Prof. Feng receives ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award!

By Natalia Diaz Amabilis, PR Assistant

UCSB’s Assistant Professor Yu Feng received the ACM Special Interest Group On Software Engineering (SIGSOFT) Distinguished Paper Award at the 35th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE'20). His awarded paper is titled "Summary-Based Symbolic Evaluation for Smart Contracts".

Smart contracts have shown many attractive use cases, and their number has skyrocketed, with over 65 million instances in 2020. Improving robustness of smart contracts is a pressing practical problem. But existing tools either aggressively over-approximate the execution of a smart contract and report warnings that do not correspond to feasible paths and therefore cannot be exploited, or they precisely enumerate concrete traces of a smart contract, so cannot scale to large programs with many paths. Together with his collaborators at the University of Washington, Dr. Feng proposes Solar, a system for automatic synthesis of adversarial contracts that exploit vulnerabilities in a victim smart contract. To make the synthesis tractable, they introduce a novel summary-based symbolic evaluation, which significantly reduces the number of instructions that the synthesizer needs to evaluate, without compromising the precision of the vulnerability query. Experiments demonstrate that Solar outperforms state-of-the-art smart contracts analyzers, in terms of running time and precision.

Yu Feng's research interests lie in the broad and cross-cutting fields of formal methods, programming languages, program synthesis, program verification, and program analysis. His research focuses on building robust systems for emerging domains such as data science, mobile systems, multi-party protocols, and blockchain.

Congratulations to Yu Feng for receiving this award for his valuable work!