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Colloquium - Nagarakatte


Secure Low-Level Programming with Compiler/Hardware Assisted Memory Safety
University of Pennsylvania

Many security vulnerabilities and memory corruption bugs stem from a design flaw in the C programming language: its lack of memory safety. Although modern languages such as Java avoid such problems by enforcing memory safety, most low-level systems code that exists today is written in C or C++. In this talk I will describe challenges in efficiently retrofitting legacy C code with full memory safety and our solutions in meeting these challenges. Specifically, I will describe both the software-only compiler transformations and hardware-assisted approaches. These techniques use disjoint metadata with pointers to provide efficient and highly compatible memory safety for legacy C source code eliminating an entire class of security vulnerabilities. Finally, I will conclude with an overview of my future research spanning the hardware-software interface in building safe and secure computing systems.

Santosh Nagarakatte is a PhD candidate and a member of the Architecture and Compilers (ACG) group at the University of Pennsylvania advised by Professor Milo Martin. His research interests include compilers, programming languages, runtime systems and computer architecture. He has received the IEEE Micro Top Picks paper award in 2010.

This talk is sponsored by the Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.

The Department holds colloquia throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. These colloquia, open to the public, are typically held on Thursday afternoons, but sometimes occur at other times as well. If you would like to receive email notification of upcoming colloquia, subscribe to our Colloquia Mailing List. If you would like to schedule a colloquium, see Colloquium Scheduling.

Sign language interpreters are available upon request. Please contact Stephanie Morris at least five days prior to the colloquium.

See also:
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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May 5, 2012 (13:29)