One more month gone of this unusual 2020, and with it comes another Research Software Community Newsletter. Preparing it from Spain, still working (very) remotely, has made me realise how fast the last few months have passed, how monotonous the daily routine could become during lockdown and how good a change in scenery can be for your mental health and productivity. So do yourself a favour: learn something new, read through all the exciting material we have around… and take some time off afterwards! Happy August!
Our Research Software of the Month for July is Just Fuzz it Solver (JFS), a project led by a team from Imperial’s Department of Computing. JFS is an experimental partial satisfiability modulo theories (SMT) solver that aims to prove satisfiability of floating-point and bit-vector formulae by exploiting recent advances in coverage-guided mutation-based fuzzing. The solver turns an input formula into a C++ program whose inputs correspond to variables of the formula, containing a special location that is reachable if and only if the program is executed using an input that corresponds to a satisfying assignment to the formula. When coverage-guided mutation-based fuzzing is applied to the resulting program, the fuzzer will relentlessly try to synthesise an input that hits this special location - i.e., a satisfying assignment for the formula! The related paper shows that sometimes - especially for floating-point formulas - this approach can find solutions to SMT formulas that state-of-the-art solvers struggle with. A clear downside to the approach is that it cannot prove unsatisfiability of formulas.
RS Community coffee continues weekly via Zoom - check our Slack workspace for exact times and connection details.
The Research Computing Service clinics are running online every week. Questions are welcome from all members of the Imperial research community - from HPC to software engineering.
The Research Computing Service’s Research Computing Tips continue to be published weekly and there is now a list of topics. Please contact Mark Woodbridge (firstname.lastname@example.org) with suggestions for future entries. The latest have been:
That’s all for this month. Thanks to everyone who suggested links for this edition.
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This issue of the Research Software Community Newsletter was edited by Diego Alonso Álvarez. All previous newsletters are available in our online archive.