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Naeem Esfahani, Eric Yuan, Kyle Canavera, Sam Malek.  2016.  Inferring Software Component Interaction Dependencies for Adaptation Support. ACM Transactions on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems (TAAS). 10(4)

A self-managing software system should be able to monitor and analyze its runtime behavior and make adaptation decisions accordingly to meet certain desirable objectives. Traditional software adaptation techniques and recent “models@runtime” approaches usually require an a priori model for a system’s dynamic behavior. Oftentimes the model is difficult to define and labor-intensive to maintain, and tends to get out of date due to adaptation and architecture decay. We propose an alternative approach that does not require defining the system’s behavior model beforehand, but instead involves mining software component interactions from system execution traces to build a probabilistic usage model, which is in turn used to analyze, plan, and execute adaptations. In this article, we demonstrate how such an approach can be realized and effectively used to address a variety of adaptation concerns. In particular, we describe the details of one application of this approach for safely applying dynamic changes to a running software system without creating inconsistencies. We also provide an overview of two other applications of the approach, identifying potentially malicious (abnormal) behavior for self-protection, and improving deployment of software components in a distributed setting for performance self-optimization. Finally, we report on our experiments with engineering self-management features in an emergency deployment system using the proposed mining approach.

Nariman Mirzaei, Hamid Bagheri, Riyadh Mahmood, Sam Malek.  2015.  SIG-Droid: Automated System Input Generation for Android Applications. 2015 IEEE 26th International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering (ISSRE).

Pervasiveness of smartphones and the vast number of corresponding apps have underlined the need for applicable automated software testing techniques. A wealth of research has been focused on either unit or GUI testing of smartphone apps, but little on automated support for end-to-end system testing. This paper presents SIG-Droid, a framework for system testing of Android apps, backed with automated program analysis to extract app models and symbolic execution of source code guided by such models for obtaining test inputs that ensure covering each reachable branch in the program. SIG-Droid leverages two automatically extracted models: Interface Model and Behavior Model. The Interface Model is used to find values that an app can receive through its interfaces. Those values are then exchanged with symbolic values to deal with constraints with the help of a symbolic execution engine. The Behavior Model is used to drive the apps for symbolic execution and generate sequences of events. We provide an efficient implementation of SIG-Droid based in part on Symbolic PathFinder, extended in this work to support automatic testing of Android apps. Our experiments show SIG-Droid is able to achieve significantly higher code coverage than existing automated testing tools targeted for Android.

Nariman Mirzaei, Joshua Garcia, Hamid Bagheri, Alireza Sadeghi, Sam Malek.  2016.  Reducing Combinatorics in GUI Testing of Android Applications. ICSE '16 Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering. :559-570.

The rising popularity of Android and the GUI-driven nature of its apps have motivated the need for applicable automated GUI testing techniques. Although exhaustive testing of all possible combinations is the ideal upper bound in combinatorial testing, it is often infeasible, due to the combinatorial explosion of test cases. This paper presents TrimDroid, a framework for GUI testing of Android apps that uses a novel strategy to generate tests in a combinatorial, yet scalable, fashion. It is backed with automated program analysis and formally rigorous test generation engines. TrimDroid relies on program analysis to extract formal specifications. These speci- fications express the app’s behavior (i.e., control flow between the various app screens) as well as the GUI elements and their dependencies. The dependencies among the GUI elements comprising the app are used to reduce the number of combinations with the help of a solver. Our experiments have corroborated TrimDroid’s ability to achieve a comparable coverage as that possible under exhaustive GUI testing using significantly fewer test cases.

Nathan Fulton.  2012.  Domain Specific Security through Extensible Type Systems. SPLASH '12 Proceedings of the 3rd annual conference on Systems, programming, and applications: software for humanity. :107-108.

Researchers interested in security often wish to introduce new primitives into a language. Extensible languages hold promise in such scenarios, but only if the extension mechanism is sufficiently safe and expressive. This paper describes several modifications to an extensible language motivated by end-to-end security concerns.

Nathan Fulton, Cyrus Omar, Jonathan Aldrich.  2014.  Statically typed string sanitation inside a python. PSP '14 Proceedings of the 2014 International Workshop on Privacy & Security in Programming.

Web applications must ultimately command systems like web browsers and database engines using strings. Strings derived from improperly sanitized user input can as a result be a vector for command injection attacks. In this paper, we introduce regular string types, which classify strings constrained statically to be in a regular language specified by a regular expression. Regular strings support standard string operations like concatenation and substitution, as well as safe coercions, so they can be used to implement, in an essentially conventional manner, the pieces of a web application or framework that handle strings arising from user input. Simple type annotations at function interfaces can be used to statically verify that sanitization has been performed correctly without introducing redundant run-time checks. We specify this type system first as a minimal typed lambda calculus, lambdaRS. To be practical, adopting a specialized type system like this should not require the adoption of a new programming language. Instead, we advocate for extensible type systems: new type system fragments like this should be implemented as libraries atop a mechanism that guarantees that they can be safely composed. We support this with two contributions. First, we specify a translation from lambdaRS to a calculus with only standard strings and regular expressions. Then, taking Python as a language with these constructs, we implement the type system together with the translation as a library using typy, an extensible static type system for Python.

Nirav Ajmeri, Jiaming Jiang, Rada Y. Chirkova, Jon Doyle, Munindar P. Singh.  2016.  Coco: Runtime Reasoning about Conflicting Commitments. Proceedings of the 25th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI). :1–7.

To interact effectively, agents must enter into commitments. What should an agent do when these commitments conflict? We describe Coco, an approach for reasoning about which specific commitments apply to specific parties in light of general types of commitments, specific circumstances, and dominance relations among specific commitments. Coco adapts answer-set programming to identify a maximalsetofnondominatedcommitments. It provides a modeling language and tool geared to support practical applications.

Nirav Ajmeri, Chung-Wei Hang, Simon D. Parsons, Munindar P. Singh.  2017.  Aragorn: Eliciting and Maintaining Secure Service Policies. IEEE Computer. 50:1–8.

Services today are configured through policies that capture expected behaviors. However, because of subtle and changing stakeholder requirements, producing and maintaining policies is nontrivial. Policy errors are surprisingly common and cause avoidable security vulnerabilities.

We propose Aragorn, an approach that applies formal argumentation to produce policies that balance stakeholder concerns. We demonstrate empirically that, compared to the traditional approach for specifying policies, Aragorn performs (1) better on coverage, correctness, and quality; (2) equally well on learnability and effort÷coverage and difficulty; and (3) slightly worse on time and effort needed. Thus, Aragorn demonstrates the potential for capturing policy rationales as arguments.

To appear

Nirav Ajmeri, Hui Guo, Pradeep K. Murukannaiah, Munindar P. Singh.  2017.  Arnor: Modeling Social Intelligence via Norms to Engineer Privacy-Aware Personal Agents. :1–9.

We seek to address the challenge of engineering socially intelligent personal agents that are privacy-aware. We propose Arnor, a method, including a metamodel based on social constructs. Arnor incorporates social norms and goes beyond existing agent-oriented software engineering (AOSE) methods by systematically capturing how a personal agent’s actions influence the social experience it delivers. We conduct two empirical studies to evaluate Arnor. First, via a multiphase developer study, we show that Arnor simplifies application development. Second, via simulation experiments, we show that Arnor provides improved privacy-preserving social experience to end users than personal agents engineered using a traditional AOSE method.

Nistor, Ligia, Kurilova, Darya, Balzer, Stephanie, Chung, Benjamin, Potanin, Alex, Aldrich, Jonathan.  2013.  Wyvern: A Simple, Typed, and Pure Object-Oriented Language. Workshop on Mechanisms for Specialization, Generalization, and Inheritance (MASPEGHI), 2013.

The simplest and purest practical object-oriented language designs
today are seen in dynamically-typed languages, such as Smalltalk
and Self. Static types, however, have potential benefits for productivity,
security, and reasoning about programs. In this paper, we describe
the design of Wyvern, a statically typed, pure object-oriented
language that attempts to retain much of the simplicity and expressiveness
of these iconic designs.
Our goals lead us to combine pure object-oriented and functional
abstractions in a simple, typed setting. We present a foundational
object-based language that we believe to be as close as
one can get to simple typed lambda calculus while keeping objectorientation.
We show how this foundational language can be translated
to the typed lambda calculus via standard encodings. We then
define a simple extension to this language that introduces classes
and show that classes are no more than sugar for the foundational
object-based language. Our future intention is to demonstrate that
modules and other object-oriented features can be added to our language
as not more than such syntactical extensions while keeping
the object-oriented core as pure as possible.
The design of Wyvern closely follows both historical and modern
ideas about the essence of object-orientation, suggesting a new
way to think about a minimal, practical, typed core language for