Research Agenda

Our research focuses on software and systems security. Despite efforts and improvements in bug discovery techniques, some exploitable vulnerabilities will remain. We target techniques that both enable developers to discover and remove bugs and make programs resilient against the exploitation of unknown or unpatched vulnerabilities.

To discover bugs we propose (i) sanitization techniques that enforce a security property such as memory or type safety; given concrete program input, our sanitizers then flag any property violations and (ii) fuzzing techniques that leverage static and dynamic analysis to create program inputs to explore program areas that are not yet covered through existing test cases. To protect against exploitable vulnerabilities, we focus on control-flow integrity using specific language semantics, enforcing type integrity, and protecting selective data. Under this premise, we focus on compiler-based, runtime-based, and language-based protection mechanisms and security policies that increase the resilience of applications against attacks (in the presence of software vulnerabilities). All prototypes are released as open-source and we release talks on YouTube.

Key Topics

software security, system security, sanitization, software testing, fuzzing mitigation, fault isolation, compartmentalization.

Frequently Asked Questions

Interested in joining HexHive? Read the advice for prospective students and send Mathias an email.
If you are an EPFL student and looking for a BSc, MSc, or PhD semester project, check out the project page.
Interested in Capture the Flag? Come play with the (EPFL) polygl0ts.

Meet the members of the HexHive

Mathias Payer
Associate Professor

Marcel Busch
Post Doc

Flavio Toffalini
Post Doc

Qiang Liu
Post Doc

Nicolas Badoux
PhD Candidate

Luca Di Bartolomeo
PhD Candidate

Florian Hofhammer
PhD Candidate

Andrés Sanchez
PhD Candidate

Tao Lyu
PhD Candidate

Zhiyao Feng
PhD Candidate

Chibin Zhang
PhD Candidate

Philipp Mao
PhD Candidate

Han Zheng
PhD Student, EPFL

Natascha Fontana
Administrative Assistant

Qinying Wang
Visiting Student

Duo Xu
MSc Scholar

Zurab Tsinadze
MSc Scholar

Zheyu Ma
Visiting Student

Ren Zezhong
Visiting Student

Graduated PhD students and Post Docs

Adrian Herrera
ANU PhD '24
First job: Interrupt Labs

Atri Bhattacharyya
EPFL PhD spring '24

Gwangmu Lee
Post Doc, spring '22 to spring '24
First job: CSCS Swiss National Supercomputing Centre

Ahmad Hazimeh
EPFL PhD spring '24
First job: BugScale

Prashast Srivastava
Purdue PhD spring '23
First job: post doc at Columbia

Derrick McKee
Purdue PhD spring '22
First job: MIT LL

Daniele Antonioli
Post Doc, spring '20 to summer '21
First job: asst prof at EURECOM

Hui Peng
Purdue PhD spring '21
First job: Baidu Research

Priyam Biswas
Purdue PhD fall '20
First job: Intel Research

Yuseok Jeon
Purdue PhD summer '20
First job: asst prof at UNIST

Naif Almakhdhub
Purdue PhD spring '20
(co-advised by Saurabh Bagchi)
First job: asst prof at KSU

Abe Clements
Purdue PhD spring '19
(co-advised by Saurabh Bagchi)
First job: Sandia National Labs

Kyriakos Ispoglou
Purdue PhD spring '19
First job: Google

Nathan Burow
Purdue PhD fall '18
First job: MIT LL

Terry Hsu
Purdue PhD spring '18
(co-advised by Patrick Eugster)
First job: Apple

Scott Carr
Purdue PhD spring '17
First job: Northrop Grumman

Ahmed Hussein
Purdue PhD fall '16
(co-advised by Tony Hosking)
First job: Huawei

Past visitors and researchers:

  • Yishun Zeng (visiting PhD student from Tsinghua University, spring '23 and fall '23)
  • Zhiyuan Jiang (virtual visiting PhD student from NUDT and frequent collaborator '21, '22, '23)
  • Jianhao Xu (visiting PhD student from Nanjing University, fall '22 and spring '23)
  • Manuel Egele (visiting faculty during his sabbatical from BU, fall '21 and spring '22)
  • Hossein Moghaddas (MSc research scholar, fall '21 and spring '22)
  • Han Zheng (visiting PhD student from University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, spring '22 and fall '22)
  • Qiang Liu (visiting PhD student from Zhejiang University, fall '21 and spring '22)
  • Majid Salehi (visiting PhD student from KU Leuven, fall '21)
  • Anil Kurmus (visiting researcher, fall '19)
  • Alessandro Di Federico (visiting PhD student, fall '16)

A selection of undergraduate and graduate student projects

  • Luca DiBartolomeo (MSc thesis, fall '20)
  • Matteo Rizzo (MSc thesis, fall '19)
  • Sushant Dinesh (PhD student/MSc thesis, graduated spring '19)
  • Ammar Askar (undergraduate term project, spring '16)


B√Ętiment BC 160
Station 14
CH-1015 Lausanne
Office:BC 160 (Mathias)
Lab:BC 159

Directions: You can reach the BC building by metro m1 (stop "EPFL") or bus 701 (stop "Parc scientifique").
There is (very) limited parking next to BC. The HexHive offices are on the first floor of BC in the east.