3 Netidee Grants for Young Researchers at TU Wien Informatics
Sophie Rain, Sarah Sallinger, and Alexander Falzberger’s outstanding theses are funded by the 2022 open-source campaign.
netidee is one of Austria’s major funding campaigns for projects and theses on the internet. Up to 50,000 euros in funding is available for the implementation of open-source projects. The grants are endowed with 5,000 euros for diploma or master theses and 10,000 euros for dissertations.
Sophie Rain and Sarah Sallinger, both PreDoc Researchers at the Research Unit Formal Methods in Systems Engineering, and Alexander Falzberger, Master Student at the Research Unit for Data Science, convinced the jury with their exceptional theses and won two dissertations and one master thesis grant.
About the Researchers
Sophie Rain: Automated Verification of Game-Theoretic Security Properties for Decentralized Protocols
Sophie Rain aims to develop an automated framework to formally prove off-chain protocols, a certain type of blockchain protocol secure from a game-theoretical perspective. Thereby, she ensures that honest blockchain users cannot be harmed and that rational users behave honestly. Her research goal is to find security risks in existing protocols or prove their absence. Using only “secure” protocols, honest users have a guarantee that even in the presence of rational or Byzantine adversaries their assets will not be compromised. Further, rational adversaries are guaranteed to act honestly, as this is the behavior that yields the highest payoff.
Sarah Sallinger: Automated Diagnosis of Heisenbugs
Society is increasingly dependent on complex computer systems, reflected in current trends such as IoT (Internet of Things), and cloud computing. Bugs in these systems impose threats to security and safety and can cause immense financial losses. Even after detecting a bug, it is challenging to understand the interactions of parameters that caused it. Bugs can be due to issues in single components as well as faulty synchronization between components in distributed and networked systems. A particularly challenging class of bugs that fail to manifest or manifest differently during debugging are so-called “Heisenbugs”. Sallinger’s thesis proposes automated diagnosis techniques for Heisenbugs in order to provide guidance for bug fixing. She introduces a formalization of Heisenbugs by means of a hyperproperty, making them amenable to automated detection techniques, and further develops a novel hyperproperty-based causality framework and a corresponding tool for explaining the origin of Heisenbugs.
Alexander Falzberger: Energy-efficient IoT by Continual Learning for Data Reduction in Wireless Sensor Networks
Today, the Internet of Things (IoT) is hardly a term reserved for experts. The number of IoT devices constantly increases and thus the resulting network traffic. Network bandwidth is a valuable resource: whether as a public good or because wireless communication incurs significant energy consumption for IoT devices. In many applications, machine learning (ML) models can be used to reduce communication through data prediction. However, data distributions can change over time, and ML models must adapt to maintain performance. Continual learning is an emerging research area aiming at long-term ML deployment scenarios. Still, model training and deployment are expensive and require a non-trivial cost-performance trade-off. Alexander Falzberger examines the scenario of continual learning for data reduction in wireless sensor networks in detail. In his thesis, extensive simulations show the effects of parameter configurations on performance and energy consumption in various application scenarios.
netidee is Austria’s major open-source Internet promotion campaign, organized and financed by the Internet Foundation. The Internet Foundation was founded by the Austrian Internet Provider Association (ISPA). It owns the Austrian domain registry nic.at GmbH, tldbox GmbH, which is active in the field of new gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains), as well as ipcom GmbH, which operates and offers RCodeZero, an anycast service. The funding for netidee is acquired through the revenues of these activities. By supporting projects and theses in informatics, the Internet Foundation promotes innovation and social responsibility in and for the Internet.