Abstract: Accountability is the property of a system to help answer questions regarding why specific events have happened. With accountability infrastructures in place, identified reasons can be used to improve systems and to assign blame. Accountability rests on two pillars, monitoring and causality analyses. In this lecture, we focus on causality analyses and respective underlying models and show their wide applicability in computer science. We briefly touch upon causality analyses including spectrum-based fault localisation, Granger causality analysis, model-based diagnosis, and then focus on SAT-based and ILP-based approaches to counterfactual reasoning on the grounds of Halpern and Pearl’s notion of actual causality inference. We also discuss the provenance of causal models as fault trees, attack trees, and explicit acyclic equations. As application, we look into understanding incidents with drones.

Bio: Alexander Pretschner is a full professor of software and systems engineering at Technische Universität München; scientific director of fortiss, the research and technology transfer institute of the Free State of Bavaria; the speaker of the board of the newly founded Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (formerly the Munich Center for Internet Research); and a member of the board of directors of the Center for Digital Technology and Management. Research interests include all facets of software and systems engineering, with special emphasis on software quality, testing, and security.

Alexander has previously held positions of a full professor at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, of an associate adjunct professor at TU Kaiserslautern along with a group management position at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering in Kaiserslautern, and of a senior researcher at ETH Zurich. PhD degree from TUM, MS degrees in informatics from RWTH Aachen University and the University of Kansas. Awards include two IBM faculty awards, a Google Focused Research award, a Google Research award, several best paper awards, and a Fulbright scholarship.