CS 7934 — Computer Systems Seminar, Fall 2010

Fridays, 2:00–3:00 PM, 3485 MEB

Organizer: Eric Eide


The fall 2010 offering of CS 7934 will cover a variety of systems topics, but with an eye toward three goals.

The first is to increase participants' understanding of systems approaches to security. Systems software—including operating systems, hypervisors, middleware, compilers, linkers/loaders, dynamic language interpreters, and Web browsers—plays an obvious, central, and ever-more critical role in implementing computer security. We will study recent research publications that present innovative, systems-based approaches to meeting the security needs of computer applications and computing platforms. We will investigate emerging technologies for security including hypervisors, sandboxing, and program analysis. We will also investigate the requirements for new classes of applications, e.g., Web-based and cloud-based systems. What threats are faced by the users and providers of modern applications, and how can those threats be mitigated through novel systems techniques? What does “cyber security” mean, anyway?

The second is to be a venue for student presentations. Every student participating in the seminar will be required to give at least one “formal” research presentation during the semester. Ideally these will be presentations of students' current work, but other topics are also possible.

The third is to stay abreast of papers from recent or imminent top-tier systems conferences: e.g., SOSP, OSDI, NSDI, SIGCOMM, and so on. Papers will be selected for their relevance to participants' research or upcoming Utah visitors.

CS 7934 is often called “the CSL seminar.” The name CSL is historic.

Mailing list

To get on the class mailing list, use Mailman to subscribe to csl-sem.


Although the course is listed as “variable credit,” the course is only available for one (1) credit in most circumstances. If you want to take the course for more than one credit, you will need to get approval from the instructor.

Those taking the course for credit must read all of the papers, submit a short summary of each paper prior to class (PDF, Postscript, LaTeX), participate in each discussion, and make at least one research presentation. We urge students to sign up for one credit if you're going to be attending anyway.


(You can check out what we did last semester here.)

Week Date Topic(s) Facilitator Paper(s)
1 8/27 Eide no meeting — organizational email
2 9/3 capabilities Eide Capsicum: Practical Capabilities for UNIX. Robert N. M. Watson et al. In USENIX Security '10, Aug. 2010.
3 9/10 software routing, GPUs Sun PacketShader: A GPU-Accelerated Software Router. Sangjin Han et al. In SIGCOMM '10, Aug.–Sep. 2010.
4 9/17 selective system replay Burtsev System Recovery Using Selective Re-execution. Taesoo Kim et al. In OSDI '10, Oct. 2010. To appear. (This is the conference submission version, not the final version.)
5 9/24 deterministic parallelism Sharma Deterministic Process Groups in dOS. Tom Bergan et al. In OSDI '10, Oct. 2010. To appear.

Efficient System-Enforced Deterministic Parallelism. Amittai Aviram et al. In OSDI '10, Oct. 2010. To appear. (This is the conference submission version, not the final version.)
6 10/1 auditable execution Lin Accountable Virtual Machines. Andreas Haeberlen et al. In OSDI '10, Oct. 2010. To appear.
7 10/8 archival storage; deduplication Pullakandam Venti: A New Approach to Archival Storage. Sean Quinlan and Sean Dorward. In FAST '02, Jan. 2002.
8 10/15 no meeting — University fall break
9 10/22 caching Chikkulapelly Transactional Consistency and Automatic Management in an Application Data Cache. Dan R. K. Ports et al. In OSDI '10, Oct. 2010.
10 10/29 trusted computing Sachdev TrustVisor: Efficient TCB Reduction and Attestation. Jonathan M. McCune et al. In IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, May 2010.
11 11/5 SFI Liang Adapting Software Fault Isolation to Contemporary CPU Architectures. David Sehr et al. In USENIX Security '10, Aug. 2010.

Background: Native Client: A Sandbox for Portable, Untrusted x86 Native Code. Bennet Yee et al. In 2009 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, May 2009.
12 11/12 OS structure; multicore Lin An Analysis of Linux Scalability to Many Cores. Silas Boyd-Wickizer et al. In OSDI '10, Oct. 2010.
13 11/19 data-race detection Jin Effective Data-Race Detection for the Kernel. John Erickson et al. In OSDI '10, Oct. 2010.
  11/24 wide-area services Ricci Optional meeting on Wed Nov 24 at 2:00 PM:

Mobitopolo: A Portable Infrastructure to Facilitate Flexible Deployment and Migration of Distributed Applications with Virtual Topologies. Richard Potter and Akihiro Nakao. In VISA '09, Aug. 2009.

Wide-Area Route Control for Distributed Services. Vytautas Valancius et al. In USENIX ATC '10, June 2010.
14 11/26 no meeting — Thanksgiving break
15 12/3 nested virtualization Kim The Turtles Project: Design and Implementation of Nested Virtualization. Muli Ben-Yehuda et al. In OSDI '10, Oct. 2010.
16 12/10 hash collisions Sharma Attacks on MD5 and SHA-1: Is This the “Sword of Damocles” for Electronic Commerce? Praveen Gauravaram et al. In AusCERT '06, May 2006.

Supplementary reading: MD5 Considered Harmful Today: Creating A Rogue CA Certificate. Alexander Sotirov et al. Dec. 2008.

Presentation slides: “Defeating SSL”: Impact of Hash Collisions on Cyber Security.

Potential Papers

Upcoming/recent OSDI, SIGCOMM, SOSP, NSDI, SIGMETRICS, SenSys, and similar conference proceedings are good sources of papers for discussion.