The Science of Deep Specification

The first DeepSpec Summer School on Verified Systems will be held in Philadelphia from July 17 to 28, 2017, preceded by an introductory Coq Intensive from July 13 to 15.

Applications are now open.


Can critical systems be built with no bugs in hardware, operating systems, compilers, crypto, or other key components? It may seem a pipe dream, but the past decade has seen explosive advances in the technology required to realize it.

This summer school aims to give participants a wide-ranging overview of several ambitious projects currently underway in this space. Participants will gain a thorough understanding of the conceptual underpinnings of these projects plus considerable hands-on experience with state-of-the-art tools for building verified systems


The summer school will open with a three-day intensive course on the fundamentals of the Coq proof assistant, for participants who are new to Coq. The main lectures take place during the weeks of July 17 and 24.

July 13-15 (Thu-Sat) Coq intensive
July 17-21 Week 1
July 24-28 Week 2

Lecturers and Topics

Andrew Appel Verified functional algorithms
Adam Chlipala Program-specific proof automation
Frans Kaashoek & Nickolai Zeldovich Certifying software with crashes
Xavier Leroy The structure of a verified compiler
Benjamin Pierce Property-based random testing with QuickChick
Zhong Shao CertiKOS: Certified kit operating systems
Stephanie Weirich Language specification and variable binding
Steve Zdancewic Vellvm: Verifying the LLVM


The DeepSpec summer school is aimed at a wide range of participants, including graduate students, academics, and industrial engineers and researchers.

The Coq proof assistant will serve as a lingua franca for all the lectures. Participants who are not already familiar with Coq at the level of Software Foundations should plan on attending the Coq Intensive before the summer school.

Costs and Financial Aid

The total cost (for lectures, meals, and dormitory lodging) is expected to be roughly $2000 per participant.

Substantial subsidies are available, courtesy of the NSF (thank you!), for students requiring financial assistance to attend.


Applications are now being accepted.

Applications received by Feb 15 will be given equal consideration; applications received after Feb 15 will be considered on a space-available basis.

Questions about the summer school should be directed to Benjamin Pierce.