"Reasoning about Dynamic Policies"

Riccardo Pucella, Northeastern University

Wednesday, February 8, 2006 at 10:00 A.M.

Room 506 (CIT 5th Floor)

People often need to reason about policy changes before they are adopted. For example, suppose a website manager knows that users want to enter her site without going through the welcome page. To decide whether or not to permit this, the wise manager will consider the consequences of modifying the policies (e.g., would this allow users to bypass all advertisements and legal notices?). Similarly, people often need to compare policies. For example, consider a person who wants to buy health insurance. Before choosing a provider, the customer will want to compare the different policies. In other words, the customer wants to reason about the effect of choosing one policy over another. To understand the kind of reasoning that occurs in such tasks, I will describe a logic, based on propositional dynamic logic, and show how to use it to formalize reasoning about policies. I will present some technical results about the logic that provide hints about the difficulty of reasoning about dynamic policies in general.

This is joint work with Vicky Weissman (Cornell University).


Riccardo Pucella is Assistant Professor in Computer Science at Northeastern University, where he explores applications of logic to computer science, especially security and uncertain reasoning. He has studied at Cornell University and McGill University, and spent time at Bell Labs and Microsoft Research in Cambridge.

Host: Shriram Krishnamurthi