Professor  Gernot Heiser Digital Library

Based in Sydney, NSW, Australia
Gernot Heiser


Gernot Heiser is Scientia (distinguished) Professor and John Lions Chair of Operating Systems at UNSW Sydney. His research interest are in operating systems, real-time systems, security and safety. He leads the Trustworthy Systems group, which pioneered large-scale formal verification of systems code. In particular he led the work on the design, implementation and formal verification of the seL4 microkernel, the world's first operating system kernel with a formal, machine-checked proof of implementation correctness (followed by proofs of timeliness and security enforcement).

Gernot has a strong track record of transitioning research outcomes into the real world, starting with co-founding Open Kernel Labs, acquired by General Dynamics in 2012, which lead to the OKL4 Microkernel shipping billions of mobile wireless chips and more recently ships on the secure enclave of all iOS devices. He presently serves as Chief Scientist, Software, of HENSOLDT Cyber, a Munich-based company providing a secure hardware-software stack for embedded and cyber-physical systems, and as Chief Scientific Officer of Geneva-based Neutrality. He is also founding chairman of the seL4 Foundation, which ist tasked with further developing the ecosystem around seL4 and ease its deployment in real-world security- and safety-critical systems.

Gernot strongly champions quality over quantity, publishing only a few papers a year, but in average producing one paper a year that collects 100+ citations within five years. He is frequently invited to lecture to junior researchers about producing high-quality publications.

Gernot is a Fellow of the ACM, the IEEE, and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE). He is, jointly with the original seL4 team, a winner of the 2019 ACM SIGOPS Hall of Fame Award.

Available Lectures

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  • From niche to prime time: How seL4 changed a research community
    Operating system (OS) microkernels had been around since the 1970s, and were popular in the '80, just to become highly unfashionable in the '90s resulting from poor performance and...
  • How to Write a Great Paper
    Publication in prestigious venues is key to academic impact, and in computer science this mostly means the top-tier conferences. These venues receive large number of submissions, resulting...
  • Making Trusted Systems Trustworthy
    We trust computer systems all the time: with our money, our sensitive private data, our critical infrastructure and, in the age of autonomous vehicles, increasingly with our lives. Yet...

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