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Christian Skalka, Research Project Details

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Language Design for Embedded Systems

Embedded systems technology such as wireless sensor networks (WSNs) provides a rich array of distributed functionality at extremely light weight, low cost, and low power. Such a mix comes with the cost of severe computational resource constraints. Given these, it is a significant research challenge to provide features such as security in this setting.

We are exploring language-based approaches to application design and implementation in embedded systems. We argue that formal linguistic techniques such as staging can provide a degree of program efficiency and ease of design that will enable complex features to be more readily integrated into applications. The fundamental tool here is program specialization, and type specialization in particular. We are integrating these ideas into a nesC variant called nesT.

We are also studying the integration of access control security into nesC, for settings where multiple security domains comprise a single network. We have developed an extension of nesC called SpartanRPC that provides a secure RPC abstraction incorporating symmetric key cryptography based authorization. An implementation has displayed tractable performance in benchmarks.

This is joint work with Scott Smith, Peter Chapin, and Y. David Liu.

Christian Skalka's work on this project is supported by a DoD YIP grant through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

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