Verification games: Making software verification fun

September 9, 2013 - 16:00

Room 2020 / 2030

Fred Kaiser Building

2332 Main Mall, UBC | Directions here.

Program verification is the only way to be certain that a given piece of software is free of (certain types of) errors -- errors that could otherwise disrupt operations in the field. Labor costs have made formal verification, done by specially-trained engineers, too costly to apply beyond small, critical software components.

Our goal is to make verification more cost-effective by reducing the skill set required and increasing the pool of people capable of performing program verification. Our approach is to transform the verification task (a program and a goal property) into a visual puzzle task -- a game. The solution of the puzzle is then translated back into a proof of correctness. The puzzle is engaging and intuitive enough that ordinary people can, through game-play become experts.

This talk will present the design goals and choices for both the game that the player sees and for the underlying program analysis. It will conclude with implications to gaming, programming, and beyond.


Michael D. Ernst is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science & Engineering department at the University of Washington. Dr. Ernst was previously a tenured professor at MIT, and before that a researcher at Microsoft Research.


ECE Colloquium Series


Upcoming Speakers:

Sep. 23: Robert Wolkow, University of Alberta

Sep. 30: Ian Foster, University of Chicago

Oct. 7: Dragan Maksimovic, University of Colorado

Oct. 21: Jane Wang, University of British Columbia

Nov. 4: Matei Ripeanu, University of British Columbia

Nov. 18: Guy Dumont, University of British Columbia

Dec. 2: William M Wells III, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology


a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Electrical and Computer Engineering
2332 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z4
Tel +1.604.822.2872
Fax +1.604.822.5949

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright 2020 The University of British Columbia