Verimag Lab founder to speak at engineering school Jan. 20

The founder of Verimag Laboratory in Grenoble, France, will deliver Vanderbilt University School of Engineering’s John R. and Donna S. Hall Engineering Lecture Thursday, Jan. 20, at 4 p.m. in Jacobs Believed in Me Auditorium, Featheringill Hall. A reception will follow the lecture.

Joseph SifakisJoseph Sifakis is a researcher with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a co-winner of the 2007 A.M. Turing Award, which is recognized as the “Nobel Prize of computer science.” His lecture title is “The evolution of computer science – from computing machines to systems of systems.”

The gap is increasing between the technology for treating and transmitting information and our knowhow in computing systems engineering. As computer science shifts from a focus on algorithms to systems, a coherent scientific foundation of system design is essential. Sifakis will present a vision for its development  that includes three work directions:

  • Marrying Physicality and Computation: Computation models must be enriched and extended with paradigms and methods from systems science (such as dynamics and control) in order to take into account interaction of systems with their physical environment.
  • Component-based Construction: We need theoretical frameworks encompassing meaningful and natural composition of heterogeneous components, which is essential for tractable and cost-effective system design.
  • Guaranteeing Correctness: We need theory and methods for guaranteeing system correctness at design time. There are two complementary avenues. One is enforcing by control essential properties to adapt a system’s behaviour to uncertain and dynamically changing environments. The other is inferring global properties of composite systems from properties of their components.

Verimag is a leading research laboratory in the area of critical embedded systems. It developed the underlying theory and technology for the SCADE tool used by Airbus for the design and validation of its critical real-time systems, and it is becoming a de facto standard for aeronautics.

Sifakis holds the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA)-Schneider endowed industrial chair since 2008. He is the director of the CARNOT Institute “Intelligent Software and Systems” in Grenoble and he has broad experience with industry, including Airbus, Astrium, France Telecom and ST Microelectronics.

He is recognized for his pioneering work on both theoretical and practical aspects of Concurrent Systems Specification and Verification. He contributed to the emergence of the area of model-checking, currently the most widely-used method for the verification of industrial applications. Current research activities include component-based design, modeling, and analysis of real-time systems with focus on correct-by-construction techniques.

Sifakis is the recipient of the CNRS Silver Medal in 2001, Grand Officer of the French National Order of Merit, and a member of Academia European and of the French National Academy of Engineering. He studied electrical engineering at the Technical University of Athens and computer science at the University of Grenoble.