Monday, September 08, 2014

Report of TRENDS 2014 (Guest post by Ilaria Castellani and MohammadReza Mousavi)

Ilaria Castellani and MohammadReza Mousavi have kindly written this guest post reporting on TRENDS 2014, a satellite event of CONCUR 2014 organized by IFIP WG1.8 on Concurrency Theory. Enjoy it!

TRENDS 2014 is the third edition of the series of workshops organized by the IFIP Working Group 1.8 on Concurrency Theory. TRENDS traditionally comprises invited speeches by both promising young researchers and leading senior researchers to demonstrate the emerging trends in concurrency theory research. The workshop is followed by the business meeting of the working group, which is open to the public. This year's TRENDS was attended by 20 participants throughout the workshop and featured 4 excellent talks by the following first class speakers:
  1. Alexandra Silva gave an introduction to using co-algebras as a generic way of exploiting efficient algorithms in automata theory for minimization and equivalence checking of labelled transition systems (or different variants thereof) with respect to various notions of behavioural equivalence. In particular, she showed how Brzozowski's algorithm for minimization of finite automata can be used to minimize LTS's efficiently and also how Hopcroft and Karp's algorithm for checking language equivalence can be used to check equivalence of LTS's with respect to different notions of behavioural equivalence. She also presented some ideas about the application of learning algorithms for automata in the domain of concurrency theory. She concluded her talk by the following motto: Co-algebra is not only about semantics, but also about algorithms. Alexandra's slides are here.
  2. Simon Gay gave an overview of the history of session types and in particular remembered the legacy of the late Kohei Honda as the founding father of this field. He then pointed subsequent important developments in the field, such as the introduction of behavioural sub-typing by himself and the link to linear logic and the very interesting recent interpretation of the Curry-Howard isomorphism in the concurrency theory setting by Luís Caires, Frank Pfenning and associates. He also gave an overview of the future challenges in this field.
  3. Michele Bugliesi, who has recently been appointed as the Rector of the University of Venice, pinpointed security vulnerabilities in the current practice of authentication. Then, he presented the solutions devised by him and his associates through client-side protection of authentication cookies. The devised techniques were formally shown to guarantee security (provide authentication and integrity) on a formalization of the Firefox browser. The proof techniques use a noninterference-like notion, which exemplifies yet another application of concurrency theory.
  4. Stéphanie Delaune gave a presentation on the formal modelling and analysis of cryptographic protocols. She used a privacy issue in the old French electronic passport as a motivating example and showed how process algebraic formalisms, such as the applied pi-calculus, can be used in modelling the protocols used in such an e-passport (at an abstract level) and how behavioural equivalences (equipped with additional term equivalences on terms) can be used to verify these protocols. She pointed out several existing tools for this purpose, also developed within her group at ENS Cachan, and presented the challenges in her ongoing research.

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