents dynamically in sandboxes to correlate and compare the exploited vulnerabilities and malware families targeting different groups. Finally, we use machine learning to infer the role of the uploaders of these documents to VirusTotal (i.e., attacker, targeted victim, or third-party), which enables their classification based only on their metadata, without any dynamic analysis. We make our datasets available to the academic community.

Five MPI-SWS papers accepted at WWW '17

December 2016
Five papers from MPI-SWS have been accepted to WWW 2017:

  • Fairness Beyond Disparate Treatment & Disparate Impact: Learning Classification without Disparate Mistreatment

  • Modeling the Dynamics of Online Learning Activity

  • Distilling Information Reliability and Source Trustworthiness from Digital Traces

  • Optimizing the Recency-Relevancy Trade-off in Online News Recommendations

  • Predicting the Success of Online Petitions Leveraging Multi-dimensional Time-Series

The 26th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW) will take place in Perth, Australia in April 2017.

MPI-SWS researchers win RTSS 2016 best paper award

December 2016
Björn Brandenburg and Mahircan Gül have won the best paper award at the 37th IEEE Real-Time Systems Symposium (RTSS 2016) for their paper entitled "Global Scheduling Not Required: Simple, Near-Optimal Multiprocessor Real-Time Scheduling with Semi-Partitioned Reservations".

Program Analysis course at TU Kaiserslautern

November 2016
Rayna Dimitrova is teaching Program Analysis at the University of Kaiserslautern in the Winter 2016-17 semester.

The course meets Mondays 17:15-18:45 in room 48-379 on the University of Kaiserslautern campus.

More information about the course

Complexity Theory Course at TU Kaiserslautern

November 2016
Rupak Majumdar is teaching Complexity Theory at the University of Kaiserslautern in the Winter 2016-17 semester.

The course meets Mondays 15:30-17:00 at 46-280 and Wednesdays 13:45-15:15 at 46-268.

More information about the course

Multiple Tenure-Track Openings

November 2016
Applications are invited for tenure-track faculty positions in all areas related to the theory and practice of software systems, including security and privacy, embedded and mobile systems, distributed and parallel systems, computational social science, legal, economic, and social aspects of computing, NLP, machine learning, information and knowledge management, programming languages, algorithms and logic, and verification.

To receive full consideration, applications should be received by December 15, 2016. For further details see our job ad.

Björn Brandenburg will chair EMSOFT'17

October 2016
Robert de Simone (INRIA) and Björn Brandenburg are co-chairs of the 2017  ACM SIGBED International Conference on Embedded Software (EMSOFT'17), to be held in conjunction with Embedded Systems Week (ESWEEK) from October 15 until October 20 in Seoul, South Korea.

EMSOFT brings together researchers and developers from academia, industry, and government to advance the science, engineering, and technology of embedded software development. Since 2001, EMSOFT has been the premier venue for cutting-edge research in the design and analysis of software that interacts with physical processes, with a long-standing tradition for results on cyber-physical systems, which compose computation, networking, and physical dynamics. See the ESWEEK homepage for further details.

Three MPI-SWS papers accepted to POPL'17

October 2016
Three papers from MPI-SWS were accepted to ACM POPL 2017:
  • A promising semantics for relaxed-memory concurrency
  • Relational cost analysis
  • Thread modularity at many levels: a pearl in compositional verification

Two MPI-SWS papers accepted at WSDM'17

October 2016
Two papers from MPI-SWS were accepted to ACM WSDM 2017:

  • RedQueen: An Online Algorithm for Smart Broadcasting in Social Networks

  • Uncovering the Dynamics of Crowdlearning and the Value of Knowledge

Rupak Majumdar will chair CAV 2017

October 2016
Rupak Majumdar and Viktor Kuncak (EPFL) are co-chairs of the 29th International Conference on Computer-Aided Verification (CAV 2017), to be held between July 22 and 28, 2017 in Heidelberg, Germany.

CAV 2017 is the 29th in a series dedicated to the advancement of the theory and practice of computer-aided formal analysis and synthesis methods for hardware and software systems. The CAV home page has more information.

Joel Ouaknine will chair LICS 2017

October 2016
Joel Ouaknine is the Program Chair of the Thirty-Second Annual ACM/IEEE Symposium on Logic in Computer Science (LICS), to be held between 20 and 23 June, 2017 in Reykjavik. The LICS Symposium is an annual international forum on theoretical and practical topics in computer science that relate to logic, broadly construed.

Two MPI-SWS papers accepted at RTNS'16

September 2016
Two MPI-SWS papers were accepted into the program of the 24th International Conference on Real-Time Networks and Systems (RTNS 2016):
  • Quantifying the Effect of Period Ratios on Schedulability of Rate Monotonic
  • On the Problem of Finding Optimal Harmonic Periods

RTNS 2016 will be held from October 19 to October 21 in Brest, France.

MPI-SWS research in the news

September 2016
MPI-SWS projects Aqua and Herd were discussed in an ArsTechnica article describing next generation anonymity networks.

Two MPI-SWS papers accepted into RTSS'16

September 2016
Two papers of MPI-SWS researchers were accepted into the program of the 37th IEEE Real-Time Systems Symposium (RTSS 2016):
  • A Blocking Bound for Nested FIFO Spin Locks
  • Global Scheduling Not Required: Simple, Near-Optimal Multiprocessor Real-Time Scheduling with Semi-Partitioned Reservations
RTSS 2016 will be held from November 29 until December 2 in Porto, Portugal.

Neel Krishnaswami joins University of Cambridge as university lecturer

July 2016
Neel Krishnaswami, a former postdoc in Derek Dreyer's group at MPI-SWS, will be joining the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory as a University Lecturer.

Congratulations, Neel!


MPI-SWS alumnus Pramod Bhatotia joins University of Edinburgh as senior lecturer

July 2016
Pramod Bhatotia, who completed his doctoral studies at MPI-SWS, will be joining the University of Edinburgh as a Senior Lecturer of computer science.

Congratulations, Pramod!

MPI-SWS researchers win ECRTS best paper award

July 2016
Felipe Cerqueira, Felix Stutz, and Björn Brandenburg have received the best paper award at ECRTS 2016, for their paper "Prosa: A Case for Readable Mechanized Schedulability Analysis." Read more about Prosa.

Mitra Nasri wins Humboldt fellowship

July 2016
MPI-SWS postdoctoral fellow Mitra Nasri has won a two-year Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship. The fellowship enables highly-qualified scientists from abroad to spend extended periods of research in Germany. Dr. Nasrabadi will be spending her fellowship years with the MPI-SWS Real Time Systems research group.

Derek Dreyer awarded ERC Consolidator Grant

April 2016
Derek Dreyer, head of the MPI-SWS Foundations of Programming group, has been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant. Over the next five years, his project "RustBelt: Logical Foundations for the Future of Safe Systems Programming" will receive almost 2 million euros, which will allow the group to develop rigorous formal foundations for the Rust programming language.

The European Research Council (ERC) is a pan-European funding body that supports cutting-edge research. It offers funding for groundbreaking research projects of the highest scientific quality across Europe, across all research areas. Talented researchers from all over the world can receive funding for excellent research in Europe. The ERC Consolidator Grant offers funding for researchers with 7 to 12 years of experience after achieving a PhD.

The RustBelt Project

A longstanding question in the design of programming languages is how to balance safety and control. C-like languages give programmers low-level control over resource management at the expense of safety, whereas Java-like languages give programmers safe high-level abstractions at the expense of control.

Rust is a new language developed at Mozilla Research that marries together the low-level flexibility of modern C++ with a strong "ownership-based" type system guaranteeing type safety, memory safety, and data race freedom. As such, Rust has the potential to revolutionize systems programming, making it possible to build software systems that are safe by construction, without having to give up low-level control over performance.

Unfortunately, none of Rust's safety claims have been formally investigated, and it is not at all clear that they hold. To rule out data races and other common programming errors, Rust's core type system prohibits the aliasing of mutable state, but this is too restrictive for implementing some low-level data structures. Consequently, Rust's standard libraries make widespread internal use of "unsafe" blocks, which enable them to opt out of the type system when necessary. The hope is that such "unsafe" code is properly encapsulated, so that Rust's language-level safety guarantees are preserved. But due to Rust's reliance on a weak memory model of concurrency, along with its bleeding-edge type system, verifying that Rust and its libraries are actually safe will require fundamental advances to the state of the art.

In this project, we aim to equip Rust programmers with the first formal tools for verifying safe encapsulation of "unsafe" code. Any realistic languages targeting this domain in the future will encounter the same problem, so we expect our results to have lasting impact. To achieve this goal, we will build on recent breakthrough developments by the PI and collaborators in concurrent program logics and semantic models of type systems.


Joel Ouaknine joins the MPI-SWS faculty

March 2016
Joel Ouaknine joins the institute's faculty as a scientific director, effective Aug 1, 2016. Joel's research interests include the automated verification of real-time, probabilistic, and infinite-state systems (e.g. model-checking algorithms, synthesis problems, complexity), logic and applications to verification, decision and synthesis problems for linear dynamical systems, automated software analysis, concurrency, and theoretical computer science.

In 2015, Joel was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant, which provides almost 2 million euros of research funding over a period of five years. He is also the recipient of the 2010 Roger Needham Award, given annually "for a distinguished research contribution in Computer Science by a UK-based researcher within ten years of his or her PhD."

Joel will join MPI-SWS from the University of Oxford, where he is a Professor of Computer Science and Fellow of St John's College. Joel holds a BSc and MSc in Mathematics from McGill University, and received his PhD in Computer Science from Oxford in 2001. He subsequently did postdoctoral work at Tulane University and Carnegie Mellon University.

Sadegh Soudjani wins DIC Best PhD-Thesis Award

March 2015
MPI-SWS postdoctoral fellow Sadegh Soudjani has been awarded the DISC Best PhD-Thesis Award for the best PhD thesis defended in 2014 in the Netherlands in the area of systems and control. Dr. Soudjani received the award for the excellent quality of his PhD Thesis "Formal Abstraction for Automated Verification and Synthesis of Stochastic Systems" for which he obtained the doctoral degree at Delft University of Technology in November.

Isabel Valera and Rijurekha Sen win Humboldt fellowships

March 2015
MPI-SWS postdoctoral fellows Isabel Valera and Rijurekha Sen have each won a two-year Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship. The fellowship enables highly-qualified scientists from abroad to spend extended periods of research in Germany. Dr. Valera recently joined the newly created Learning in Networks research group and Dr. Sen collaborates with both the MPI-SWS Distributed Systems and Social Computing research groups.

Rijurekha Sen wins ACM-India Doctoral Dissertation Award

February 2015
MPI-SWS postdoctoral fellow Rijurekha won the 2014 Best Doctoral Dissertation Award by ACM-India for her thesis titled "Different Sensing Modalities for Traffic Monitoring in Developing Regions" Dr. Sen recently joined the MPI-SWS Distributed Systems and Social Computing research groups.

Saptarshi Ghosh wins Humboldt fellowship

October 2014
MPI-SWS postdoctoral fellow Saptarshi Ghosh has won a one-year Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship. The fellowship enables highly-qualified scientists from abroad to spend extended periods of research in Germany. Dr. Ghosh will be spending his fellowship year with the MPI-SWS Social Computing research group.

MPI-SWS spinoff Aircloak wins Cisco IoT Security Grand Challenge

October 2014
MPI-SWS spinoff Aircloak has won the 2014 Cisco Internet of Things (IoT) Security Grand Challenge. Aircloak was selected for its innovative approach to privacy protection—it is building the world's first anonymized analytics system. As a grand challenge award winner, Aircloak was awarded a $75,000 cash prize and was showcased at the IoT World Forum. In addition, the award also provides the Aircloak team with mentoring, training and access to business expertise from Cisco and other supporting organizations, as well as potential investment and partnering opportunities in the future. For more info see the Cisco award announcement (in English or in German), and the Cisco blog.

MPI-SWS research in the New York Times

September 2014
MPI-SWS faculty Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil's work on linguistic change was mentioned in The New York Times. This is joint work with Robert West, Dan Jurafsky, Jure Leskovec, Christopher Potts.

MPI-SWS researchers win SOUPS distinguished paper award

July 2014
Krishna Gummadi, Mainack Mondal and Bimal Viswanath, along with Yabing Liu and MPI-SWS alumni Alan Mislove, have received a distinguished paper award at SOUPS 2014, for their paper "Understanding and Specifying Social Access Control Lists."

MPI-SWS research in the New York Times

July 2014
MPI-SWS faculty Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil has had his work on conversational threads in social media mentioned in The New York Times. This is joint work with Lars Backstrom, Jon Kleinberg and Lillian Lee.

Aaron Turon receives SIGPLAN Dissertation Award

June 2014
Aaron Turon, a postdoc in Derek Dreyer's Foundations of Programming Group, has received the 2014 ACM SIGPLAN John C. Reynolds Doctoral Dissertation Award for his PhD thesis, "Understanding and Expressing Scalable Concurrency", which he completed at Northeastern University in 2013 under the supervision of Mitch Wand. This international award is presented annually to the author of the outstanding doctoral dissertation in the area of Programming Languages. Aaron has recently joined Mozilla Research in San Francisco, where he is a member of the development team for the Rust programming language.

MPI-SWS student selected to attend Heidelberg Laureate Forum

May 2014
MPI-SWS Ph.D. student Arpan Gujarati has been selected to attend the 2nd annual Heidelberg Laureate Forum in September 2014. An international committee of experts seleted Arpan for one of only 100 spots reserved for young computer scientists from around the world. In addition to participating in the forum, he will be one of 40 students given the opportunity to present his research in a poster session.

The Heidelberg Laureate Forum gives young computer science and math researchers the opportunity to interact with some of the world's top scientists. The speakers for the 2014 Forum, for example, include 14 different Turing Award winners, as well as numerous winners of the Fields Medal and the Abel Prize.

MPI-SWS research in the news

May 2014
MPI-SWS faculty member Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil has had his work on how to ask for a favor featured on various media outlets including the Huffington Post, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Slate's Future Tense blog, ABC News and Süddeutsche Zeitung. Links to all the articles can be found here. This is joint work with Tim Althoff and Dan Jurafsky.

Peter Druschel and Deepak Garg win funding from Google

February 2014
MPI-SWS faculty members Peter Druschel and Deepak Garg have won a Google Faculty Research Award. The award is conferred on selected recipients, based on proposals from all over the world. The award, granted in the area of computer systems, supports their work on enforcing declarative data policies in distributed systems.

Rupak Majumdar wins Most Influential Paper Award

January 2014
MPI-SWS faculty member Rupak Majumdar has been selected as the winner of this year's POPL (Principles of Programming Languages) Most Influential Paper Award. The ACM SIGPLAN Most Influential POPL Paper Award is a retrospective award—it is given each year to the paper deemed most influential from the POPL conference 10 years earlier.

Majumdar won the award for his 2004 paper, Abstractions From Proofs, which was coauthored with Thomas Henzinger, Ranjit Jhala, and Kenneth McMillan. The paper introduced a technique to automatically find program abstractions using logical interpolation and showed the effectiveness of the technique in software verification.

MPI-SWS researchers win ERC Synergy Grant

December 2013
MPI-SWS directors Peter Druschel and Rupak Majumdar, along with Gerhard Weikum (Scientific Director at the MPI for Informatics) and Michael Backes (MPI-SWS Fellow and Professor at Saarland University), have jointly won the prestigious ERC Synergy Grant.

Over the next six years their project "imPACT: Privacy, Accountability, Compliance, and Trust in Tomorrow's Internet" will receive almost 10 million euros, which will allow them to explore how to protect users against eavesdropping and fraud on the Internet without restricting trade, freedom of expression or access to information.

Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil quoted by ABC News

August 2013
MPI-SWS faculty member Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil was quoted in a recent ABC News article about social bias effects in social media.

MPI-SWS researchers win SIES best paper award

June 2013
MPI-SWS faculty member Björn Brandenburg and PhD student Alexander Wieder have won the 2013 SIES (IEEE Symposium on Industrial Embedded Systems) Best Paper Award for their paper "Efficient Partitioning of Sporadic Real-Time Tasks with Shared Resources and Spin Locks".

MPI-SWS researchers win ECRTS outstanding paper award

June 2013
MPI-SWS faculty member Björn Brandenburg and PhD students Arpan Gujarati and Felipe Cerqueira have won a 2013 ECRTS Outstanding Paper Award for their paper "Schedulability Analysis of the Linux Push and Pull Scheduler with Arbitrary Processor Affinities."

MPI-SWS student receives Google Scholarship

May 2013
MPI-SWS PhD student Juhi Kulshrestha was awarded a Google Anita Borg Scholarship. She joins Ezgi Cicek, who received an Anita Borg Scholarship in 2012. Juhi previously received a 2011 Google Fellowship for her work in social networking.

Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil wins WWW best paper award

May 2013
MPI-SWS faculty member Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, along with his co-authors, has won the 2013 WWW Best Paper Award for his paper "No Country for Old Members: User Lifecycle and Linguistic Change in Online Communities."

Derek Dreyer wins funding from Microsoft Research

May 2013
A research project proposed by MPI-SWS faculty member Derek Dreyer has been selected for a 2013 Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship. The project is entitled "Compositional Verification of Scalable Joins by Protocol-Based Refinement". Each year Microsoft selects approximately twenty projects to fund, based on proposals from research institutions across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The Scholarship funds a PhD student for three years.

MPI-SWS research in the New York Times

February 2013
MPI-SWS faculty member Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil's work on the memorability of language was recently covered in a New York Times article about the computational analysis of cultural texts. This work was conducted at Cornell University with Justin Cheng, Jon Kleinberg and Lillian Lee.

Björn Brandenburg receives EDAA dissertation award

February 2013
MPI-SWS faculty member Björn Brandenburg has won the 2012 EDAA Outstanding Dissertations Award in the category "New directions in embedded system design and embedded software", to be presented at the DATE 2013 conference in March. This marks the third award Brandenburg has received for his dissertation.

Björn Brandenburg receives North American dissertation award

December 2012
Björn Brandenburg, an MPI-SWS faculty member, has been awarded the Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in the area of mathematics, physical sciences, and engineering. The award—North America's most prestigious honor for doctoral dissertations—recognizes recent doctoral recipients who have already made unusually significant and original contributions to their fields.

Brandenburg's dissertation, "Scheduling and Locking in Multiprocessor Real-Time Operating Systems," was also selected for the 2012 Linda Dykstra Distinguished Dissertation Award, which recognizes the best dissertation among all graduates in the fields of mathematics, physical sciences, and engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ruzica Piskac wins Patrick Denantes Prize

September 2012
Ruzica Piskac, an MPI-SWS faculty member, has been awarded the 2012 Patrick Denantes Prize for her dissertation titled "Decision Procedures for Program Synthesis and Verification." The prize is awarded annually to the most outstanding master's, doctoral or post-doctoral research project within the school of computer and communication sciences at EPFL.

Two new faculty to join MPI-SWS

June 2012
We are pleased to announce that two new faculty will join MPI-SWS.


Allen Clement obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin in 2011. Allen's research aims at designing and building systems that continue to work despite the myriad of things that go 'wrong' in deployed systems, including broken components, malicious adversaries, and benign race conditions. His research builds on techniques from distributed systems, security, fault tolerance, and game theory.


Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil is joining us from Cornell University, where he obtained his PhD in computer science. Cristian's research aims at developing computational frameworks that can lead to a better understanding of human social behavior, by unlocking the unprecedented potential of the large amounts of natural language data generated online. His work tackles problems related to conversational behavior, opinion mining, computational semantics and computational advertising.

Two MPI-SWS students receive Google Fellowships

June 2012
Fourth-year PhD student Georg Neis won a 2012 Google PhD Fellowship for his work in Programming Technology. First-year PhD student Ezgi Cicek was awarded an Anita Borg Scholarship. They join MPI-SWS PhD student Juhi Kulshrestha, who received a 2011 Google Fellowship for her work in social networking.

Rupak Majumdar wins EAPLS and TODAES best paper awards

June 2012
MPI-SWS faculty Rupak Majumdar, along with his coauthors, has received two best paper awards: the EAPLS 2012 best paper award and the 2012 ACM TODAES best paper award.

Rupak Majumdar and Zhenyue Long, along with Georgei Calin and Roland Meyer at TuKL, have received the ETAPS 2012 best paper award for their paper "Language-Theoretic Abstraction Refinement".

Rupak Majumdar has also received (along with Jason Cong, Bin Liu, and Zhiru Zhang) the 2012 ACM TODAES Best Paper Award for his 2010 TODAES article "Behavior-Level Observability Analysis for Operation Gating in Low-Power Behavioral Synthesis".

MPI-SWS researchers win ICWSM best paper award

June 2012
Krishna Gummadi and Farshad Kooti, along with Winter Mason and previous MPI-SWS postdoctoral fellow Meeyoung Cha, have received a best paper award at ICWSM 2012, for their paper "The Emergence of Conventions in Online Social Networks."

MPI-SWS research in the news

April 2012

A recent WWW 2012 paper by Krishna Gummadi, Bimal Viswanath, and their coauthors was covered by GigaOM, a popular technology news blog, in an article titled Who's to blame for Twitter spam? Obama, Gaga, and you.

Steven le Blond's work on security flaws in Skype and other peer-to-peer applications has been receiving global media attention: WSJ, Le Monde (French), die Zeit (German), Daily Mail, New Scientist, Slashdot, Wired, and the New Scientist "One Percent" blog.

Björn Brandenburg wins EMSOFT best paper award

November 2011
MPI-SWS faculty member Björn Brandenburg, along with James H. Anderson (UNC), has received the ACM SIGBED EMSOFT 2011 best paper award for his paper "Real-time resource-sharing under clustered scheduling: mutex, reader-writer, and k-exclusion locks."


Rupak Majumdar wins PLDI most influential paper award

August 2011
MPI-SWS faculty Rupak Majumdar has received the ACM SIGPLAN Most Influential PLDI (Programming Language Design and Implementation) Paper Award for 2011.

The ACM SIGPLAN Most Influential PLDI Paper Award is given each year for a paper that is ten years old and has been highly influential in the area of programming languages.

Rupak's 2001 paper, "Automatic Predicate Abstraction of C Programs," was coauthored with Thomas Ball, Todd Millstein, and Sriram Rajamani. The paper presented the predicate abstraction technology underlying the SLAM project. The technology is now part of Microsoft's Static Driver Verifier in the Windows Driver Development Kit. This is one of the earliest examples of automation of software verification on a large scale and the basis for numerous efforts to expand the domains that can be verified.

Paul Francis wins SIGCOMM test of time award

August 2011
MPI-SWS faculty Paul Francis has received the ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Award for 2011.

The ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Award recognizes papers published 10 to 12 years in the past in Computer Communication Review or any SIGCOMM sponsored or co-sponsored conference that is deemed to be an outstanding paper whose contents are still a vibrant and useful contribution today.

Paul's 2001 paper, "A Scalable Content-Addressable Network," was coauthored with Mark Handley, Richard Karp, Sylvia Ratnasamy, and Scott Shenker. This paper is one of four highly influential papers that laid the foundation for P2P systems based on distributed hash tables (DHTs).

Three new faculty to join MPI-SWS

July 2011

We are pleased to announce that three new faculty will join MPI-SWS this fall.

Björn Brandenburg is joining us from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), where he obtained his Ph.D. in computer science. Björn's research interests include multiprocessor real-time system, real-time synchronization protocols, and operating systems. Björn is the lead designer and developer of LITMUSRT, an extension of the Linux kernel for real-time scheduling and synchronization on multicore platforms.

Deepak Garg is joining us from the Cybersecurity Lab (CyLab) at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a post-doctoral researcher. He obtained his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon's Computer Science Department. His research interests are in the areas of computer security and privacy, formal logic and programming languages. He is specifically interested in logic-based models of secure systems and formal analysis of security properties of systems.

Ruzica Piskac is joining us from EPFL, where she has completed her Ph.D. in computer science. The goal of her research is to make software development easier and software more reliable via automated reasoning techniques. She is specifically interested in decision procedures, their combinations and applications in program verification and software synthesis.

Two MPI-SWS alumni receive NSF CAREER awards.

January 2011
Two MPI-SWS alumni — Andreas Haeberlen and Alan Mislove — have received NSF CAREER awards. The CAREER award is the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.

Andreas Haeberlen, now an Assistant Professor in the department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania, has received the award for his proposal "Evidence in Federated Distributed Systems."

Alan Mislove, now an Assistant Professor in the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University, has received the award for his proposal "Systems for the Emerging Patterns of Content Exchange."

Visiting Professor Johannes Gehrke wins Humboldt Award

October 2010
Johannes Gehrke, a professor at Cornell University, has been selected for a prestigious Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. This award will provide support for him to spend eight months in Germany, working with Peter Druschel and other MPI-SWS researchers on data-intensive distributed systems that make up the software infrastructure inside such large Web companies as Amazon, Yahoo! and Google.

The Humboldt Research Award is granted "in recognition of a researcher's entire achievements to date to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future."

MPI-SWS study exposing Facebook privacy leak attracts global media attention

October 2010
A study by MPI-SWS researchers Saikat Guha (now at Microsoft Research), Bin Cheng, and Paul Francis has been highlighted on CNN, NPR, The Washington Post, Fox News, and other major media outlets.

The study, which will be presented at the ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC) in November, looks at the targeting behavior of Google and Facebook. While the goal of the study was to understand targeting in general, the researchers discovered that gay Facebook users can unknowingly reveal to advertisers that they are gay simply by clicking on an ad targeted to gay men. The ads appear innocuous in that they make no mention of targeting gay users (for instance, an ad for a nursing degree). A user's sexual orientation can be leaked even if the user made his sexual orientation private using Facebook's privacy settings.

This study was done as part of a broader research project to design techniques for making advertising more private.

Viktor Vafeiadis joins the MPI-SWS faculty

October 2010
Viktor Vafeiadis joins the institute's faculty, starting in October 2010. Viktor's research interests are in software analysis and verification, programming languages, programming logics, and concurrency.

Viktor's research contributions include inventing new concurrent program logics (RGSep & deny/guarantee); developing automated verification tools (SmallfootRG & Cave) for proving correctness properties of concurrent algorithms; and verifying some particularly challenging algorithms manually (e.g., mcas), mechanically (e.g., fast congruence closure), or automatically (e.g., lazy set).

Viktor received his B.A. degree in Computer Science in 2004 and his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science in 2008 both from the University of Cambridge. After that, he held post-doctoral research positions at Microsoft Research and at the University of Cambridge.

Rupak Majumdar joins the MPI-SWS faculty

June 2010
Rupak Majumdar joins the institute's faculty as a scientific director. Rupak's research interests are in computer-aided verification and control of reactive, real-time, hybrid, and probabilistic systems; software verification and programming languages; and logic and automata theory.

Rupak's research spans the spectrum of formal verification techniques, ranging from theoretical foundations of logic and automata theory to practical software engineering tools that systematically analyze thousands of lines of code for programmer errors. In the field of software model checking, Rupak has made major contributions. Rupak, along with Ranjit Jhala, wrote the the model checker Blast, which is able to analyze over 100,000 lines of code for complex temporal properties. This achievement was a major milestone and proof of feasibility in the field of software verification and led to a flurry of academic and industrial activity in the area.

Rupak joins MPI-SWS from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was on the faculty of the computer science department. Prior to that, Rupak received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and his B.Tech. degree in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur.

Robert Harper appointed as an external scientific member

June 2010
Robert Harper has been appointed as the institute's first external scientific member. Dr. Harper is a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, where he conducts research on programming language design and implementation. Bob will be visiting the institute in Summer 2010.

The external scientific member appointment is a courtesy appointment, which acknowledges the member's scientific excellence, as well as his or her close collaboration and contribution to joint research projects with MPI-SWS faculty and researchers.

Robert Harper has been a professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University since 1988. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University in 1985, and was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science at Edinburgh University from 1985-1988. He is best known for his work on the design, definition, and implementation of Standard ML; the design and application of the LF logical framework; the type-theoretic foundations of modularity in programming languages; the use of typed intermediate languages for certified compilation; the co-invention of self-adjusting computation for dynamic algorithms; and the application of fundamental theory to practical software systems. His current interests include mechanization of the metatheory of programming languages, the integration of types and verification, and the application of programming language theory to computer security.

Andreas Haeberlen receives Otto Hahn Medal

June 2010
Andreas Haeberlen has been awarded the 2009 Otto Hahn Medal for outstanding scientific achievement. The medal, and its accompanying monetary prize, will be presented to Andreas at the Max Planck society's annual General Assembly in Hannover on June 16. Andreas's medal was awarded for "pioneering work on accountability in distributed computer systems, in particular for the design, implementation and demonstration of practical techniques for the reliable and tamper-proof detection of complex faults. Andreas obtained his PhD in Spring 2009 and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Founded in 1948, the Max Planck Society is a non-profit scientific organization affiliated with the Max Planck Institutes. The Society awards the Otto Hahn Medal annually to young scientists in recognition of outstanding scientific achievement. In addition to a stipend, the award gives winners preference for grants enabling them to conduct research abroad for one year.

Umut Acar joins the MPI-SWS faculty

January 2010
Umut Acar joins the institute's faculty, starting in January 2010. Umut's research interests are in language and algorithm design and implementation, particularly for dynamic systems that interact with changing data from various sources, such as users and the physical environment.

Such systems abound in many areas of computer science. For example, physical simulations often involve objects that move continuously over time, databases host and process data that changes over time (e.g., by introduction of new information records), and connectivity in networks and distributed systems changes as links go down or come alive.

Umut's primary research focus has been self-adjusting computation, where computations respond automatically to modifications to their data. With his collaborators, he designs languages for developing self-adjusting programs, researches techniques for analyzing their complexity, and evaluates the proposed techniques by considering problem domains such as computational geometry, machine learning, and scientific computing. Umut's other interests include parallel computing, databases, and design and implementation of high-level languages.

Umut Acar received his B.S. in Computer Science from Bilkent University-Turkey in 1997, his M.A. from University of Texas at Austin in 1999, and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004. Umut joins MPI-SWS from the Toyota Technological Institute of Chicago, where he was an assistant professor from 2005 to 2009.

Ashutosh Gupta and Andrey Rybalchenko win ETAPS best paper award

July 2009
MPI-SWS PhD student Ashutosh Gupta and and faculty Andrey Rybalchenko, along with Rupak Majumdar (UCLA), have received the EAPLS best paper award for their TACAS'09 paper "From Tests to Proofs."

The EAPLS award goes to the best contribution in the area of programming languages among CC, ESOP, and TACAS—three member conferences of ETAPS, the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software.

The award-winning paper describes the design and implementation of an automatic invariant generator that can be used in the verification of imperative programs. The authors' new approach makes constraint solving—and hence invariant generation—more scalable by adding information obtained from static abstract interpretation as well as dynamic execution of the program.

ETAPS, established in 1998, is a confederation of five annual conferences, accompanied by satellite workshops and other events. It is a primary forum for academic and industrial researchers working on topics relating to Software Science. Previous EAPLS best paper award winners are listed at

MPI-SWS researchers win ICWSM best paper award

May 2009
Congratulations to Meeyoung Cha, Juan Antonio Navarro Perez, and Hamed Haddadi. Their paper "Flash Floods and Ripples: The Spread of Media Content through the Blogosphere" was selected as the ICWSM'09 best paper using the Spinn3r dataset. The winning paper was selected out of all papers in the main conference and the data challenge workshop that used the 2009 Spinn3r blog dataset.