CNRS Research Director
Schneider-INRIA Endowed Researcher Chair
Founder of Verimag Laboratory, and Director (1993-2006)
In this talk, I will discuss the evolution of Computer Science and in particular its shift of focus from algorithms and programs to systems. I will advocate for a coherent scientific foundation of system design and present a vision for its development in three work directions:
Marrying Physicality and Computation: Computation models ignore physical time and resources and are by their nature very different from analytic models used in physical systems engineering. In order to take into account interaction of computing systems with physical environments they must be enriched and extended with paradigms and methods from Electrical Engineering and Control Theory.
Component-based Construction: Complex systems are designed by assembling heterogeneous components. Heterogeneity has different sources including a large variety of interaction mechanisms, synchronous or asynchronous execution and different levels of abstraction. We need theoretical frameworks supporting meaningful and natural composition of heterogeneous components which is essential for tractable and productive system design.
Adaptivity: Complex systems must provide a service meeting given requirements in interaction with uncertain environments. It is impossible to predict at design time by case analysis all the potentially critical situations. Adaptivity is a means to enforce correctness in the presence of uncertainty by using control-based techniques. It encompasses a new and realistic vision for “intelligent systems” quite different from the “strong” vision of Artificial Intelligence.
I will conclude with general remarks about the nature of Computer Science as a scientific discipline on its own right and advocate for a deeper interaction and cross-fertilization with other more mature disciplines.
Dr. Sifakis was born in Heraklion, Crete, Greece. He received his Electrical Engineering Diploma from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, and the MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science from the University of Grenoble, France. Dr. Sifakis is currently a Research Director (Exceptional Class) with CNRS France, a position he has held since 1974. He also holds the INRIA-Schneider endowed industrial chair there since 2008. He was the Founder and Director of the VERIMAG Laboratory 1993-2006. He was Director of the Department of Graduate Studies in Computer Science, University of Grenoble, France, 1995-1999. Dr. Sifakis has been Scientific Director of the ARTIST European Network of Excellence on Embedded Systems Design since 2004, and a Founding Member and Member of the Steering Board of the ARTEMISIA industrial association on Embedded Systems. He has served extensively as consultant to industry and government and was co-founder of several companies.
He has received numerous awards including the 2007 ACM Turing Award and the 2008 Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit from France. He is a member of Academia Europea, of the French Academy of Sciences and of the French Academy of Engineering. He was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from EPFL and the University of Athens. He has given many plenary and keynote addresses in major computer science and engineering international conferences including SPIN, CAV, DAC, EmSoft, FMCAD and FOSE.
His main interests and research accomplishments include: modeling and verification of concurrent systems, verification of transition systems, foundations of model checking, temporal logics and concurrent systems specifications, modeling and verification of real-time systems, symbolic model checkers, symbolic synthesis of timed systems, compositional modeling and verification, modeling and formal methods for embedded systems design and verification. He has developed several software design systems that have become standard tools and are used extensively by industry in several of these areas and many application fields.