Department Seminar: Suresh C. Kothari

Date(s) - 21 Oct 2016
1:10 PM - 2:00 PM

3043 ECpE Building Addition

Title: Euler, the 336 Million Dollar Software Patent, and Reflecting on How to Solve Hard Software Problems

Abstract: The size and complexity of software, the labor cost of programming, and the dire consequences of software malfunctioning have made it a nightmare to maintain software-intensive cyber-physical systems. Agile development, programming languages, component libraries etc. help but they do not suffice to ensure correctness and cost-effective maintenance of complex software. The central question is: how do we systematically reason about large software?

This talk will trace the history of a branch of mathematics and how that mathematics is likely to be the key to advance software engineering and its application to ensure safety and security of cyber-physical systems. While mathematics is crucial, being able to apply it to real-world software with millions of lines of code poses a colossal engineering challenge. The talk will present examples of sophisticated malware and a software verification study of the Linux kernel to illustrate our research on advancing the mathematics and building a platform to apply the mathematics to reason about large software.

Bio: Suresh Kothari is the Richardson Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Iowa State University (ISU). He has pioneered research on machine-enabled reasoning to solve complex problems of software productivity, security and safety. He served as a Principal Investigator (PI) for the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) Automated Program Analysis for Cybersecurity (APAC) program, and a Co-PI for the DARPA Software Enabled Control (SEC) program. Currently he is a PI for the DARPA Space/Time Analysis for Cybersecurity (STAC) program.

EnSoft (, the company he founded in 2002, provides software productivity, safety, and security products and services worldwide to more than 300 organizations including all major avionics and automobile companies. He was awarded in 2012 the Iowa State Board of Regents Professor Award for excellence in research, teaching, and service. He has served as a Distinguished ACM Lecturer. He has given more than 100 invited talks at major conferences, government organizations, universities, and industry.

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Interested in giving a seminar? Contact Professor Namrata Vaswani.

Announcements and publicity by Kristin Clague, and scheduling by the department secretary.