Sanjit A. Seshia

  Cadence Founders Chair Professor
  Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
  and Group in Logic and the Methodology of Science
  University of California, Berkeley
  Affiliated Faculty, Industrial Cyber-Physical Systems Center, Berkeley AI Research,
    and the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing.
  Contact Information  
  Biography: Brief, Full  
[   Quick Links:   Publications   |   Research   |   Talks   |   Software   |   Teaching   |   Students & Postdocs   |   CV (in PDF)   ]
My research group develops theory and tools to aid the construction of provably dependable and secure systems. Our work spans several abstraction layers, from mathematical models, through software, to electronic and biological substrates.

A particular focus is on formal methods, which are mathematical techniques to model, design, and verify computing systems using computational proof engines. We seek to advance the state-of-the-art in automated formal methods through the following thrusts:

  • Computational Engines: We develop efficient algorithms and tools for core computational problems such as satisfiability modulo theories (SMT) solving, model counting, and syntax-guided synthesis. Our focus is on identifying new classes of these problems along with novel motivating applications (such as robot motion planning). This work continues a line of research that started with UCLID, one of the first projects to develop SMT solvers and SMT-based verification methods. UCLID5 is our current active project in this thrust.
  • Algorithmic Strategies for Verification and Synthesis: We are developing new formal verification and synthesis techniques based on a combination of inductive inference and deductive reasoning, an approach outlined with illustrative applications in this journal paper. We are developing a theory of formal inductive synthesis to provide a formal foundation for synthesis (of programs, specifications, controllers, etc.) from examples with provable guarantees of correctness. Notable demonstrated applications include specification synthesis, timing analysis of embedded software, program synthesis, and controller synthesis. See this brief video for a perspective on oracle-guided inductive synthesis presented during the Most Influential Paper award session at ICSE 2020.
    We are also developing novel techniques for achieving the goal of Verified Artificial Intelligence, implemented in open-source tools VerifAI and Scenic, which we have demonstrated for the evaluation of autonomous vehicles, both in simulation and on the road (see here for more information).
  • New Application Frontiers: We pursue new applications of formal methods that illuminate foundational questions. Our current focus is in the following areas: cyber-physical systems (CPS), particularly those based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and computer security across the hardware-software interface. In CPS, we are working on verification and control of Human-CPS, cyber-physical systems that operate in concert with humans, such as semi-autonomous vehicles (see sample paper). In security, we are currently focused on systems that leverage trusted hardware-software platforms (see sample paper). We are also developing theory and applications of "algorithmic improvisation", based on the core underlying problem termed as control improvisation (see this page for more details).
My group participates in the following large projects:
  • VeHICaL: Verified Human Interfaces, Control, and Learning for Semi-Autonomous Systems
  • LOGiCS: Learning-Based Oracle-Guided Compositional Symbiotic Design of Cyber-Physical Systems
  • RDI: Center for Responsible, Decentralized Intelligence
  • HICON-LEARN: Design of HIgh CONfidence LEARNing-Enabled Systems (under the DARPA Assured Autonomy program)
  • BDD: Berkeley Deep Drive
We are also part of iCyPhy, the Industrial Cyber-Physical Systems Center, and BAIR, Berkeley AI Research. I am also affiliated with the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing.

Our work on the verification of automotive powertrain systems led to the founding of a startup, Decyphir, Inc. We also contributed to the ACT project at Berkeley, addressing modeling, verification, and synthesis problems in synthetic biology, resulting in the founding of 20n Labs, Inc.

I have co-developed, with Edward A. Lee, an undergraduate course on Embedded Systems (check out the website for course material including cool videos of student projects).
We also have an accompanying textbook Introduction to Embedded Systems: A Cyber-Physical Systems Approach currently in its second edition published by MIT Press. Our textbook has been adopted in over 50 countries.

We offered a "massive open online course" (MOOC) on Cyber-Physical Systems on the edX platform: EECS149.1x. This MOOC was the first, to our knowledge, to employ formal verification in the automatic grading system (which was designed using inductive synthesis). More information about the automatic grading software, CPSGrader, is available here. Related to this effort, I have taught a graduate-level course on Formal Methods for Engineering Education.

Selected talks and further details on research and teaching are available. A good starting point is to browse my recent publications.

Note to prospective students and postdocs


Areas of Interest

Formal Methods, Dependable Computing, Computational Logic, Cyber-Physical Systems, Computer Security, Design Automation, Programming Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Theory.


Full publications list, organized by

Selected Talks:

Here are videos/slides from selected presentations: (listed in reverse chronological order)


Centers/Large Projects my group participates in:
  • LOGiCS: Learning-Based Oracle-Guided Compositional Symbiotic Design of Cyber-Physical Systems
  • VeHICaL: Verified Human Interfaces, Control, and Learning for Semi-Autonomous Systems
  • BAIR: Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research
  • iCyPhy: Industrial Cyber-Physical Systems Center
  • RDI: Center for Responsible, Decentralized Intelligence
  • DOP Center: Donald O. Pederson Center for Electronic Systems Design
Past centers:
  • ADEPT: Agile Design of Efficient Processing Technologies
  • CHESS: Center for Hybrid and Embedded Software Systems
  • TSRC: TerraSwarm Research Center
  • ExCAPE: Expeditions in Computer Augmented Program Engineering
  • GSRC: Gigascale Systems Research Center
  • SCRUB: Secure Computing Research for Users' Benefit
  • MuSyC: Multiscale Systems Center
  • TRUST: Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technology
  • OSQ: Open Source Quality Project

Past Research Projects

(click on a project name for further details)
  • VGER: Verification-Guided Error Resilience of Circuits and Systems
  • Robust Embedded Systems: Verification and Learning for Provably Dependable Embedded Systems
  • SOS -- Solvers for Security: SAT, SMT, and Constraint-Based Techniques for Analyzing Security and Building Secure Systems

Descriptions of other past projects are also available.


Over the years, my group members and I have developed several software toolkits related to formal methods and its applications.
Here are some software packages that we actively develop and support:
The following software distributions are not being actively developed within my research group but are still available publicly with documentation or are being maintained by alumni or elsewhere:



Spring 2024: EECS 219C: Formal Methods: Specification, Verification, and Synthesis
Spring 2024: CS 70: Discrete Mathematics and Probability Theory (co-taught with Alistair Sinclair)

Recent Past

Fall 2023: EECS 149/249A: Introduction to Embedded Systems (co-taught with Prabal Dutta)
Spring 2023: EECS 219C: Formal Methods: Specification, Verification, and Synthesis
Spring 2022: EECS 219C: Formal Methods: Specification, Verification, and Synthesis
Fall 2021: EECS 149/249A: Introduction to Embedded Systems
Spring 2021: EECS 219C: Formal Methods: Specification, Verification, and Synthesis
Fall 2020: EECS 149/249A: Introduction to Embedded Systems (co-taught with Prabal Dutta)

Click here for the full list of courses taught.

   Group Members


Sahil Bhatia (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Alvin Cheung)
Kai-Chun Chang (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli)
Pei-Wei Chen (Ph.D.)
Karim Elmaaroufi (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Matei Zaharia)
Adwait Godbole (Ph.D.)
Inigo Incer (Postdoc) (co-mentored with Richard Murray and Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli)
Aniruddha Joshi (Ph.D.)
Edward Kim (Postdoc) (co-mentored with Bjoern Hartmann)
Niklas Lauffer (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Stuart Russell)
Shaokai Lin (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Edward A. Lee)
Federico Mora (Ph.D.)
Lauren Pick (Postdoc) (co-mentored with Aws Albarghouthi)
Ameesh Shah (Ph.D.)
Devan Shanker (M.S.)
Victoria Tuck (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Shankar Sastry)
Justin Wong (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Joseph Gonzalez)
Beyazit Yalcinkaya (Ph.D.)

Graduated Ph.D. Students (reverse chronological order, with current/last known position and links to theses)

Kevin Cheang (Ph.D.) [Amazon Web Services] Formal Specification and Verification of Secure Information Flow for Hardware Platforms
Edward Kim (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli) [Postdoc, UC Berkeley] Simulation-Based Testing, Validation, and Training with Probabilistic Programming
Marcell Vazquez-Chanlatte (Ph.D.) [Nissan Labs]: Specifications from Demonstrations: Learning, Teaching, and Control
Gil Lederman (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Edward A. Lee): Neural Guidance in Constraint Solvers
Ben Caulfield (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Stavros Tripakis) Learning and Logic for Formal Synthesis
Shromona Ghosh (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli) [Waymo]: Oracle-Guided Design and Analysis of Learning-Based Cyber-Physical Systems
Ankush Desai (Ph.D.) [Amazon/AWS]: Modular and Safe Event-Driven Programming
Daniel Fremont (Ph.D.) [Asst. Prof., UC Santa Cruz]: Algorithmic Improvisation
Eric Kim (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Murat Arcak) [Waymo]: Constructive Formal Control Synthesis through Abstraction and Decomposition
Rohit Sinha (Ph.D.) [Meta]: Secure Computing using Certified Software and Trusted Hardware
Dorsa Sadigh (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Shankar Sastry) [Asst. Prof., Stanford Univ.]: Safe and Interactive Autonomy: Control, Learning, and Verification
Rafael Valle (Ph.D.) (co-advised with Edmund Campion) [Nvidia]: Data Hallucination, Falsification and Validation using Generative Models and Formal Methods
Wenchao Li (Ph.D.) [Asst. Prof., Boston Univ.]: Specification Mining: New Formalisms, Algorithms and Applications
                     (M.S.): Formal Methods for Reverse Engineering Gate-Level Netlists
Dan Holcomb (Ph.D.) [Assoc. Prof., UMass Amherst]: Formal Verification and Synthesis for Quality-of-Service in On-Chip Networks
Susmit Jha (Ph.D.) [Technical Director, SRI International]: Towards Automated System Synthesis Using Sciduction
                   (M.S.): Reachability Analysis of Lazy Linear Hybrid Automata
Bryan Brady (Ph.D.): Automatic Term-Level Abstraction

Graduated M.S. Students (reverse chronological order, with current/last known position and links to theses)

Jonathan Shi (M.S.): Lifting Hardware Models from Implementations for Verification
Mark Wu (M.S.): Assisting Reinforcement Learning in Real-time Strategy Environments with SCENIC
Pranav Gaddamadugu (M.S.): Formally Verifying Trusted Execution Environments with UCLID5
Kesav Viswanadha (M.S.) [Google]: Scalable Techniques for Sampling-Based Falsification of AI-Based Cyber Physical Systems
Lakshya Jain (M.S.) [Trifacta]: Generating Semantic Adversarial Examples through Differentiable Rendering
Shivendra Kushwah (M.S.) [Facebook]: PSec: A Programming Language for Secure Distributed Computing
Sumukh Shivakumar (M.S.) [Amazon]: A Language-Based Approach to Run-Time Assurance for Autonomous Systems
Cameron Rasmussen (M.S.) [Apple]: Secure Speculation: From Vulnerability to Assurances with UCLID5
Nishant Totla (M.S.) [Docker]: Oracle-Guided Heap Interpolant Synthesis
Matthew Fong (M.S.): Two Optimal Path Problems in Synthetic Biology
Garvit Juniwal (M.S.) [Rubrik]: CPSGrader: Auto-Grading and Feedback Generation for Cyber-Physical Systems Education
Wei Yang Tan (M.S.): Formal Modeling and Verification of CloudProxy
Zach Wasson (M.S.) [Fitbit]: Analyzing Data-Dependent Timing and Timing Repeatability with GameTime
Jonathan Kotker (M.S.) [Microsoft]: The Internals of GameTime: Implementation and Evaluation of a Timing Analyzer for Embedded Software
Rhishikesh Limaye (M.S.) [National Instruments]: Beaver: An SMT Solver for Quantifier-free Bit-vector Logic

"Graduated" Postdocs (reverse chronological order, with current/last known position)

Hazem Torfah [Asst. Professor, Chalmers University]
Hussein Sibai [Asst. Professor, Washington University at St. Louis] (co-mentored with Murat Arcak)
Yatin Manerkar [Asst. Professor, Univ. Michigan Ann Arbor]
Sebastian Junges [Asst. Professor, Radboud University]
Yash Pant [Asst. Professor, Univ. of Waterloo] (co-mentored with Bjoern Hartmann and Richard Murray on the VeHICaL project)
Elizabeth Polgreen [Lecturer/Asst. Professor, Univ. of Edinburgh]
Mark Ho (co-mentored with Tom Griffiths on the VeHICaL project)
Hadi Ravanbakhsh [Google]
Tommaso Dreossi [insitro]
Markus Rabe [Google Research]
Pramod Subramanyan [Asst. Prof., IIT Kanpur]
Yasser Shoukry [Asst. Prof., UCI] (co-mentored with Paulo Tabuada and George Pappas)
Alexandre Donze [Decyphir]
Yi-Chin Wu [Pure Storage] (co-mentored with Stephane Lafortune)
Vasu Raman [Zipline] (co-mentored with Richard Murray)
Indranil Saha [Assoc. Prof., IIT Kanpur] (co-mentored with George Pappas)
Daniel Bundala [Google]
Ruediger Ehlers [Assoc. Prof., TU Clausthal] (co-mentored with Hadas Kress-Gazit)

A complete list of current and past students, including undergraduate advisees, and postdoctoral researchers is available in my CV.

   Professional Activities

Editorial Board:
   ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems

Selected Program Committees: (recent)
   CAV '21: 32nd International Conference on Computer-Aided Verification
   HSCC '20: 23rd ACM International Conference on Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control (Program co-chair)
   TACAS '19: 25th International Conference on Tools and Algorithms for the Construction and Analysis of Systems
   VSTTE '15: 7th Working Conference on Verified Software: Theories, Tools, and Experiments (Program co-chair)
   CAV '12: 24th International Conference on Computer-Aided Verification (Program co-chair)

Other Conference/Workshop Organization: (recent)
   Dagstuhl Seminar on Machine Learning and Formal Methods, August 2017 (co-organizer)
   Dagstuhl Seminar on Decision Procedures and Abstract Interpretation, August 2014 (co-organizer)

A complete list of professional activities is available in my CV.


Advice for students and others, compiled by Michael Ernst

My academic genealogy (courtesy the Mathematics Genealogy Project)

A partial list of "popular press" articles about research my group has contributed to: