20. January 2016

ERC Consolidator Grant for CISPA Researcher Bernd Finkbeiner

The computer scientist Bernd Finkbeiner will be the first professor at the University of Saarland to be awarded the EU’s prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant. He will be funded 2 Million Euros to research new methods on automatic program synthesis.

In our daily lives we are confronted at every corner with some sort of software that helps us live as comfortably as possible. Programable technology has surpassed the phone in our pockets or the computer at our desk. Software runs in our cars, in air planes, industrial robots, space shuttles and so on. We basically put our lives in the hands of these softwares and therefore, in the hands of the people who write them. Human error is inevitable. With this thought, Bernd Finkbeiner is working on methods to surpass these human errors with automatic program synthesis. The goal is to create a completely error free and secure software without one line of code written by a programer. According to Finkbeiner, the system developer will not have to busy him/herself with the explicit details, but can focus more on the overall objectives and demands of the system. Therefore, the systems will be developed efficiently and one must not wonder about the correctness of the code.
The demands will be formulated in a mathematical specification language and the synthesis method will create the software in this image.

The future of autonomous vehicles is standing before us and automatic program synthesis will help calm our nerves about this inevitable future. With Finkbeiner’s researched methods, a developer can see beforehand if a specific system architecture or a combination of demands can endanger the safety of the system. Finkbeiner states that, at an early design stage expensive undesirable development can be avoided and the developer can then act accordingly.

With the 2 Million Euros funding, Finkbeiner wants to create new positions for doctorates and promoting scientists. They will work within the research project “OSARES” (Output-Sensitive Algorithms for Reactive Synthesis) on the methods of synthesis of correct systems.