MURI Telecon 2005-07-13

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  1. Quick review of RFP
  2. Round robin: comments on RFP, interests, etc
  3. Wrap up and next steps

Round Robin


  • V&V is really messy and hard the way that it is currently done
  • Experience working with Boeing/OCP isn't encouraging
  • How do you make code for a distributed system in a straightforward way that is automatically checked, etc?
  • How do you know the way the controller is switched on/off is worked into the system?
  • Systems Eric can get his head around are much simpler; agents running a controller, switching based on messages, etc. Can put into formal setting and reason about it; not clear how to reason about the dynamics
  • Interested in figuring out how to build these sorts of systems using structured principles


  • Focus on basic science - create theoretical infrastructure that addresses all of the research concentration areas
  • Start with Prajna thesis - V&V of hybrid systems
  • Build this into the SoS framework (Pablo can elaborate)
  • Restrict the expressiveness of the languages (protocols, not systems). Restrict the kind of hacks people can do.
  • Have examples of distributed systems using protocol stacks - use this sort of an architecture
  • Think about the mathematics


  • Doing things bottom up (starting with code that someone has developed) is impossible
  • Start top down: what's the language for specification (temporal logic, some variant?)
  • What is the theory behind the specification
  • SoS + temporal logic
  • Add Gerard Holzman (JPL), Rajiv Joshi (JPL)?
  • Specification, theorem proving, etc
  • Try to stay out of things like CORBA and other large systems that people have built up
  • Use of probability: can we prove things things in a probabalistic manner?


  • Particularly interested in how we integrate discrete and continuous parts
  • One possibility is establishing a middle layer where we can assert things about the time evolution (certain things will transition in a period of time)
  • Barrier work of Steven could be a start; is there a way to integrate things in a tighter way?
  • Incorporate adversarial effort?
  • Erik: moving back and forth between writing continuous part using discrete language versus the other way
  • Common way of thinking about: polynomial representations for discrete problems. But these are extremely structured proofs.


  • Computing high order polynomial certificates as a uniform framework
  • Asynchronous execution
  • Need way to figure out to stitch together different methods
  • Propositional logic can be included in SoS; not clear how temporal logic can be included (limited subset is possible)


  • Possible themes:
    • Focus on fundamental work; stay away for trying to solve problems for today's systems. Simple systems OK, with an eye toward scaleability
    • Problem features: hybrid, distributed, stochastic, adversarial
    • Fundamental framework for reasoning about distributed computation for real-time, feedback systems
    • Top-down approach: think about a language for specifications that we can reason about. "Design for verifiability"
    • Think about whether we can incorporate probability in a formal way
    • Formulate a temporal logic that is amenable to proof techniques?
  • Application testbed?
    • Make use of the MVWT?
  • Should we add others to the team?
    • JPL? Holzman group on verification?
    • Boeing (through Sean Calahan)?
  • Timeline for discussions and writing
    • Weekly telecons, with a fixed set of goals and agenda
    • Start writing ~25 Jul (=> two weeks)
    • Pablo will be at Caltech starting ~25 Jul (Connections)
  • Homework
    • Put together set of 3-5 papers describing the basic ideas that we want to build on
      • CCL paper
      • V&V from Mani
      • SoS Barrier Certificates
      • NCBC: Prajna and Lincoln section
  • Send e-mail with thoughts to Richard