University of Minnesota
Software Engineering Center

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Michael Whalen

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Director of the Software Engineering Center
Director of Graduate Studies
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Office Location: 
Kenneth H Keller Hall room 6-254

Dr. Michael Whalen is the Program Director at the University of Minnesota Software Engineering Center. He has 15 years experience in software development and analysis, including 10 years experience in Model-Based Development & safety-critical systems. Dr. Whalen has developed simulation, translation, testing, and formal analysis tools for Model-Based Development languages including Simulink, Stateflow, Lustre, and RSML-e. He has led successful formal verification projects on large industrial avionics models, including displays (Rockwell-Collins ADGS-2100 Window Manager), redundancy management and control allocation (AFRL CerTA FCS program) and autoland (AFRL CerTA CPD program). Dr. Whalen was the lead developer of the Rockwell-Collins Gryphon tool suite, which can be used for compilation, test-case generation, and formal analysis of Simulink/Stateflow models. This tool suite has been used both for academic research and industrial verification projects.

Dr. Whalen is a frequent speaker and author on the use of formal methods, with 10 invited presentations, five journal publications, one book chapter, 19 conference papers, and 7 contractor and technical reports published. His PhD dissertation involved using higher-order abstract syntax as a basis for a provably-correct code generation tool from the RSML-e specification language into a subset of C. His interests include novel uses of model checking, test generation, theorem proving, and random search simulation tools to reduce the cost and manual effort required for systems and software validation for critical systems.

Recent Publications

Efficient Observability-based Test Generation by Dynamic Symbolic Execution

Structural coverage metrics have been widely used to measure test suite adequacy as well as to generate test cases. In previous investigations, we have found that the fault-finding effectiveness of tests satisfying structural coverage criteria is highly dependent on program syntax – even if the faulty code is exercised, its effect may not be observable at the output. To address these problems, observability-based coverage metrics have been defined.

Design Considerations for Modeling Modes in Cyber–Physical Systems

Safety critical systems such as cruise control in automotive systems and variable rate bolus in medical device infusion pumps introduce complexity and reduce the flexibility of incremental code modifications. This paper proposes a generic pattern to structure the mode logic such that additions, modifications, and removal of behaviors could be done in a quick and localized fashion without losing model integrity.

Hierarchical Multi-Formalism Proofs of Cyber-Physical Systems

To manage design complexity and provide verification tractability, models of complex cyber-physical systems are typically hierarchically organized into multiple abstraction layers. High-level analysis explores interactions of the system with its physical environment, while embedded software is developed separately based on derived requirements. This separation of lowlevel and high-level analysis also gives hope to scalability, because we are able to use tools that are appropriate for each level. When attempting to perform compositional reasoning in such an