Todd Millstein, professor of computer science, recently won distinguished paper awards at three Association for Computing Machinery conferences: OOPSLA 2020 (Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications); PLDI 2020 (Programming Language Design and Implementation); and SIGCOMM 2020 (Special Interest Group on Data Communication). The ACM conferences’ top paper awards recognize groundbreaking research in advancing computing technology.

Millstein’s papers center on three separate concepts in the field of automated verification. He co-authored the papers with UCLA graduate students Steven Holtzen, Siva Kakarla and Saswat Padhi; fellow UCLA faculty Guy Van den Broeck and George Varghese; and collaborators from other organizations.

Presented at OOPSLA with Holtzen and Van den Broeck, the first paper received the conference’s distinguished paper award for advancing the state of the art in probabilistic programming. The paper shows a flexible approach to creating machine-learning applications, including a new technique that can support larger orders-of-magnitude programs than previous methods.

The second paper — presented at SIGCOMM with Kakarla, Varghese and colleagues from Microsoft — received the best student paper award. The authors detailed the verification of the internet domain name system, which translates human-readable internet URLs into system-required IP addresses. The paper outlined an approach that can automatically verify the accuracy of an organization’s DNS configuration in order to prevent websites and online services from becoming inaccessible due to small errors.

The third paper, presented at PLDI with Padhi and colleagues from Princeton University, received the conference’s distinguished paper award. Millstein and his co-authors introduced an algorithm to reduce the manual effort required of programmers to prove key program correctness.

In addition to his work in automated verification, Millstein, vice chair for graduate studies in the computer science department, also works in programming language design and concurrent programming. He regularly teaches CS30: Principles and Practices of Computing and CS231: Types and Programming Languages.