University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Computer Security Seminars > Names with interleaved scopes

Names with interleaved scopes

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Andreea Radu.

“Names” are a simple data structure: they can only be compared for equality and created afresh. However, their very simplicity leads to them having strong and also subtle properties. Nominal set theory, pioneered by Andy Pitts and Jamie Gabbay, gave over the last 15 years or so a solid mathematical foundation for the treatment of names. Whereas the mathematical treatment of names is focussed on syntax, where names play the key role of variables, I have been interested in the use of names in semantic contexts, where they are commonly used as resource handlers (pointers, file handlers, sockets, etc.). One key distinction between the two usages of names is that of scope. Syntactic scope is always well-nested but semantic scope (“lifetime”) does not need to be. This extra flexibility leads to some interesting mathematical questions. How is this related to security? Names occur all the time in security protocols, and if we want to make formal proofs about them, a good mathematical foundation is quite helpful. What I hope the audience will get from this talk is some increased awareness of the mathematical subtleties of something as simple as “names”. What I hope to get from giving this talk is suggestions of situations where dynamic, non-iterleaved scopes may appear in a security context.

This talk is part of the Computer Security Seminars series.

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