Red Hat Research Quarterly
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It is by now well understood that we humans are capable of creating systems that are more complex than we can understand.
I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about all the hard problems involved in managing large-scale systems. Why? Well, it turns out to be a really important topic for Red Hat Research and for the Red Hat engineering community that we hope to serve.
If a tree falls in the forest, but you can’t reproduce it, how do you know if it made a sound or not?
As we begin our third year of RHRQ I am in a celebratory mood—unusual, for 2021, but I think appropriate. I’ve just finished rereading our interview with Professor Anat Bremler-Barr of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel.
In The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker exhorts managers to push decision-making as close to individual workers—and as near to the last minute—as possible, an idea that has surprising parallels in computing.
This notion of time is what struck me as so interesting about this issue’s feature on constant-time cryptography. It turns out that a crypto implementation whose execution time varies depending on what you feed to it is inherently leaky. By looking at the inputs to a non-constant-time crypto function, an attacker can infer enough about the secret key the function depends on to guess the key, often trivially. Like a drummer who gets distracted by a solo and rushes or drags the time, the crypto function reflects back information about the secret it is protecting.
If you take a moment to look at open source – the process, the language and ways of thinking involved, the legal framework – you will quickly realize that it is quite similar to the model for the free advancement of knowledge and thinking that the world’s universities have developed over the last thousand years. […]
Three years ago, I opened my first column in the first issue of this magazine by expressing my sense of good fortune at being able to start something completely new: not just a magazine, but an entire organization devoted to research on computer infrastructure done entirely in open source. Looking back on it today through […]
I first met Boston University PhD student Alex Bulekov at Red Hat’s Boston office in the fall of 2018. At the time, I had very little idea of what a “fuzzer” was, let alone why building a better one would be a useful and noteworthy thing. (In case you, too, are ignorant on this topic, […]
Suppose I came to you and told you that your front door had a cheap deadbolt that could be opened with a credit card, and that lots of people who want to rob you would soon know about it. You’d probably thank me very much for the information as you left for the hardware store […]
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