Politics & Government

SWAMP People

The Software Assurance Marketplace aims to make computers more secure.

Filled with predatory hackers and cyber-spies, the Internet is a dangerous environment. To navigate it safely, software developers may want to take a trip to the SWAMP: the Software Assurance Marketplace, a new facility being launched at the Morgridge Institute for Research (MIR) on campus.

“There are people who want to take over the software on your computer and make it do things it’s not supposed to do and do you harm,” says Miron Livny, the UW professor of computer science who serves as the SWAMP’s director. “Our purpose is to help the community of software developers so that computers are safe from those kinds of attacks.”

Created through a $23.6 million contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the SWAMP offers a facility in which software products are tested for weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Led by staff at MIR, the SWAMP brings together experts from the UW, the University of Illinois, and Indiana University.

“This is a new and bold idea,” Livny says. “We’re creating a place where the software community — software developers, software assurance tool developers, and government — can share expertise and assistance.”

The SWAMP’s chief facility is the Continuous Software Assurance Lab, which will operate twenty-four hours a day to evaluate clients’ software products and tools — from individual applications to entire operating systems. Its goal is not only to protect the country’s online infrastructure, but also to create a space in which software assurance tool developers can evaluate and improve their products.

The Software Assurance Marketplace will be open for operation in January 2014.

Published in the Summer 2013 issue


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