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Division Members Help Organize and Host 12th NASA Formal Methods Symposium
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Division Members Help Organize and Host 12th NASA Formal Methods Symposium

The 12th NASA Formal Methods Symposium (NFM 2020) was successfully run as a virtual event with a record number of registrations and very high participation. The main event took place May 12-14, 2020, with two affiliated workshops on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Safety and Cryptographic Proofs on May 11 and May 15.

NFM 2020 was organized by NASA Ames: Anastasia Mavridou and Dimitra Giannakopoulou (General Chairs), Ritchie Lee and Susmit Jha (Program Co-Chairs), and Hamza Bourbouh and Maxime Arthaud (Local Chairs). Guy Power handled registrations, and the National Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI) team, in particular Christine Clark, Alina Eskridge, and Michael Tsairides, handled the platforms that hosted the event.

BACKGROUND: The NASA Formal Methods Symposium is a forum that fosters collaboration between theoreticians and practitioners from NASA, academia, and industry, with the goal of identifying challenges and providing solutions towards achieving assurance for safety-critical systems. NFM is an annual event organized by the NFM Steering Committee, comprised of researchers spanning several NASA centers.

NFM2020 featured 6 keynote talks covering all aspects of safety-critical systems:

  • The Cloud - Byron Cook (Amazon Web Services and University College London)
  • Blockchain - David Dill (Facebook and Stanford University)
  • Transportation - Dana Schulze (National Transportation Safety Board)
  • Autonomy on the Ground, in the Air, and in Other Planets - Sanjit Seshia (UC Berkeley), Leonard Bouygues (Google Loon), and Vandi Verma (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Twenty-five research papers were presented in nine technical sessions. These papers were carefully selected from among 62 full paper submissions. Each paper received at least three reviews from the NFM Program Committee. Keynote speakers gave live talks. Paper authors recorded their talks and were available live to answer questions. Finally, a special session was presented by the joint SAE International G-34/EURopean Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE) WG-114 Committee, committed to producing a means of compliance for the certification of safety-critical AI systems for both airborne and ground/Air Traffic Control (ATC) platforms.

We were overwhelmed by the interest of the community in the virtual event. There were a total of 858 registrations from 48 different countries. Participation over the three days of the Symposium ranged between 148 -288 active participants. The COVID-19 virus created a real challenge for the Organizing and Steering Committee. Making the event virtual not only turned out to be the right decision, but it also gave us the opportunity to discover the interest in formal methods from across the world. Even though a physical conference has a lot of benefits, the community appreciated being able to attend talks of interest without having to commit to travel, resulting in much higher attendance and greater participation than previous NFM events. We hope that future NFMs will consider supporting virtual, in addition to physical, attendance.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Airspace Operations and Safety Program (AOSP), Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD)

TEAM: Maxime Arthaud, Hamza Bourbouh, Christine Clark, Alina Eskridge, Dimitra Giannakopoulou, Susmit Jha, Ritchie Lee, Michael Lowry, Anastasia Mavridou, Guy Power, and Michael Tsairides

POINT OF CONTACT: Dimitra Giannakopoulou,; Ritchie Lee,; Anastasia Mavridou,

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