I'm giving my dissertation talk in tomorrow's TRUST Seminar. Soda Hall, Wozniak Lounge, 1 pm. (Lunch is provided.) I am trying hard to make the talk interesting and meaningful to people with or without a background in elections and/or computer science.
Building Reliable Voting Machine Software
Ka-Ping Yee, University of California, Berkeley 1pm, Thursday, November 29, Wozniak Lounge, Soda Hall
The democracy upon which our modern society is built ultimately depends on a system that collects and counts votes. In the United States today, and to an increasing extent elsewhere, nearly every part of that system relies on computer software in some way. Widely reported failures in the usability, security, stability, and correctness of such software have led to a crisis in confidence. I will discuss ways to achieve confidence in the voting system as a whole and voting machine software in particular, with emphasis on that most thorny of software security challenges, the insider attack. How can we design reliable software, and if someone else designs it, how can we tell if it is reliable? I will explain why the software in the voting machine is the most crucial of all, propose a design for software that is hundreds of times smaller and simpler than that used in some of today's leading voting machines, and argue that this can help lead to voting machines that are more reviewable, usable, accessible, and secure.
Ka-Ping Yee is a Ph. D. candidate in Computer Science at UC Berkeley. His graduate research has focused on security and usability. He participated in this past summer's Voting Systems Review for the California Secretary of State as a reviewer of voting system source code, and his work on voting systems has been published at the USENIX/ACCURATE Electronic Voting Technology workshop.