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A week-long school for outstanding undergrad/MS students curious about research in computing. Apply by Feb 7!

January 2017
Outstanding undergraduate and Masters students are invited to learn about world-class research in security and privacy, social systems, distributed systems, machine learning, programming languages, and verification. Leading researchers will engage with attendees in their areas of expertise: the curriculum will include lectures, projects, and interaction with faculty from participating institutions.

Attendees will be exposed to state-of-the-art research in computer science, have the opportunity to interact one-on-one with internationally leading scientists from three of the foremost academic institutions in research and higher learning in the US and in Europe, and network with like-minded students. They will get a sense of what it is like to pursue an academic or industrial research career in computer science and have a head start when applying for graduate school.

Applications are due by February 7, 2017. Travel and accommodation will be covered for accepted students.

More info can be found on the CMMRS website.

Join us! Applications invited for doctoral and post-doctoral positions

November 2016
MPI-SWS offers a vibrant, dynamic, multi-cultural environment for research and education. We have openings for both graduate students and postdoctoral research scholars.

Graduate students work as members of one or more of the institute's research groups, which perform internationally leading, highly visible research in their respective fields of specialization. Graduate students receive individual training and mentorship from MPI-SWS faculty, preparing them for leadership positions in academic or industrial research.

Postdoctoral Fellows have the opportunity to work with MPI-SWS faculty on existing lines of research, as well as develop their own research agenda under MPI-SWS faculty supervision.

For more information, see the overview of our graduate program, research careers at MPI-SWS, or apply for positions through our application portal.

Max Planck Society Seeks Nominations for Scientific Directors

November 2016
The Max Planck Society  seeks nominations  for scientific directors in several research fields, including Computer Science. Nominations should be received by Dec 12, 2016.

Multiple Tenure-Track Faculty Openings

October 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.

MPI-SWS student select to attend Heidelberg Laureate Forum

August 2016
MPI-SWS Ph.D. student Aastha Mehta was selected to attend the 4th annual Heidelberg Laureate Forum in September 2016. An international committee of experts selected Aastha for one of only 200 spots reserved for young computer scientists and mathematicians from around the world. In addition to participating in the forum, she was one of 6 researchers invited for a blog interview. Aastha was provided funding to attend the forum through a Romberg Grant.

The Heidelberg Laureate Forum gives young computer science and math researchers the opportunity to interact with some of the world's top scientists. The twenty speakers for the 2016 Forum, for example, include 12 different Turing Award winners, as well as numerous winners of the Fields Medal and the Abel Prize.

 

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.

Peter Druschel recognized as a Microsoft Outstanding Collaborator

July 2016
MPI-SWS Director Peter Druschel was honored with a Microsoft Outstanding Collaborator Award. The award was given for his numerous contributions to Microsoft Research over the years. Druschel's collaborative work with Microsoft Research has generated a long stream of seminal papers. One of the most noteworthy is his paper on the distributed hash table Pastry --- a paper that is one of the most highly cited papers ever written by MSR researchers.

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.

Summary of the RustBelt project proposal


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. More

Announcing the Maryland Max Planck Ph.D. Program in Computer Science

April 2016
We are pleased to announce the formation of The Maryland Max Planck Ph.D. Program in Computer Science. This program offers students a unique opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. degree under the supervision of faculty from the University of Maryland, USA, and a Max Planck Institute in Germany. Students are co-advised, perform collaborative research, take advantage of the expertise, resources, and culture at both institutions, and spend time in both countries.

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.

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.

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.

Visiting professor Patrick Loiseau wins Humboldt award

March 2015
Patrick Loiseau, an Assistant Professor in the Data Science department at EURECOM, has been selected for a prestigious Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. This award provides support for him to spend up to a year at the institute, where he will work with Krishna Gummadi and other MPI-SWS researchers on security and privacy issues in social computing systems.

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

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.

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."

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 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.

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.

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.

MPI-SWS featured in local documentary

January 2014
MPI-SWS was featured in a documentary produced by local public broadcasting company SWR Rheinland-Pfalz. Part of the "Made in Rheinland-Pfalz" series, the documentary focuses on three software organizations along the "Software Mile" in Kaiserslautern: MPI-SWS, The Fraunhofer IESE, and DFKI. The documentary includes a brief interview with MPI-SWS faculty member Björn Brandenburg and research scientist Felix Bauer.

The documentary will be aired on January 22 at 6:15 pm.

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 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 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".

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.

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."

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.

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.

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 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.

Visiting Professor Lorenzo Alvisi wins Humboldt Award

December 2012
Lorenzo Alvisi, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has been selected for a prestigious Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. This award provides support for him to spend up to a year at the institute, where he will work with Peter Druschel and other MPI-SWS researchers on fault-tolerant computing for multi-core servers.

This is the second year that an MPI-SWS visiting professor has won a Humboldt Award. Johannes Gehrke was a 2010 Humboldt Research Award recipient.

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."

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.

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."

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".

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.

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.

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."

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).

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.

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."

Rupak Majumdar joins the MPI-SWS faculty

October 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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

Michael Backes awarded an ERC Starting Grant, selected by Technology Review as a "Young Innovator"

July 2009

MPI-SWS fellow Michael Backes has been honored as a recipient of the ERC Starting Grant 2009. Michael was also recently selected by the editors of Technology Review as one of the 35 young innovators under the age of 35 whose work they found most exciting.


The ERC Starting Grant was established in 2007 by the European Research Council to support up-and-coming research leaders in Europe. Recipients are selected based upon "outstanding track-record of early achievements appropriate to their research field and career stage."


Michael's 2009 Young Innovator award is based on his work proving that Internet security protocols can really be trusted. Software designed by Backes' group can prove in less than a second whether an Internet protocol is truly secure.


Michael received his Ph.D. from Saarland University in 2002. He was a Research Staff Member at the IBM Zurich Research laboratory before accepting his current position as a professor at Saarland University in 2006. He was named a fellow of the Max-Planck Institute for Software Systems in 2007.

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.

Peter Druschel wins Mark Weiser Award

December 2008

MPI-SWS faculty Peter Druschel has been honored as the eighth recipient of the Mark Weiser Award -- the top international award in the field of operating systems.


The Mark Weiser Award was established in 2001 by ACM's Special Interest Group on Operating Systems. Recipients must have begun their careers no earlier than 20 years prior to nomination, and they are selected based upon "contributions that are highly creative, innovative, and possibly high-risk, in keeping with the visionary spirit of Mark Weiser."


In the award ceremony, Peter's broad and high-impact contributions in his research field were highlighted, including work such as the Pastry peer-to-peer system, the Flash web server, the Fbufs operating system support for high-speed networking, and his work on resource management in large-scale servers.


Peter received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 1994. He was a Professor of Computer Science at Rice University, before accepting his current position as the founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems.


Previous recipients of the Mark Weiser Award are Frans Kaashoek (MIT), Mendel Rosenblum (Stanford), Mike Burrows (Google), Brian Bershad (Univ. of Washington), Tom Anderson (Univ. of Washington), Dawson Engler (Stanford), and Peter Chen (Univ. of Michigan)

Krishna Gummadi joins MPI-SWS faculty

July 2005
Krishna Gummadi, Ph.D., accepts a position on the faculty of the MPI for Software Systems as an independent researcher. This position is comparable to a tenure-track Assitant Professor position at a U.S. University.

Krishna hold a B.Tech. degree from IIT Madras, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington in Seattle, all in Computer Science and Engineering. Krishna has gained international recognition for his research on networked systems, as the recipient of three best paper awards at leading conferences in his area and as the main author of the most cited computer science articles in 2003 and 2004, respectively, according to citeseer. He will join the MPI for Software Systems in October 2005.

Ashutosh Gupta and Andrey Rybalchenko win ETAPS best paper award

July 2005
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 http://www.eapls.org/pages/topic_05_awards/.

MPI-SWS and MPI-INF form joint administration

April 2005
The MPIs for Software Systems in Kaiserslautern and Saarbruecken and the MPI for Informatics in Saarbruecken agree to form a joint administrative unit, headed by Volker Geiss with staff in both the Kasierslautern and the Saarbruecken locations. Volker currently heads the administrative unit of the MPI for Informatics.

Peter Druschel becomes MPI-SWS founding director March 2005

March 2005
Prof. Peter Druschel, Ph.D., accepts the position of Founding Director of the MPI for Software Systems. Peter comes from Rice University in Houston, TX, where he has spent eleven years as Assistant Professor (1994-2000), Associate Professor (2000-2002) and Full Professor (2002-) of Computer Science. Peter also spent time teaching and researching at the University of Paris VI, at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK, and at the Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. He holds a Dipl.-Ing. (FH) degree in Electrical Engineering from Fachhochschule Munich, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Arizona. Peter conducts research in experimental distributed systems, with a focus on self-organizing, decentralized and autonomous systems. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship.

Visiting Professor Lorenzo Alvisi wins Humboldt Award

December 2012
Lorenzo Alvisi, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has been selected for a prestigious Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. This award provides support for him to spend up to a year at the institute, where he will work with Peter Druschel and other MPI-SWS researchers on fault-tolerant computing for multi-core servers.

This is the second year that an MPI-SWS visiting professor has won a Humboldt Award. Johannes Gehrke was a 2010 Humboldt Research Award recipient.

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."

Visiting professor Patrick Loiseau wins Humboldt award

March 2016
Patrick Loiseau, an Assistant Professor in the Data Science department at EURECOM, has been selected for a prestigious Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. This award provides support for him to spend up to a year at the institute, where he will work with Krishna Gummadi and other MPI-SWS researchers on security and privacy issues in social computing systems.

MPI-SWS featured in local documentary

January 2014
MPI-SWS was featured in a documentary produced by local public broadcasting company SWR Rheinland-Pfalz. Part of the "Made in Rheinland-Pfalz" series, the documentary focuses on three software organizations along the "Software Mile" in Kaiserslautern: MPI-SWS, The Fraunhofer IESE, and DFKI. The documentary includes a brief interview with MPI-SWS faculty member Björn Brandenburg and research scientist Felix Bauer.

The documentary will be aired on January 22 at 6:15 pm.

MPI-SWS graduates first four students

July 2009
In the spring of 2009, MPI-SWS graduated its first four PhD students—Andreas Haeberlen, Alan Mislove, Animesh Nandi, and Atul Singh. All four students have landed competitive academic or research positions in a very tight job market.

This fall, Andreas Haeberlen will be an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Alan Mislove will be an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University, Animesh Nandi will be a researcher at Bell Labs, India, and Atul Singh will be a researcher at NEC Labs, Princeton. The students received their PhD degrees from Rice University after spending the last several years of their graduate studies at MPI-SWS.

Paul Francis joins the MPI-SWS faculty

January 2009
Paul Francis joins the institute's faculty as a scientific director. Paul's work over the years has focused on network routing and addressing problems, with a particular interest in large and self-configuring systems.

Paul's work has had tremendous impact on both research and industrial practice. He is best known for inventing Network Address Translation (NAT), shared multicast trees (which form the basis of PIM-SM), and the use of multiple addresses to scale routing in the face of site multihoming, which was adopted by IPv6.

Paul joins MPI-SWS from Cornell University, where he was on the faculty of the computer science department. Prior to that, Paul spent many years in industry labs such as Bellcore, NTT Research Labs in Tokyo, ACIRI in Berkeley, and at several Silicon Valley startups.

Paul Francis's arrival marks the opening of the insitute's Kaiserslautern site.

Three new faculty to join MPI-SWS

August 2007
We are pleased to announce that three new faculty will join MPI-SWS.

Rodrigo Rodrigues will lead a research group on Dependable Systems. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and joins us from the Instituto Superior Tecnico in Lisbon.

Derek Dreyer will lead a research group on Type Systems and Functional Programming. He obtained his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University and joins us from the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago. Andrey Rybalchenko will lead a research group on Verification Systems. He previously held a post-doctoral position with Tom Henzinger at EPFL. He is the winner of the Otto-Hahn-Medal of the Max Planck Society.

Michael Backes appointed as a Max Planck Fellow

June 2007
Michael Backes, Professor at Saarland University, is appointed as a Max Planck Fellow at the MPI for Software Systems for five years. The new Max Planck Fellow program aims to strengthen the cooperation between Max Planck institutes and universities. In addition to his duties at the University, Michael will head a small research group on Information Security and Cryptography at the institute.

Designs selected for MPI-SWS buildings

January 2006
A jury chaired by renowned architect Prof. Gunther Henn evaluates fifteen drafts submitted as part of an architecture competition for the design of the institute's new buildings in Kaiserlautern and Saarbruecken. First prize is awarded to a design by the firm of Weinbrenner and Single in Nuertingen. The designs reflect a common architectural concept that fosters communication and cooperation, while each building has a distinct appearance that respects its situation within the campus of the Technical University of Kaiserslautern and Saarland University, respectively. Construction is expected to commence in 2007 and will cost about EUR 20M for both buildings.

Krishna Gummadi joins MPI-SWS faculty

July 2005
Krishna Gummadi, Ph.D., accepts a position on the faculty of the MPI for Software Systems as an independent researcher. This position is comparable to a tenure-track Assitant Professor position at a U.S. University.

Krishna hold a B.Tech. degree from IIT Madras, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington in Seattle, all in Computer Science and Engineering. Krishna has gained international recognition for his research on networked systems, as the recipient of three best paper awards at leading conferences in his area and as the main author of the most cited computer science articles in 2003 and 2004, respectively, according to citeseer. He will join the MPI for Software Systems in October 2005.

MPI-SWS and MPI-INF form joint administration

April 2005
The MPIs for Software Systems in Kaiserslautern and Saarbruecken and the MPI for Informatics in Saarbruecken agree to form a joint administrative unit, headed by Volker Geiss, with staff in both the Kasierslautern and the Saarbruecken locations. Volker currently heads the administrative unit of the MPI for Informatics.

Peter Druschel becomes MPI-SWS founding director

March 2005
Prof. Peter Druschel, Ph.D., accepts the position of Founding Director of the MPI for Software Systems. Peter comes from Rice University in Houston, TX, where he has spent eleven years as Assistant Professor (1994-2000), Associate Professor (2000-2002) and Full Professor (2002-) of Computer Science. Peter also spent time teaching and researching at the University of Paris VI, at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK, and at the Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. He holds a Dipl.-Ing. (FH) degree in Electrical Engineering from Fachhochschule Munich, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Arizona. Peter conducts research in experimental distributed systems, with a focus on self-organizing, decentralized and autonomous systems. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship.

MPI-SWS is founded

November 2004
On November 19, the Senate of the Max Planck Society approved the creation of the MPI for Software Systems. The institute will have two locations of equal scientific strength, one on the campus of the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, and one on the campus of Saarland University in Saarbruecken.