I am a Principal Researcher in the RiSE group at Microsoft Research Redmond. My research focuses on advancing the theory and practice of software verification, i.e. showing with mathematical certainty that a critical piece of code exhibits the intended behavior. This is important for the software industry (e.g. cryptography), but also for society at large (e.g. the law).
My joint work (with many wonderful collaborators!) has received the Internet Defense Prize, and our code has made it into the Linux kernel, the Python programming language, and the Firefox web browser, among others. My research on verified cryptography was featured in Quanta Magazine and IEEE Computer Magazine; my research on computational law appeared in Communications of the ACM.
Rust verification (2022-). The future of verification lies with the Rust programming language. Aeneas is a new verification frontend that allows the programmer to verify safe Rust code via a functional translation. See the paper intro for a manifesto.
Verified Protocol Stacks (2019-). Security protocols are pervasive in modern communication software, yet true end-to-end verification results for real-world protocols remain elusive. New developments:
- Noise*, a protocol compiler, proven correct and secure once and for all – we generate 59 protocol stacks “for free”, complete with state machine and peer management, in C.
- MLS*, a hybrid JS/WebAssembly implementation of the MLS protocol with security proofs.
- Signal*, a provably secure implementation of the Signal protocol, including compilation the Web via WebAssembly.
The Low* toolchain (2016-2022) compiles F* programs to C. Code written in Low* has been integrated into Windows, Firefox, mbedTLS, and the Tezos blockchain, among others. I co-lead several verified software libraries which use Low*, such as:
- EverCrypt, a complete cryptographic library that offers abstraction, multiplexing, agility and CPU auto-detection, verified in F*, compiled to C and assembly
- HACL*, a collection of verified cryptographic algorithms, verified in F*, compiled to C
- EverQUIC, a verified implementation of the QUIC record layer, complete with a proof of cryptographic security
The Low* strand of work is gradually transitioning towards industrial support & impact. I advise Cryspen, a startup that provides commercial support for HACL* and other projects.
Formal Computational Law (2020-) I study how the tools & techniques of formal methods and PL can shed light on some thorny corners of the law. See Catala, and see Talks for a recent overview of this research program.
Open-source (2009-). In my spare time, I maintain several open-source projects, including a Thunderbird addon that is now the 4th most-used addon with 200,000 users.
- Théophile Wallez (2021-), co-advised with Karthik Bhargavan at INRIA
- Son Ho (2020-), co-advised with Karthik Bhargavan at INRIA
- Denis Merigoux (2018-2021), co-advised with Karthik Bhargavan at INRIA, Gilles Kahn PhD Award. Denis is now a junior researcher at INRIA.
- 2023/08/09: thrilled to receive the Internet Defense Prize and a Distinguished Paper Award at Usenix Security!
- 2023/07/06: our paper on the proof engineering powering HACL*, accepted at ICFP’23 (preprint)
- 2023/05/09: I will be giving a keynote at HCSS’23.
- 2023/03/12: thrilled to participate in this year’s POPL programm committee
- 2023/02/06: verified cryptography from HACL* in Python!
- 2023/02/03: excited to be on a panel, for “What’s the Big Idea: Law and Our Technological Future”
- 2023/01/09: my student Denis Merigoux won the Gilles Kahn PhD award. Congratulations, Denis!
- 2022/10/18: New edition of ProLaLa, which I am once again co-organizing. Send us your finest and freshest work!
- 2022/01/30: CACM publishes an article about computational law which features Catala prominently
Recent blog entries
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