University of Minnesota
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Michael Whalen

Photo of Michael Whalen
Director of the Software Engineering Center
Director of Graduate Studies
Phone Number: 
612-624-5130
Office Location: 
Kenneth H Keller Hall room 6-254
Biography: 

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

RADA: A Tool for Reasoning about Algebraic Data Types with Abstractions

We present RADA, a portable, scalable tool for reasoning about formulas containing algebraic data types using catamorphism (fold) functions. It can work as a back-end for reasoning about recursive programs that manipulate algebraic types. RADA operates by successively unrolling catamorphisms and uses either CVC4 and Z3 as reasoning engines. We have used RADA for reasoning about functional implementations of complex data structures and to reason about guard applications that determine whether XML messages should be allowed to cross network security domains.

Efficient Test Coverage Measurement for MC/DC

Numerous activities require low-overhead monitoring of software applications, for example, run-time verification, test coverage measurement, and data collection. To support monitoring, current approaches usually involve extensive instrumentation of the software to be monitored, causing significant performance penalties and also requiring some means to ensure that the monitoring code will not cause incorrect behavior in the monitored application. To tackle this problem, we have explored a hardware-supported framework for monitoring and observation of software-intensive systems.

Observable Modified Condition/Decision Coverage

In many critical systems domains, test suite adequacy is currently measured using structural coverage metrics over the source code. Of particular interest is the modified condition/decision coverage (MC/DC) criterion required for, e.g., critical avionics systems. In previous investigations we have found that the efficacy of such test suites is highly dependent on the structure of the program under test and the choice of variables monitored by the oracle.

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