Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, Kaiserslautern site

Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, Kaiserslautern site

Computer systems permeate our daily life. In addition to conventional desktop computing and Internet applications, sophisticated software systems can be found in almost all technical devices, from mobile phones to traffic lights. They support the operations of banks, hospitals, universities and public authorities, to name just a few. The Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, located in Kaiserslauten and Saarbrücken, carries out basic research that is dedicated to language design, analysis, modelling, implementation and evaluation of software systems, among other applications. Particular areas of interest include programming systems, the comparison of distributed and networked systems and of embedded and autonomous systems, as well as aspects of the formal modelling, analysis, security and stability of cutting-edge software engineering.


Paul-Ehrlich-Straße 26
67663 Kaiserslautern
Phone: +49 631 9303-0
Fax: +49 631 9303-6019

PhD opportunities

This institute has an International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS):
IMPRS for Computer Science

In addition, there is the possibility of individual doctoral research. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

Department Large Scale Internet Systems more
Department Rigorous Software Engineering more
Machines in dialogue
Rupak Majumdar, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Kaiserslautern, develops mathematical methods for ensuring the reliability of networked systems. more

Machines in Dialog

4/2014 Material & Technology
Cyber-physical systems are in strong demand for their ability to increase road traffic safety and optimize electricity consumption from renewable sources. They link vehicles to sensors that monitor traffic and order the car to brake if a dangerous situation arises, for example. Or they distribute electricity from multiple power plants to consumers as efficiently as possible. Rupak Majumdar, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Kaiserslautern, develops mathematical methods for ensuring the reliability of these networked systems.

The Data Cloak

Material & Technology
Data is the raw material of the modern information society. All too often, however, companies that require comprehensive data analyses risk breaching data protection guidelines. Paul Francis, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Kaiserslautern, seeks to strike a balance between these conflicting interests. His company, Aircloak, plays an important role in this endeavor.

On Time – For Sure

Material & Technology
When a computer takes forever to load a website, it may be annoying, but it is nothing more serious than that. If, however, the electronics in a car or a plane don’t process commands exactly when they are supposed to, the consequences can be fatal. Björn Brandenburg and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Kaiserslautern and Saarbrücken study how to construct real-time systems in such a way that it can be proven that they always react on time.
No job offers available
The Web has become a vast repository of information and knowledge about a wide range of topics and real-world events. There are a growing number of sites, ranging from question answering sites and online communities to microblogs, where knowledge is crowdsourced and it also the crowd who curates the contributed knowledge.  These sites also contain an ever-growing number of unverified stories of questionable origin. There is a growing need for computational methods to understand, predict and enhance the creation, consumption and dissemination of trustworthy knowledge. more
Social computing systems refer to an emerging class of societal-scale human-computer systems. Examples include social networking sites like Facebook and Google Plus, blogging and microblogging sites like Twitter and LiveJournal, anonymous social media sites like Whisper and 4chan, content sharing sites like YouTube and Instagram, social bookmarking sites like Reddit and Pinterest, crowdsourced opinion sites like Yelp and eBay seller ratings, and social peer production sites like Wikipedia and Amazon's Mechanical Turk. more

Towards a “structural analysis” for the computer age

2015 Brandenburg, Björn B.
Computer Science
Computers permeate all modern technologies: they monitor, they control, they decide. If everything goes as planned, they keep cars on the road and unmanned aerial vehicles in the air. But what happens if something goes wrong? What if the ever-present computers, so called cyber-physical systems, are erroneous? To ensure that future technologies remain safe and trustworthy despite the pervasive use of embedded computers, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems develop the foundations for provably correct cyber-physical systems. more

System robustness through replication

2014 Clement, Allen
Computer Science
Computer systems mediate many aspects of modern life, from the smart phones used to access websites, to the services hosted by those websites, to the computer systems managing core infrastructures. These systems compose of hundreds, even thousands, of computers that work together to provide services upon which we rely on a daily basis. Ensuring that these services are reliable—both correct and available—is a fundamental challenge for distributed systems research. Replication is a tool that can be used to ensure both correct behavior and availability. more
JavaScript is a programming language interpreted by all major web browsers. Owing to its widespread use, rich interfaces and somewhat lax protections, JavaScript is often exploited for attacks that breach the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive data in the browser - passwords, credit card numbers, cookies, etc. We report recent work on protecting JavaScript with information flow analysis, a technique that tracks data as it flows through an executing program. Our implementation is backed by a theoretical model and incurs only moderate performance overhead. more
Cyber-physical systems are computer systems that interact with the physical world. Examples of such systems are autonomous cars, robots, medical devices, etc. These systems contain embedded software and hardware components that access physical data through sensors, compute and communicate, and affect the physical system through actuators. While they can enable many beneficial applications, their design presents many challenges because of their complexity and safety requirements. We describe some major challenges in developing high-assurance cyber-physical systems in a cost-effective manner. more

Toward the compositional verification of realistic compilers

2012 Dreyer, Derek; Vafeiadis, Viktor
Computer Science
The field of software verification offers a rigorous methodology for specifying formally what programs are supposed to do, and for proving formally that they adhere to their specifications. The CompCert project, led by Xavier Leroy at INRIA, has demonstrated the feasibility of a particularly important application of this methodology, namely the verification of realistic optimizing compilers. However, several challenges remain in order to build verified compilers that support modular software development and multicore architectures. more

You’re a single white male, age 20 to 30, living in Boston.  Who cares?

2011 Francis, Paul
Computer Science Social and Behavioural Sciences
Demographic targeting of Internet advertising leads to privacy violations. Our research team discovered for instance that Facebook advertisers can learn that users are gay, even when that information is marked as private by the users. We propose that demographic targeting, while valuable in “one-way” media like television and newspaper, is unneces­sary for the Internet. Instead, advertisers can directly target user interests, thus avoiding privacy violations. more

An Economically Viable, Privacy Preserving Online-Advertising System

2010 Francis, Paul; Ohlmann, Michael
Computer Science
Online advertising is a major economic force in the Internet today. Current deployments, however, ignore data privacy issues. Max Planck Institute for Software Systems is working on a distributed online advertising system called Privad. Privad ensures data privacy while still being economically viable for the parties involved in online advertising. We have implemented a prototype of Privad and deployed it on a small scale. In the next step we are working towards a large-scale live experiment. more
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