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Trustworthy Systems through Information-Flow Analysis

Trustworthy Systems through Information-Flow Analysis
Fred Chong (University of Chicago)

Over the last decade, the analysis of how information flows through complex computer systems has been an important tool towards making such systems more secure and reliable.  In this talk, I will discuss three research thrusts in this area.

First, the use of instruction-level information-flow tracking and virtual machines to address system-level security issues.  For example, tracking the integrity of control flow information at the instruction level provides a general methodology for addressing many security exploits.

Second, the use of gate-level information-flow tracking to design secure hardware architectures.  This extreme level of low-level hardware instrumentation or analysis reduces all information flows - whether explicit, implicit, or temporal - to the propagation of signals and allows for a uniform methodology for tracking all flows.

Third, the use of gate-level information flow to create "fail-secure" systems, where a hardware failure may cause incorrect results but will not violate security policies.  This ongoing work explores fail-secure circuit designs and architectures, evaluating their cost and efficiency as compared to traditional reliability techniques.

Fred Chong is the Seymour Goodman Professor of Computer Architecture in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chicago. Chong received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1996 and was a faculty member and Chancellor's fellow at UC Davis from 1997-2005. He was also a Professor of Computer Science, Director of Computer Engineering, and Director of the Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Computing at UCSB from 2005-2015. His research interests include computer security, emerging technologies for computing, multicore and embedded architectures, and sustainable computing.