Steve Zdancewic
Department of Computer and Information Science
University of Pennsylvania

e-mail: stevez (at)
phone: 215-898-2661
office: 511 Levine Hall
office hours: Monday 3:30-5:00pm & by appointment
[Curiculum Vitae]             [Publications]             [Teaching]             [Students]

Research Interests

I study programming languages and computer security. Most recently, my work has focused on two research directions: (1) memory safety of low-level software, and (2) Coq verification of LLVM program transformations. I have also spent a lot of time thinking about language-based enforcement of information-flow policies, understanding dynamic security policies, and authorization logic. I am also interested in secure concurrent and distributed computing, functional programming languages, type theory, linear and modal logics, theorem proving and mechanized metatheory. More information about my research can be found in this (out of date) research statement.

Conferences and News

Current Research Projects and Activities

PL Club

Penn's programming languages research group, run jointly with Benjamin Pierce and Stephanie Weirich. We meet weekly with students and post-docs to discuss current research topics.


The verified LLVM project is developing operational semantics for the LLVM intermediate representation using the interactive theorem prover Coq. The resulting tools let us create highly-reliable program transformation passes and optimizations.


This NSF Expedition on Computer-Augmented Program Engineering seeks to transform the way that programmers develop software by advancing the theory and practice of software synthesis.

SoftBound + CETS

This project is developing software instrumentation techniques to achieve complete memory safety for C programs, while requiring minimal changes to the source programs.

Security-Oriented Languages

This research seeks to develop programming language abstractions and analyses that let developers create programs that are secure by construction.

Recent Publications (Complete List)

Teaching (Summary)


Current Ph.D. Students and Post Docs

Former Students and Post Docs

Awards and Honors

  • IEEE MICRO "top picks", 2013
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, 2009-2010
  • NSF CAREER award, 2004
  • Best Paper award at SOSP, 2001
  • Intel Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 2001
  • Best Paper award at ICFP, 1999
  • NSF Graduate Student Fellowship, 1996


My research has been supported in part by the following grants. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

  • NSF: Dynamic Security Policies
  • NSF: CAREER: Language-based Distributed System Security
  • NSF: Resource-guided Implementation of Secure Embedded Software
  • NSF: Flexible, Decentralized Infomation-flow Control for Dynamic Environments
  • NSF CRI: Machine Assistance for Programming Language Research
  • NSF CCF: Unifying Events and Threads: Language Support for Network Services
  • NSF CT-T: Collaborative Research: Manifest Security
  • DARPA: Machine-checked Metatheory for Security-oriented Languages
  • ONR: Networks Opposing Botnets
  • NSF SHF: Practical Linear Types for Safe Protocols
  • NSF CCF: Validating Program Transformations in a Mechanized LLVM
  • ONR: Ironclad C/C++: Enforcing Memory Safety to Prevent Low-level Security Vulnerabilities
  • NSF TC: WATCHDOG: Hardware-Assisted Prevention of All Use-After-Free Security Vulnerabilities


  • My wife, Stephanie Weirich, is also on the Computer and Information Science Faculty at Penn.
  • Some of my old talks are available.
  • At some point I wrote up some writing tips for Ph.D. students.

Last modified: Thu Nov 20 22:18:21 EST 2014