1 ISSUE 37 JULY 2014 INSIDE Queen s Birthday honours for Dr Terry Percival Sandra Mau s See-Out start-up NICTA s latest research showcased Local ICT ecosystem boosted by sale of NICTA cloud disaster recovery technology Cloud disaster recovery technology developed over four years at NICTA has been purchased by Unitrends, a US-based data protection company. Developed by NICTA start-up Yuruware, the acquisition sees Unitrends establishing an Australian R&D office which will house up to 10 staff some from Yuruware, along with new recruits with potential for further growth. Anna Liu was Yuruware s Chief Technology Officer and also Co-leader of NICTA s Software Systems Research Group. She will now head up Unitrends Australian operation as its General Manager. Unitrends is the perfect partner for Yuruware in developing and launching the next generation of cloud products to the global market. We are proud of the innovation we have created to date with home grown talent, and we are excited about the growth potential with the global commercial experience from Unitrends, said Dr Liu. Our mission is to adapt data protection to our customers environments rather than force customers to conform to our offerings, said Mark Campbell, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer at Unitrends. Yuruware s patented intellectual property, which enables us to offer customers the ultimate flexibility in data protection, is the latest example of our unwavering commitment to this philosophy. Unitrends plans to extend its core backup and disaster recovery offerings to third-party public clouds such as AWS, OpenStack and Microsoft Azure. The move will allow customers to protect physical, virtual and converged systems in hybrid clouds, and to quickly recover their IT infrastructure in multiple environments as well. New South Wales Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Stoner, celebrated the announcement, saying, This is another fantastic endorsement of Sydney and New South Wales global reputation as a leading hub for digital innovation and research, and as the best place in Australia for technology start-up businesses. In fact, around 64 per cent of all technology start-ups in Australia are based in Sydney. Dr Anna Liu NICTA joins forces with Telstra to create solutions for networks, security and privacy NICTA is part of an exciting new Telstra Research Partnership Program, announced in May at Parliament House in Canberra. The two organisations will work together to explore business opportunities flowing from technology advances and cutting-edge research. Hugh Durrant-Whyte, NICTA CEO, said, Innovation in information and communications technology lies at the heart of Australia s future prosperity. The collaboration forged today between Telstra and NICTA is an exciting opportunity to drive innovation in Australia and a revolution in communications between individuals, devices, businesses and industry. (L-R) Dr Hugh Bradlow, CTO, Telstra; Ms Kate McKenzie, COO, Telstra; The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Minister for Communications; Hugh Durrant-Whyte, CEO, NICTA. Telstra Chief Operations Officer Kate McKenzie said, We want to expand the breadth and depth of our relationships with research institutes over time to ensure the highest quality outcomes, and I am very excited that in the first phase of this program we are working with NICTA, Australia s Information and Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence. Network media strategy, predictive network demand modelling, data trust and security, desktop as a service are some of the business challenges NICTA will be supporting under the umbrella agreement with Telstra. The Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull MP welcomed the collaboration saying, It is great to see first-class organisations like Telstra and NICTA working together to accelerate innovation. If Australia is to retain its competitive position in the global economy and support the growth of advanced, knowledge-intensive industries, collaborations like this are vital.
2 NICTANews 2 CEO report INSIDE Sandra Mau s See-Out potential recognised 3 Queen s Birthday honours for Dr Terry Percival 3 Goanna: Powering embedded software security 3 Showcasing NICTA s world-class ICT research one event at a time 4 NICTA creating wealth for Australia NICTA has had a very successful quarter in building wealth creation outcomes for Australia. Particularly notable is the achievement of Anna Liu and her team in negotiating the sale of NICTA s cloud computing company Yuruware to US company Unitrends for a substantial eightfigure sum. This sale has created an Asia-Pacific headquarters for Unitrends which will be housed at Sydney s Australian Technology Park, setting the scene for the Unitrends team to create local employment, R&D opportunities, and significant revenue for Australia for years to come. At the same time, NICTA start-up companies See-Out and Red Lizard Software have also enjoyed big wins in the last quarter you can read their success stories on page three of NICTA News. NICTA has a long and strong pipeline of spin-out companies that will be emerging in the next 12 months. NICTA has also had a very successful quarter in building up research collaborations with existing companies. In particular, NICTA signed a major new partnership with Telstra that was announced in May at Parliament House in Canberra. The partnership has kicked off with five projects in areas including data analytics and big trust. In the longer term the partnership will leverage the strengths of NICTA s machine learning, networks, software engineering and optimisation research to create new opportunities for Telstra business. NICTA also continues to excel in research. In June, NICTA s Machine Learning Research Group was reviewed by an eminent international panel. The review report wrote that the NICTA group is now in the top five in the world in this important area of Machine Learning [data analytics and big data] research. In the midst of this successful period, NICTA also received the news that while block funding from the Federal Government would continue for the next two years, after this NICTA would need to look for nongovernment funding to provide a more sustainable longer-term future. This includes establishing other partnership models with industry and research orgainsations that will continue NICTA s record of research excellence and wealth creation into the future. I look forward to communicating our progress in future editions of NICTA News. Profile - Gerwin Klein 5 Bernard Blackham wins in verified real-time 6 ANU undergraduates rise to the challenge 6 NICTA and Los Alamos National Laboratory 6 People and Achievements 7 Events 8 In the news 8 Hugh Durrant-Whyte NICTA CEO ICT industry veteran Russell Yardley appointed to NICTA Board NICTA welcomes Russell Yardley, a 35-year veteran of the Australian ICT industry, to its Board. Mr Yardley brings with him a wealth of relevant experience as a director, entrepreneur and innovator. His leadership was recognised by Austrade in 2001, when he was selected to be part of the Australian egovernment Mission to the UK. He also held one of 10 positions on the Australian European High Tech Tour in Commenting on his appointment, Russell Yardley said: As an enhancer and enabler of innovation, NICTA and its outstanding, world class team of ICT scientists remains hugely important as the makeup of Australia transitions in the age of a global, digital economy. With many years invested in Australian innovation, my excitement in joining the NICTA Board lies in articulating the commercial value of ICT research. Bringing together academia, industry and government, and bridging the gap between science and the arts, will ensure that Australia remains at the forefront of global innovation. NICTA s Chairman, Neville Stevens, AO, said, Highly regarded for entrepreneurship and business strategy, and with an extensive knowledge of government, Russell will be a tremendous asset to the NICTA Board. The Board and I look forward to working with Russell as we focus on taking NICTA from strength to strength and building on its many years of success. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Theo Theophanous, who is retiring from the Board, for the time and energy he devoted to NICTA during his term. Mr Yardley is currently chairman of Readify Pty Ltd, Alcidion Corporation Pty Ltd, GPY&R Melbourne, Algonquin Investments and the iawards. Mr Yardley also serves on the Boards of Bienalto Pty Ltd and the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).
3 Sandra Mau s See-Out potential recognised Congratulations to Sandra Mau who has raised significant seedcapital for her NICTA start-up, See-Out, a visual service technology company for trademark and brand protection. Founded in 2011, See-Out incorporates award-winning image recognition technology developed during Sandra s time at NICTA in the Computer Vision Research Group. See-Out s flagship product, CeeQ, leads the company s offerings with its web-based visual search engine for professionals which conducts more than 18 million trademark searches and examinations annually. CeeQTM is the only search engine to provide both visual search and foreign trademark search in Australia. Sandra Mau said Currently, trademarks are searched via text descriptions, called constituent particulars. With the large number of logos and other brand images being generated daily, text search is not sufficient to secure a brand. CeeQTM users can upload a design and search through millions of images for similar trademarks or logos within seconds. This backing from our investors will enable See-Out to grow its Australian image search tech innovation into a global standard. The funding comes from Scale Angels, a female focused angel investor network, and the Queensland University of Technology s Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA), Australia s only dedicated creative industries incubator. Proceeds of this round will be used to recruit development staff to enhance product features, and begin to build a marketing and sales team. Dr Sandra Mau Queen s Birthday honours for Wi-Fi pioneer Dr Terry Percival Congratulations to Terry Percival, Director of NICTA s Broadband and the Digital Economy Business Team, who was recognised in this year s Queen s Birthday Honours for his landmark developments in broadband and wireless communications technologies - including the coinvention of Wi-Fi. Dr Percival s prestigious award of the Member of the Order of Australia recognises an ICT research career that spans thirty years and demonstrates a strong record in invention, innovation and building Australia s international reputation in technology. community, but it is an even greater honour to have made people s lives better through the new technologies I helped develop. Terry is a much-loved and respected member of NICTA. His active support of cutting-edge public research is an inspiration to the many students, researchers and small business people who have worked with him. His career path demonstrates exactly the type of difference you can make at NICTA, and for Australia, NICTA CEO Prof. Durrant-Whyte said. NICTA is thrilled that Terry has been recognised by the nation for his groundbreaking work. Everyone here congratulates him wholeheartedly. Dr Terry Percival Each year millions of cars are affected by critical software issues leading to expensive and inconvenient updates and recalls. Software flaws and security issues have a serious impact and cost the US economy alone over $60bn annually. The Goanna team at NICTA has been at the forefront of developing new code analysis tools and techniques to find and address serious software bugs right from the earliest stages of the software development process. Through the development and commercial release of these analysis tools, Goanna Studio and Goanna Central, the team has been assisting software development companies such as Siemens, Texas Instruments, LG and Ericsson detect critical On accepting the Award, Dr Percival said, It s an honour to be acknowledged by the Goanna: Powering embedded software security flaws and security vulnerabilities automatically during software development, significantly reducing the risk of later crashes and attacks. This same NICTA technology, which powers its start-up company trading as Red Lizard Software, has now been non-exclusively licensed for a seven-figure sum to one of the world s leading independent software vendors for programming of processors in embedded systems. This multi-year IP License and service agreement will see the NICTA technology potentially reaching tens of thousands of new users, and likely increasing the security and reliability of billions of devices. NICTA Senior Researcher and Red Lizard Software founder and leader Dr Ralf Huuck, who has guided the technology R&D from its outset to its most recent success, said This is a fantastic validation of creating hightech IP from deep formal methods research and developing tools that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. The team is continuing its efforts to bring further new techniques from disciplines such as model checking and Satisfiability Modulo Theory (SMT) solving to the software development mass market. The team recently filed for an additional patent, building upon its strong fundamental intellectual property base, and positioning the technology for its next phase of market impact. 3
4 NICTANews 4 Showcasing NICTA s world-class ICT research one event at a time Over the past few months NICTA has been demonstrating to audiences near and far how our world-class research and business ideas are transforming the ICT industry. First stop was the launch of Australia s first National ehealth Living Laboratory (NELL) in March. NELL is housed within the University of Canberra s new Health Hub which combines general practice with allied health and diagnostic services; including fixed and mobile student led allied health clinics and teaching spaces. NICTA s role is to act as a connector of industry, academia and government through The Lab, as well as provide its world-class big data analytics and optimisation expertise to identify ways in which healthcare can be improved through the innovative use of ICT. Pooling resources and knowledge with our collaborators and working closely with clinicians, patients, SME s, students and researchers will enable The Lab to effectively address existing issues throughout healthcare, drive innovation, and incorporate ICT into the fabric of medical training and the healthcare industry. In May NICTA joined 472 exhibitors at CeBIT Australia where over 55 NICTA researchers showcased 16 projects and demonstrations in the areas of trustworthy systems, port productivity and data analytics. NICTA also lent its expertise to CeBIT s conference program with NICTA researchers taking part in discussions on Cyber Security, Big Data, Supply Chain and Logistics and more. This included NICTA s Dr Jodi Steel, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, Dr Rami Mukhtar and Dr Terry Percival. One of the highlights of the three-day event was the announcement that NICTA start-up, Saluda Medical, was awarded the CeBIT.AU Business Award for Innovation at the CeBIT ICT Celebration Dinner and Awards Night. Future Logistics Living Lab Melbourne workshop June might signal the start of winter but the reception at NICTA s Future Logistics Living Lab s first Melbourne Cluster workshop was anything but chilly. Hosted at the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (DSDBI) Investment Centre building, the event saw more than 65 people from industry, government and universities attend a workshop about the efficiency and productivity of integrated supply chains. Future Logistics Living Lab workshops are aimed at bringing its 41 community participants and industry together to discuss collaborative industry work projects. The all-day workshop was opened by Grantly Mailes, Chief Technology Advocate and Deputy Secretary, Innovation, Services, Small Business and Technology Division, DSBI, and then followed by panel sessions, End Customers and Key Stakeholders and Port Productivity and Efficiency led by NICTA s Rob Fitzpatrick, Director Infrastructure Transport and Logistics, and Neil Temperley, Future Logistics Living Lab Leader. There was also input from industry experts. June also saw NICTA jet off to CommunicAsia, our seventh year at Asia s largest telecommunications expo. Demonstrations included NICTA s new WebRTC technology and big data analytics tools to safeguard customer privacy. Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Product Manager and Dr Terry Percival, Director of NICTA s Broadband and Digital Economy Business Team, delivered a workshop on the potential for WebRTC to transform the ways in which consumers connect and the potential benefits for business adopting this technology. NICTA also took part in the Australian High Commission Technology CommunicAsia team Symposium event, where egov Cluster leader Michael Phillips addressed members of the Singaporean business and academic community on the subject of Innovation Partnerships in Industry and Education. The symposium also included pitches by 10 Australian companies, followed by a Q&A panel session facilitated by Dean Economou, NICTA s Technology Strategist. CeBIT - demonstrating NICTA s secure software
5 Gerwin Klein Trustworthy Systems Kulmbach, a small town in Bavaria, Germany, is best known for its beer. But it s also the place where Gerwin Klein, Senior Principal Researcher for NICTA s Software Systems Research Group (SSRG) and Associate Conjoint Professor at the UNSW, began his journey into ICT. Gerwin received his first computer at the age of twelve and while his peers were busy achieving their highest score on Elite and Prince of Persia, Gerwin was more interested in how to write his own games and how to make his computer deliver what he wanted. He wrote his first aviation weight and balance planning software for a friend s father while still in high school and developed a bulletin board and messaging system on the school computers that, back then, weren t networked yet. After completing high school Gerwin attended the Technical University of Munich were he completed his undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Mathematics, and later a PhD in Computer Science. It was at this time that NICTA happened - more or less a lucky accident for Gerwin. When I came to NICTA in 2003, it was just founded, buzzing with excitement and possibilities. The NICTA concept sounded intriguing to me, and I was keen on joining a young, new organisation that was out to make impact. Coming fresh out of my PhD, it was the perfect place for me to start taking responsibility in building up and leading research projects, and to make real world-wide impact. Gerwin could write the book on real-world impact. His research in logic, formal software verification, and program semantics, makes sure that software actually works and fulfils our expectations in functionality, safety, and security. When a programmer writes a program they usually know fairly well what that program text means and what it is going to do when it runs. But for systems that are life critical, this is not enough: you want to know precisely what the program is going to do under all possible circumstances, and, for instance, you want to be able to tell with certainty that the autopilot on a plane is not going to turn off the engines in mid flight. As software becomes more complex, this kind of complete analysis turns out to be a very hard problem., says Gerwin. It was the pressing need for security and reliability that led to the development and formal verification of the sel4 microkernel by Gerwin and other members of NICTA s SSRG. A small operating system, which regulated access to a computer s hardware, its unique features is that it has been mathematically proven to operate correctly, enabling it to separate trusted from untrusted software, protecting critical services from failure or malicious attack. Our project was the first time that such a large and complex piece of low-level code had been formally verified. This first result came out in 2009 and had a fairly large echo in the research world and general press. In the past years we have driven it further. We now have a rock solid foundation for software systems where security and safety are critical. We re currently applying our work in a DARPA program for unmanned aerial and ground vehicles. We re also working together with a company for medical devices, and the technology as such can be applied much more widely in mobile security, payment processing, automotive and aerospace, to name just a few, said Gerwin. It is Gerwin s hope that this kind of verification technology will become much more widespread and eventually be mainstream. The impact would be higher software quality overall, fewer incidents caused by software, more security and higher safety standards - and all this for software that right now is too complex to fully analyse. We live in interesting times for software verification: 10 years ago, the idea of formally verified operating systems was seen as impossible by many in the field, formally verified compilers as way too ambitious, and formally verified theorem provers as sel4 is going open-source. For more information visit: systems If you had to choose between movies, books or music which would you choose and why? Books, for their depth, although I enjoy all three. What do you love about working in R&D? Creating new knowledge and doing things nobody has ever done before. If others believe them impossible, even better. Who inspires you and why? I m most inspired by smart, interested students. It is great to teach someone what you know, and then see how they create new and unexpected things from it. What do you consider to be the ultimate scientific discovery? If there was an ultimate one, science would be done, and if that is even possible, we re far away from it. Of course there have been many cool discoveries in the past, but I think the coolest stuff is yet to come. borderline nonsensical. Now, all of these exist, and we can verify significant important software infrastructure routinely. Despite these breakthroughs, we re not quite there yet for mainstream use. Verification right now is still an expensive expert activity. However analysis of our current verification work leads us to believe that if we can drive cost down by just another factor of 2 and scale up by another factor of 10 we will deliver verification that is cheaper than standard software development, and orders of magnitude more effective. Lots of people thought what we were going for with the formally verified sel4 microkernel was impossible. Not so at NICTA. In the past 10 years, we have had some great successes and we haven t lost the buzz. It s still one of the best places on the planet in my research area to go and change the world, said Gerwin. Gerwin has just co-authored a book, Concrete Semantics together with Tobias Nipkow, Professor of Computer Science at the Technical University of Munich. The University text book on interactive theorem proving and the formal semantics of programming languages will appear at Springer Verlag. A free online version of the University text book is available at htttp://concretesemantics.org. 5
6 NICTANews 6 Bernard Blackham wins in verified real-time NICTA Software Systems Research Group PhD alumnus Bernard Blackham has been recognised for his outstanding research, winning the 2014 ACM Special Interest Group on Embedded Systems (ACM SIGBED) Paul Caspi Memorial Dissertation Award for his thesis Towards Verified Microkernels for Real-Time Mixed-Criticality Systems. This annual award recognises an outstanding doctoral dissertation that significantly advances the state-ofthe-art in the science of embedded systems, in the spirit and legacy of Dr Paul Caspis work. Chosen from a total of 11 nominations, the selection committee found Bernard s thesis to be an outstanding contribution at the intersection of operating systems, worst-case execution time analysis and model checking. As the author of the winning dissertation, Bernard will be invited to publish a dissertation summary in the ACM SIGBED Newsletter and to submit his work to the journal ACM TECS (Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems) for possible publication, after the normal peer-review process. Michael Phillips, NICTA egov Cluster manager The global demand for efficient multi-fuel electricity generation has brought together some of the world s leading computer scientists in an exciting R&D effort aimed at creating systems to connect and manage electricity and natural gas supplies on a shared platform. The work will take place under a twelve-month Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between NICTA and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck, Leader of NICTA s Bernard s latest accolade comes after a successful year which saw him awarded the 2013 Computer Research and Education (CORE) Makepeace Bennett Australasian Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award, with CORE recognising Bernard s thesis as the best PhD thesis in the field of computer science finalised during the year. In addition his paper Sequoll: a framework for model checking binaries was awarded Best Paper at the 2013 IEEE Real Time and Embedded Technology Applications Symposium (RTAS). Co-authored with Gernot Heiser, NICTA SSRG Leader and UNSW Scientia Professor and John Lions Chair, the paper presents a new framework for reasoning about compiled programs and demonstrates how the framework has been applied to refine the timing analysis of the sel4 microkernel. Bernard completed his studies at UNSW and currently works for global visual computing technology pioneer NVIDIA, in the modem division working on the physical layer of software-defined radio implementations of 2G/3G/4G modems. ANU undergraduates rise to the challenge In March, NICTA hosted the inaugural Digital Canberra Challenge Award, an ACT Government initiative to engage Canberra s brightest minds to help build and support a dynamic, healthy and prosperous Digital City for the 21st century. Held at our Canberra Laboratory, the successful event was attended by over 80 attendees from government, academia and industry. The Challenge features two competition rounds a year, where innovators NICTA and Los Alamos National Laboratory to fuel the demand for efficient electricity generation Optimisation Research Group, will head up the project. Controlling and managing coupled energy systems is challenging, but as the US gas network grows, it is becoming increasingly important to meet these challenges. Gas has numerous advantages over coal as a fuel to deliver electricity. It stores energy at larger scales, for instance, and pressure in a gas line is easier to control than in a coal-fired plant. It is also faster to heat up a gas-fired plant when there is a sudden spike in demand such as during a heat wave or during an unexpectedly cold winter. are required to submit proposed solutions to two business challenges that have been identified by the general public and members of the ACT Public Service. ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced the winning entry DigiACTive that is made up of three ANU undergraduates. DigiACTive partners with Territory and Municipal Services to develop a proof-of-concept prototype to provide an online permit approval service that allows people to submit their applications online with guidance and checklists. DigiACTive takes home $12,500 in prize money. As the United States premier national-security science laboratory, Los Alamos has a mandate to use cutting-edge science and technology to enhance the nation s energy security. Under this CRADA agreement, funded jointly by U.S. Department of Energy and NICTA, Los Alamos is tasked to build model reduction methods for coupled power grid and natural gas systems. NICTA s role is to deliver the underlying algorithms to solve the nonlinear optimisation problems arising in the design and operations of joint gas and electricity networks.