SOURCE: Open Kernel Labs

November 17, 2009 06:01 ET

Open Kernel Labs Paper on Formal Verification Wins Top Prize at Prestigious SOSP Conference

Recognized as "Best Paper" at the Twenty-Second ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - November 17, 2009) - Open Kernel Labs, Inc. (OK Labs), the leading global provider of embedded virtualization software for mobile phones and broadband Internet devices, today announced that CTO Dr. Gernot Heiser won the top prize at the twenty-second ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP). A coveted Best Paper award went to Heiser and his colleagues at NICTA and the University of New South Wales-Australia (UNSW) for their technical paper and presentation, "seL4: Formal Verification of an OS Kernel."

The biennial SOSP conference is the world's premier forum for researchers, developers, programmers, vendors, and teachers of operating system technology, and is one of the most prestigious publication venues in all of computer science. Academic and industrial participants present research papers that cover the full range of theory and practice. SOSP 2009 took place in October of this year in Big Sky, Montana.

The winning paper, authored by Heiser, and his NICTA colleagues, Gerwin Klein, Kevin Elphinstone and team, describes ground-breaking proof of functional correctness of the seL4 microkernel, based on technology built and deployed by NICTA and OK Labs. The success of the project was publicly announced in August 2009, and centered on the need to assure extremely high levels of reliability and security. By mathematically proving the correctness of underlying kernel functioning, NICTA and OK Labs paved the way for validating and deploying mobile virtualization under certification and security regimes like Common Criteria for business-critical and national-security applications in mobile telephony, business intelligence, and mobile financial transactions.

The formal verification involved NICTA, OK Labs staff, researchers from UNSW, and other research institutions. Moreover, as commercialization partner for NICTA, OK Labs will bring the results of the project to market in future generations of mobile virtualization products.

"It is an enormous honor to receive a Best Paper Award from such a competitive conference," said Gernot Heiser, CTO, OK Labs. "It indicates recognition by the OS community that our formal verification technology presents a landmark in operating systems research, and an anticipation of massive real-world impact."

"I'm delighted that our work has been recognized by such a selective and critical audience," said Dr Gerwin Klein, NICTA Principal Researcher. "This world-first verification of the seL4 microkernel took twelve people four years of research. We hope that the result will help to significantly reduce the effort to bring formal verification to the marketplace in the future and make the strong assurance of formal proof more commonplace."

Heiser also co-authored another paper presented at SOSP, "Automatic device driver synthesis with Termite," which describes a revolutionary approach to device-driver generation that ensures driver correctness by construction, with the potential to completely remove the dominant source of bugs from operating systems.

Both papers can be downloaded here:

About SOSP

The ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP) is a conference that brings together developers and researchers from academia and industry to advance the science and technology in operating systems. The conference is sponsored by the ACM Special Interest Group on Operating Systems (SIGOPS). It has been held once every two years since 1967, when the first SOSP conference took place in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

About Open Kernel Labs

Open Kernel Labs is the global leader in open source virtualization software for mobile devices, consumer electronics, and embedded systems. Backed by the largest, independent team of microkernel developers, the OKL4 Microvisor is deployed on more than 500 million mobile phones worldwide. Semiconductor suppliers, handset OEMs, and mobile network operators depend on OK Labs to deliver high performance solutions that decrease BOM cost, reduce complexity, and speed time-to-market.

For information on the OK Community, please visit the Community Portal at Participants can join the Developer's Mailing List at


National ICT Australia Ltd (NICTA), Australia's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence, develops technologies to meet the current and future needs of the community in fields leading to economic, social, and environmental benefits for Australia. Founded in 2002, NICTA has five laboratories around the country, and has created four new companies, developed a substantial technology portfolio, and continues to supply new talent to the ICT industry through PhD programs.

NICTA is funded by the Australian Government as represented by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and the Australian Research Council through the ICT Centre of Excellence program. It was established and is supported by its members: The Australian Capital Territory Government; The Australian National University; NSW Department of State and Regional Development; and The University of New South Wales. NICTA's partners include: the University of Sydney; University of Melbourne; the Victorian Government; the Queensland Government; Griffith University; Queensland University of Technology; and The University of Queensland.

Open Kernel Labs, OK Labs and Secure HyperCell™ Technology are trademarks or registered trademarks of Open Kernel Labs or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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