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Department of Computer Science

Verifying Cyber-attacks in CUDA Deep Neural Networks for Self-Driving Cars

Project description

Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) is a parallel computing platform and Application Programming Interface (API) model created by NVIDIA, which extends C/C++ and Fortran, in order to create a computational model that aims to harness the computational power of Graphical Processing Units (GPUs). Recent NVIDIA GPUs offer highly tuned implementations for typical routines required by Deep Neural Networks (DNNs), e.g., forward and backward convolution, pooling, normalisation, and activation layers, which lead to a prospect of a wide-scale deployment of such networks for perception modules and end-to-end controllers for self-driving cars. However, this wide-scale deployment also raises additional research questions of how the GPU software can be verified, validated and certified to meet standard requirements of safety-critical applications, especially when those applications are connected to the internet and thus subject to adversarial perturbations. As a result, the main goals of this PhD research are: (1) analyse and develop a deeper understanding of CUDA DNNs to capture main properties of interest to establish a secure and safety operation of CUDA DNNs; (2) model the CUDA DNN library by taking into account aspects of security and safety; and then (3) verify realistic applications of self-driving cars that rely on such library, using explicit-state and symbolic model checking techniques to prevent possible cyber threats/attacks.

Person specification

For information


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You must be capable of performing at a very high level.
  • You must have a self-driven interest in uncovering and solving unknown problems and be able to work hard and creatively without constant supervision.


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You will have good time management.
  • You will possess determination (which is often more important than qualifications) although you'll need a good amount of both.


Applicants will be required to address the following.

  • Comment on your transcript/predicted degree marks, outlining both strong and weak points.
  • Discuss your final year Undergraduate project work - and if appropriate your MSc project work.
  • How well does your previous study prepare you for undertaking Postgraduate Research?
  • Why do you believe you are suitable for doing Postgraduate Research?