1;95;0c Toby Murray



Last Updated: May 2023

ACM Software System Award

I am honoured to be recognised amongst the 14-member team who this year was awarded the ACM Software System Award for our work on the seL4 microkernel. Quoting from what I wrote for the University of Melbourne's announcement:

This marks the first time the ACM Software System Award has been awarded to an Australian-based team. The seL4 project represents two decades of sustained world-leading research. Since its original publication in 2009, the seL4 kernel has set the bar for how secure systems should be engineered, while demolishing long-held beliefs about the limits of what formal methods can achieve, demonstrating that system security need not come at the cost of performance.

Long live seL4!

Welcome James Tobler!

I am excited to be working with James Tobler who joins my group as a Research Assistant working on automatic verification of concurrent programs, funded by DST Group. James' project focuses on how to automate concurrent program verification via Rely-Guarantee and related reasoning techniques like Owicki-Gries by automatically inferring program assertions.

FormaliSE 2023

Please consider submitting to the 2023 International Conference on Formal Methods in Software Engineering (FormaliSE). FormaliSE 2023 is taking place in Melbourne between 14--15 May, co-located with ICSE 2023. I, along with Marie-Christine Jakobs of TU Darmstadt, as Program Chairs warmly welcome submissions on topics at the intersection of formal methods and software engineering. We welcome full research papers; case study papers; and shorter research ideas papers as well. Abstracts are due on Januar 16 2023 January 9 2023, with papers due on 27 January 2023 16 January 2023. Please consider submitting.

Time Protection Formalisation Paper at FM 2023

I am delighted to announce that the first major formal methods paper arising from the seL4 Time Protection project will appear at FM 2023. The paper shows how time protection (enforcement of the absence of microarchitectural timing channels) can be formally defined for an operating systems kernel, and how a kernel implementation can in principle be proved to enforce this security guarantee. Major kudos to the two primary researchers on this project, Rob Sison and Scott Buckley.

Optus Breach Media

In the wake of a massive data breach at Australia's second-largest telecommunications company, Optus, I've spent the past week doing a string of media appearances, in an effort to explain to victims how they can protect themselves from the risk of potential identity theft and fraud, and to advocate for stronger privacy regimes and improved incentives to reduce the amount of sensitive data that Australian businesses are holding and to place the onus onto them for protecting it. This has been a wonderful foray into public engagement that began when I wrote the first practical guide for how impacted customers can respond to this breach, on my personal blog, where I have actively tracked developments during the week since. That was picked-up by multiple media resulting in a range of media appearances across TV, radio, and podcast, and input into various written pieces, as well as an op ed that I wrote for Ingenium. These included:

About Me

I am an academic in the School of Computing and Information Systems of the University of Melbourne. Prior to joining Melbourne in May 2016, I was employed in the Software Systems Research Group of NICTA (now Data61), and was a Conjoint Senior Lecturer in the school of Computer Science and Engineering of UNSW. I joined NICTA and UNSW in 2010 from Oxford, where I completed a D.Phil. (PhD) in Computer Science, awarded in 2011. Before moving to Oxford, I worked for the Defence Science and Technology Organisation after my undergraduate study at the University of Adelaide.

I live in Melbourne with my wife and two children, enjoy (and sometimes write and record) alternative music, and spend too much time on Twitter engaging a hot-cold obsession with Australian politics, security and privacy. I love great ales, informed by my days in Oxford, and rich reds, like any Adelaide native.

Research and Collaborations

My research is focused on the problem of how to build highly secure computing systems cost-effectively. As part of this, I work on ways to assess the security of computer systems, methods to ensure the absence of vulnerabilities in programs and systems, methods to detect vulnerabilities in programs, methods for designing secure systems, and related topics. Below is a snapshot of my current research projects.

Current Research Projects

My current research projects include the following. This list does not include PhD student projects that are yet to be made public.

Past and Dormant Research Projects

Some of my past and dormant research projects include the following.

My Group


Current postdocs:

Current Research Assistants:

Previous postdocs and Research Assistants:

Research Students

Current PhD students:

Previous research students:

Working with Me

I'm always looking for motivated students to work with. Check out my page for prospective research students.


See my papers page.

Software and Artifacts

My group has developed various pieces of software, plus formal artifacts embedded in interactive theorem provers such as program logics and compilers. All are available under open source licenses.


SecC: Verified Security for Concurrent C Programs

SecC is the first autoactive program verifier able to verify information flow security for concurrent C programs.

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Legion: Principled Automatic Test Case Generation

Legion automatically generates test cases for programs, generalising traditional concolic testing and fuzzing, orchestrating program exploration via Monte-Carlo Tree Search.

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Underflow: Compositional Vulnerability Detection for C Programs

Underflow is the first first automatic tool able to compositionally detect memory-safety and information-leakage vulnerabilities in C programs.

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Under-Approximate Relational Program Logic: How to Prove your Program is Insecure

A general-purpose logic that enables one to perform under-approximate reasoning about relational properties, and the fist logic able to prove when programs are insecure.

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SecRSL: How to Prove Efficient, Concurrent Programs Secure

The first security separation program logic able to reason about C11's weak memory concurrency features used by highly-efficient concurrent C programs.

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VERONICA: Verified Secure Declassification for Concurrent Programs

VERONICA is a verification method, embedded in the Isabelle/HOL theorem prover, for verifying secure declassification policies for concurrent programs.

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Security Concurrent Separation Logic (SecCSL): Proving Concurrent C Programs Information-Flow Secure

A program logic for concurrent C-like programs with pointers, arrays etc., for proving they do not leak sensitive information.

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COVERN Compiler: Verified Secure Compilation for Concurrent Programs

The COVERN Compiler is a proof-of-concept compiler embedded in the Isabelle/HOL theorem prover that provably preserves information flow security when compiling concurrent programs.

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COVERN Logic: Verified Security for Concurrent Programs

The COVERN logic, embedded in the Isabelle/HOL theorem prover, allows one to prove that concurrent programs do not leak sensitive information.

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Like any researcher who works on security, my work necessarily involves discovering bugs in software. As somebody who works on tools for proving things about programs (including the presence of bugs), my work not only uncovers bugs in ordinary programs but also bugs in programs that reason about other programs. Below is a list of some bugs I've uncovered in program analysis tools during my research:


In 2022, I am teaching:

I previusly taught:

I have also taught half-day courses to industry on topics including:

If your company develops software and would like to know how you can more easily detect and remove bugs during development, and would like to know more, please get in touch.


I am a Research Integrity Advisor, serve as an undergraduate Academic Advisor, as well as regularly chairing Academic Misconduct Committee hearings, amongst other things. I am also Deputy Director of the Defence Science Institute.

I am an Associate Editor for IEEE Security & Privacy and serve on a range of Program Committees (see below). I am a member of IFIP WG 1.7 on Theoretical Foundations of Security Analysis and Design.

Steering Committees

Edited Books

Program Committees