Increasing the Impact of PL Research
Michael Hicks is a Professor in the Computer Science department and UMIACS at the University of Maryland, where he co-directs the laboratory for Programming Languages research (PLUM); he is the former Director of the Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) and the Past Chair of ACM SIGPLAN.
His research focuses on using programming languages and analyses to improve the security, reliability, and availability of software. He is perhaps best known for his work exploring dynamic software updating, a technique with which software can be updated without shutting it down. He has explored the design of new programming languages and analysis tools for helping programmers find bugs and software vulnerabilities, and for identifying suspicious or incorrect program executions. He was worked has combined ideas from PL and cryptography, e.g., to ensure privacy preserving computations. He also leads the development of a new security-oriented programming contest, “build-it, break-it, fix-it,” which has been offered to the public and to students in his Coursera class on software security. He has recently begun to explore programming languages for quantum computation.