The 2010 lecture was delivered by Dr Joël Ouaknine, Oxford University Computing Laboratory.
'Timing is Everything'
Our society is becoming increasingly reliant on computer systems; think of mobile phones, Sat Nav, the Internet, and so on. A modern car typically harbours tens to hundreds of microprocessors, themselves running several tens of million lines of code, controlling such critical components as fuel injection, airbags, and anti-lock braking systems. Many of these devices operate in the background, reacting in real-time to a complex environment, and subject to a wide array of functional and timing constraints.
A major modern scientific challenge is to devise effective methodologies for accurately modelling and analysing such real-time computer systems, in order to verify and guarantee that they function as they are intended to.
In this talk, I described some of the fundamental paradigms and algorithms for reasoning about real-time systems. Perhaps surprisingly, several basic questions of decidability and complexity turn out to be remarkably difficult, and a number of problems remain open after some two decades of work in the field. I presented, at a high level, some of the deep connections that are found between real-time verification and mathematical logic, automata theory, combinatorics, and graph theory.
Finally, I discussed how we expect to translate parts of the rich body of theoretical work in real-time systems into concrete engineering achievements, in the context of ongoing collaborations with industrial partners from the automotive and avionics sectors.