News 2017

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 (apply.mpi-sws.org). 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.