Basser Seminar Series

Event Driven Software Quality

Professor Jens Palsberg

TUESDAY 07 November 2006, 4-5 pm Note: different day

School of IT Building, Lecture Theatre 123, Level 1


Event-driven programming has found pervasive acceptance, from high- performance servers to embedded systems, as an efficient method for interacting with a complex world. The fastest research Web servers are event-driven, as is the most common operating system for sensor nodes.

An event-driven program handles concurrent logical tasks using a cooperative, application-level scheduler. The application developer separates each logical task into event handlers; the scheduler runs multiple handlers in an interleaved fashion. Unfortunately, the loose coupling of the event handlers obscures the program's control flow and makes dependencies hard to express and detect, leading to subtle bugs. As a result, event-driven programs can be difficult to understand, making them hard to debug, maintain, extend, and validate.

This talk presents recent approaches to event-driven software quality based on static analysis and testing, along with some open problems. We will discuss progress on how to avoid buffer overflow in TCP servers, stack overflow and missed deadlines in microcontrollers, and rapid battery drain in sensor networks. Our work is part of the Event Driven Software Quality project at UCLA, which is aimed at building the next generation of language and tool support for event-driven programming.

Speaker's biography

Jens Palsberg is a Professor and Vice Chair of Computer Science at UCLA. His research interests span the areas of compilers, embedded systems, programming languages, software engineering, and information security. He has authored over 80 technical papers, co-authored the book Object-Oriented Type Systems, and co-authored the 2002 revision of Appel's textbook on Modern Compiler Implementation in Java. He is the recipient of National Science Foundation CAREER and ITR awards, a Purdue University Faculty Scholar award, an IBM Faculty Award, and an Okawa Foundation research award. Dr. Palsberg's research has also been supported by DARPA, Intel, and British Telecom. Dr. Palsberg is an associate editor of ACM Transactions of Programming Languages and Systems, a member of the editorial board of Information and Computation, and a former member of the editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. He is serving as the secretary/treasurer of ACM SIGBED, Special Interest Group on Embedded Systems, and he has served as the general chair of the ACM Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages.