Travis D. Breaux
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Institute for Software Research
School of Computer Science
5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
5103 Wean Hall
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We are now accepting applications for a new Ph.D. student to join our research group. There are many great programs to consider, for example:
The choice of which program to apply to depends on one's preferences with regard to your professional and intellectual interests, curriculum requirements, other student interests in the programs, etc.Current Students
Hanan Hibshi, Ph.D. Student in Computers, Organization and Society (COS). Ms. Hibshi is interested in usable security and privacy.
Jaspreet Bhatia, Ph.D. Student in Software Engineering. Ms. Bhatia is interested in applications of natural language processing and crowdsourcing to requirements engineering.
Daniel Smullen, Ph.D. Student in Software Engineering and co-advised with Dr. David Garlan. Mr. Smullen is interested in the intersection of requirements, architecture and policy-compliant systems.Alumni
Dr. Dave Gordon received the Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy for successfully defending his dissertation, entitled Without Borders: Addressing Legal Requirements in Multi-Jurisdictional IT Environments.Funded Research Projects
Formal Analysis and Specification of Privacy and Security Requirements
Summary: As companies increasingly share sensitive, personal information, software developers need tools to design privacy-preserving and security systems. This includes emerging social networking, e-commerce and location-based services that collect and combine information in new, unprecedented ways. We are developing formal methods that can be used to reason about conflicting requirements within and among privacy and security policies in a complex data supply chain where responsibility for the data is distributed across multiple actors. Technical challenges in this research area include the ability to ask and answer relevant questions about privacy and security in ways that scale with specifications of large systems. The ability to support ambiguity and uncertainty in these specifications enables analysis and consideration of system design alternatives.
Multi-Jurisdictional Compliance for Distributed Software Systems
Summary: Increasingly, information systems are distributed across the physical and logical borders of nations, states and provinces. We see this trend emerging in mobile, social and cloud-based computing. The challenge for business analysts and software designers is to determine which set of requriements govern their systems as software and data move across these borders. This project aims to understand the "dynamics" of this multi-jurisdictional ecosystem to help analysts and designers develop legally compliant systems. The outcome of this research is empirically valid methods and tools that have been evaluated in real-world data.
Improving the (Re-)Usability of Requirements Knowledge
Summary: Our prior research shows that software developers employ considerable domain knowledge when translating regulations, policies and standards into system requirements [Breaux & Baumer, 2011]. Furthermore, security best practices are often neglected when designing large-scale retail and financial systems, leading to software failures and regulatory violations [Breaux, Anton, Boucher, Dorfman, 2008]. This project aims to adapt theory from cognitive psychology to develop an experimental framework and theory for expressing, selecting and applying requirements patterns.
For more information, please see our research website.
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