I. Description of VUB/SOFT
The Software Languages Lab of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB/SOFT) originates from the 2009 merger of the Programming Technology Lab with the Systems and Software Engineering Lab, each founded in 1987.
The Software Languages Lab is currently headed by Prof. Dr. Theo D’Hondt, Prof. Dr. Viviane Jonckers, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang De Meuter, Prof. Dr. Elisa Gonzalez Boix, and Prof. Dr. Coen De Roover. Broadly speaking, the lab is active in the design, implementation and application of better languages to support the software engineering life cycle. This includes programming languages, formal languages, meta languages, modeling languages, etc.
The Software Languages Lab covers all themes in the corresponding research spectrum, including:
- design of languages (e.g., support for advanced modularity, distribution, etc.)
- efficient implementation of languages (e.g., virtual machines, parallel execution, etc.)
- application domains of languages (e.g., cloud-based and mobile software, meta-level programming, etc.)
- tool support for languages (e.g., bug detection tools, refactoring tools, etc.)
- formal study of languages (e.g., type systems, static analysis, etc.)
Over the years, VUB/SOFT has grown to an internationally acclaimed research group with expertise in programming language design and software engineering. Testament to this expertise is its track record of successful fundamental (FWO), strategic basic (IWT-SBO and Innoviris) and European research funding. Over 40 PhDs and a multitude of high-end publications at international conferences and in international journals have resulted. The team itself has organized multiple conferences such as AOSD and ECOOP in the past. It has also active collaborations with other universities and research labs; within Belgium and in France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and several Latin-American countries.
II. Key persons in the project
Prof. Dr. Elisa Gonzalez Boix is a full-time professor at the Software Languages Lab (SOFT) of the VUB. She has expertise in the design and application of meta-level interfaces for distributed programming languages and software tools like debuggers and dynamic program analysis tooling. She has published over 40 peer-reviewed papers in top conferences and internationally renowned journals, and regularly serves on PC of top conferences such as OOPSLA 2017, DLS 2016, 2017 and COORDINATION 2019. She has also chaired events like Onward! 2018 Papers conference co-located at SPLASH 2018, and co-organized several international workshops including the Meta-Programming Techniques and Reflection series of workshops since its first edition at SPLASH 2016.
Prof. Dr. Coen De Roover is a full-time professor at the Software Languages Lab (SOFT) of the VUB. The central theme of his research is the design of static program analyses, and their application to problems in software quality such as vulnerability detection. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in the domain, and is actively involved in several collaborative research projects of a fundamental, strategic, or applied nature. He frequently serves on the program committee for international conferences such as MSR, ICSME, SANER, VISSOFT and SCAM. He also founded and regularly co-organizes the “Programming Technology for the Future Web” (ProWeb) workshop series, and is a member of the steering committee of the “Seminar Series on Advanced Techniques & Tools for Software Evolution” (SATToSE).
III. Contributions to the project
VUB/SOFT contributed to WP2, which concerns the investigation of programming technology that can be applied at a sustainable effort to safeguard application-specific security concerns. VUB/SOFT. More specifically, VUB/SOFT created a language for specifying application-specific security policies and developed techniques and tools for statically (before running the program) and dynamically (while running the program) analyzing web and cloud applications to detect whether these security policies are violated or not.
1. Policy Specification language and dynamic enforcement
2. Static verification of security policies
3. A hybrid (static/dynamic) approach for optimizing policy enforcement