Curious about automated reasoning

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A few weeks back, I shared my thoughts on the importance of staying curious, in that case as it related to the field of quantum computing. As we learned from Dr. John Preskill, quantum computing is on a much longer time horizon than most technology we talk about these days, and it’s something that may still take multiple decades before it has a tangible impact on our daily lives. I believe the wait will be worth it, but today I wanted to focus on another technology that’s already having a noticeable impact on how we build and operate computer systems on top of the cloud. Introducing automated reasoning.

Automated reasoning is the algorithmic search through the infinite set of theorems in mathematical logic. In simpler terms, it’s where software engineering meets mathematics. The field has been around for quite a while, dating all the way back to the first computers, but recently I’m starting to see the term show up everywhere, so I was curious to learn more. What excites me about automated reasoning is that it’s a technology that’s quickly moving beyond research and development circles and theorems, and into very practical applications that can benefit Amazon customers on a daily basis—uses like detecting misconfigurations that could expose vulnerable customer data, or improving the end-user experience of Prime Video. At the center of this effort to bridge the theory and practical application of automated reasoning is Byron Cook.

Dr. Byron Cook, FREng, is a Distinguished Scientist and Vice President at AWS and a leader in the field of formal verification. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from Oregon Health and Science University, and has continued on in the academic world as a professor at University College London. Byron’s role at Amazon is equally impressive, leading our automated reasoning group within AWS where we are putting this technology to work to solve complex challenges on behalf of our customers.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Byron and talk about his work in the field, and today I invite you into our chat.

Customers of AWS can already unlock the benefits of automated reasoning technology by using AWS tools such as IAM Access AnalyzerS3 Block Public Access, and VPC Reachability Analyzer. If you’re not already making use of these tools today, I implore you to take a look at how these can help make your operations in AWS easier and your systems more secure.

If you’d like to hear more from Byron, you can follow him on Twitter at @byroncook, and if you’d like to learn more about how AWS is putting automated reasoning to work you can learn more here.