Oser Communications Group

Consumer Electronics Daily News Jan 10

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42 Frid a y, Ja n u a ry 1 0 , 2 0 1 4 SOFTWARE VERIFICATION THROUGH GAME PLAY A team of computer scientists from SRI International and University of California, Santa Cruz are making a game out of the difficult task of software verification by creating an entertaining and accessible way to help ensure software programs or systems are free from common vulnerabilities. The Xylem puzzle game, initially available on the iPad, helps find "loop invariants," an important element of formal software verification. Xylem is part of an SRI-led project called Chekofv (Crowd-sourced Help with Emergent Knowledge for Optimized Formal Verification), which is under the broader, multi-institutional Crowd Sourced Formal Verification (CSFV) program funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Xylem is one of five computer games in DARPA's CSFV program, all of which are freely accessible through the Verigames website: www.verigames.com. "The Xylem game leverages crowd-sourcing techniques to search for proofs that software programs are free of vulnerabilities," said John Murray, Ph.D., program director in the Computer Champ E-Prep (Cont'd. from p. 1) 10-in-1 or 8-in-1 Multitool varieties. The Survival Sidekick is a single device that provides consumers with simple-touse emergency tools when they need them: a distress light and magnetic base to serve as a beacon on the roadside; a seatbelt cutter and glass breaker for escaping a vehicle in an emergency; a mobile device charging outlet for emergency power to make that urgent phone call or send that message when the phone is running low; even a hand crank when all else fails, to give the Sidekick enough power to use the flashlight or give an emergency charge to a mobile device. Plus, an AM/FM/Weather radio for crucial emergency weather informaSenseData (Cont'd. from p. 1) Hernandez, an immigrant from Mexico who started his second company, Global Strategic Solutions, where we created an analytical platform to monitor the health of hardware systems. I was inspired because we could take a software we created to monitor any piece of hardware. CEDN: How do you define innovation? Why is it important to you? CH: Innovation to me means thinking outside the box, coming up with an idea that no one has accomplished. Innovation most of the time is overlooked, because in the end it's normally something simple. Custom Autosound (Cont'd. from p. 1) Custom Autosound Manufacturing, Inc. (CAM) offers two versions of The System. The System 1 incorporates a flat active aluminum subwoofer enclosure with a 150 watt Science Laboratory at SRI and principal investigator for the overall Chekofv project. "Pieces of software code are inserted into this engaging puzzle game, where players identify new plant species by spotting patterns in the plants' behavior on the island. The more people that play the game and correctly identify patterns, the more pieces of code are verified that they will work with the rest of the software program – it's like solving a gigantic jigsaw puzzle." To play Xylem, you don't need to know anything about software. The setting is a newly discovered island called Miraflora, and the player is a botanist sent to describe the many unusual flowering plants on the island. The intrepid explorer is provided with a "floraphase comparator" for examining the plants. Using this device, the player finds mathematical relationships among the features of flowers on the plants. As the community of players contributes solutions by finding and describing flowers, players can see how much of the island has been explored. "The numbers of flowers are actually values of variables inside software loops. By finding these relationships tion when other sources are off-line. It's all in a familiar flashlight form factor that's easy to stow and carry. Most importantly, the Survival Sidekick has been tested, so it's safe and reliable to use. The Champ E-Prep Survival Sidekick 10-in-1 Multitool with AM/FM/Weather radio will be available this April at a suggested retail price of $49.99. An 8-in-1 version of the Survival Sidekick is available now through www.qvc.com for a suggested retail price of $24.99. The Champ E-Prep line also offers help for emergencies that happen on a more individual level, such as when we find ourselves in an unfamiliar environment like an unlit street or a deserted parking lot after-hours. The Champ Innovation is important to me because it has created an opportunity for me, without having a college degree. It has given me the chance to create a product that could not only help consumers but also help our environment. Innovation helped me create my green technology autopro. CEDN: As a member of 1776, why do you think these types of startup communities are important? CH: Communities like 1776 are important because they can connect you to resources you would never have known about as a regular startup. For example, I would never have known about the CEA sustainability event if it wasn't for 1776. They can amplified 8-inch subwoofer and 2x50 watt amp for the satellite speakers. The System 3 is a passive (non-amplified) version with a ported wood enclosure holding 5-1/4-inch DVC woofer. This system can easily be powered directly from your radio. C o n su m e r Ele c tro n ic D a ily N e ws among flowers, you're actually describing the behavior of a loop," explained Jim Whitehead, Ph.D., professor and chair of computer science at UCSC's Baskin School of Engineering and the university's principal investigator for Xylem. Ordinarily, finding loop invariants in software programs is a challenging task that requires extensive training and insight. "It's a hard concept to get across even to computer science students," Whitehead said. "By turning it into a game, it becomes something that an untrained person with basic math skills can do." Currently, formal software verification is not used very much because relatively few people have the necessary training in verification techniques, according to Whitehead. "There aren't enough experts to formally verify all the kinds of software that are being developed," he said. "With more than 25 years of experience developing and using formal software verification tools, SRI understands how vitally important it is to assure that mission-critical computer systems are error-free, secure, and interoperable," said Patrick Lincoln, Ph.D., director of the Computer Science Laboratory at SRI International. "The Chekofv project is an aggressive research program that addresses these complex software prob- Bodyguard Battery™ Backup provides a built-in flashlight and your own personal alarm for just such situations, a 90db siren to scare off and to signal for help. The Bodyguard Battery offers support for smaller emergencies too, the sort many of us face every day: the red battery icon on your cell phone just when you need to make that call or send that message. The Champ Bodyguard Battery will be available this February for a suggested retail price of $34.99. For larger emergency and preparedness solutions, the Champ E-Prep line has the Survival Skybox™ portable AM/FM/Weather radio with alert capability and Bluetooth wireless speakers. It's not just for emergencies; Bluetooth wireless lets you enjoy music or other also give you help regarding what needs to be done, or talk to people who made it or even failed. Every company that is going to create a startup should be part of a community like this, or an accelerator. CEDN: What do you enjoy most about running a startup? What's the most challenging part? CH: I enjoy that every day brings something new, and makes our vision at SenseData clearer. It might be fixing a piece of code or talking business. The hardest part is, I'm not like most startup companies. I have a family, I'm married to my wife Christina, with three wonderful kids – Gia, Tony and Giuliana – but CAM takes pride in offering audio solutions for classics, customs and streetrods that don't require vehicle modification to get great sound. With over 100 years of combined experience and one million units sold since 1977, CAM is the originator and a lems in highly innovative ways. By making formal software verification more accessible and fun, a lot more people can help increase reliability and security for critical software around the world by playing the Xylem game." Heather Logas, the lead game designer for Xylem, said the project's software verification goals placed tight constraints on the possibilities for gameplay. "There are a lot of things that would make sense to do if we were just designing a game, but to meet the software verification goals we couldn't do them. So we had to come up with some creative solutions." The result of their efforts is an interesting puzzle game with a story line and interactive features to keep players engaged. A team of computer scientists and engineers from SRI's Information and Computing Sciences Division are providing the Chekofv software verification infrastructure for Xylem. About 20 faculty staff, graduate students, and undergraduates at UCSC's Center for Games and Playable Media were involved in creating the game. UCSC and SRI are also collaborating with researchers at CEA, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives) to develop tools for the formal verification process. audio from your smartphone. The Survival Skybox's suite of essential emergency preparedness tools means you'll be ready when the unexpected happens, with weather and news when other sources are down, mobile device charging, a built-in flashlight with emergency beacon, and time/date and temperature info on the Skybox digital display. Best of all, the Skybox's rechargeable battery can be recharged via AC adapter, or via the built-in solar panel or crankpowered dynamo if you're off the grid. The Survival Skybox will be available this April, for an MSRP of $99.99. For more information, visit booth 10404, go online at www.champ-eprep.com or email contact@champ-eprep.com. that also makes running a startup exciting, because I don't want to fail for them. CEDN: How can the U.S. government encourage innovators and startups? CH: They could help by giving incentives for startups, and more than just tax benefits, because then they don't want to grow, they just want to get acquired. If they could limit the risk for startups, then maybe more people would want to have their own. I think if they held contests instead of SBIRs and gave winning teams $100K, it would fulfill the life cycle faster with technologies. For more information, visit booth 74212. leader in classic car audio. CAM is an official radio licensee of GM and Ford and a member of SEMA, ARMO and NHRA. For more information, call 800-888-8637 or visit www.custom-autosound.com.

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