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Javier Camara, David Garlan, Gabriel Moreno, Bradley Schmerl.  2016.  Evaluating Trade-offs of Human Involvement in Self-adaptive Systems. Managing Trade-offs in Adaptable Software Architectures.

Software systems are increasingly called upon to autonomously manage their goals in changing contexts and environments, and under evolving requirements. In some circumstances, autonomous systems cannot be fully-automated but instead cooperate with human operators to maintain and adapt themselves. Furthermore, there are times when a choice should be made between doing a manual or automated repair. Involving operators in self-adaptation should itself be adaptive, and consider aspects such as the training, attention, and ability of operators. Not only do these aspects change from person to person, but they may change with the same person. These aspects make the choice of whether to involve humans non-obvious. Self-adaptive systems should trade-off whether to involve operators, taking these aspects into consideration along with other business qualities it is attempting to achieve. In this chapter, we identify the various roles that operators can perform in cooperating with self-adapting systems. We focus on humans as effectors-doing tasks which are difficult or infeasible to automate. We describe how we modified our self-adaptive framework, Rainbow, to involve operators in this way, which involved choosing suitable human models and integrating them into the existing utility trade-off decision models of Rainbow. We use probabilistic modeling and quantitative verification to analyze the trade-offs of involving humans in adaptation, and complement our study with experiments to show how different business preferences and modalities of human involvement may result in different outcomes.

Eric Yuan, Naeem Esfahani, Sam Malek.  2014.  Automated Mining of Software Component Interactions for Self-Adaptation. SEAMS 2014 Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Software Engineering for Adaptive and Self-Managing Systems. :27-36.

A self-adaptive 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. Our preliminary evaluation of the approach against an Emergency Deployment System shows that the associations mining model can be used to effectively address a variety of adaptation needs, including (1) safely applying dynamic changes to a running software system without creating inconsistencies, (2) identifying potentially malicious (abnormal) behavior for self-protection, and (3) our ongoing research on improving deployment of software components in a distributed setting for performance self-optimization.

Bradley Schmerl, Javier Camara, Jeffrey Gennari, David Garlan, Paulo Casanova, Gabriel Moreno, Thomas Glazier, Jeffrey Barnes.  2014.  Architecture-Based Self-Protection: Composing and Reasoning about Denial-of-Service Mitigations. HotSoS '14 Proceedings of the 2014 Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security.

Security features are often hardwired into software applications, making it difficult to adapt security responses to reflect changes in runtime context and new attacks. In prior work, we proposed the idea of architecture-based self-protection as a way of separating adaptation logic from application logic and providing a global perspective for reasoning about security adaptations in the context of other business goals. In this paper, we present an approach, based on this idea, for combating denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. Our approach allows DoS-related tactics to be composed into more sophisticated mitigation strategies that encapsulate possible responses to a security problem. Then, utility-based reasoning can be used to consider different business contexts and qualities. We describe how this approach forms the underpinnings of a scientific approach to self-protection, allowing us to reason about how to make the best choice of mitigation at runtime. Moreover, we also show how formal analysis can be used to determine whether the mitigations cover the range of conditions the system is likely to encounter, and the effect of mitigations on other quality attributes of the system. We evaluate the approach using the Rainbow self-adaptive framework and show how Rainbow chooses DoS mitigation tactics that are sensitive to different business contexts.

Bradley Schmerl, Jeffrey Gennari, Javier Camara, David Garlan.  2016.  Raindroid - A System for Run-time Mitigation of Android Intent Vulnerabilities. HotSos '16 Proceedings of the Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security.

Modern frameworks are required to be extendable as well as secure. However, these two qualities are often at odds. In this poster we describe an approach that uses a combination of static analysis and run-time management, based on software architecture models, that can improve security while maintaining framework extendability. We implement a prototype of the approach for the Android platform. Static analysis identifies the architecture and communication patterns among the collection of apps on an Android device and which communications might be vulnerable to attack. Run-time mechanisms monitor these potentially vulnerable communication patterns, and adapt the system to either deny them, request explicit approval from the user, or allow them.