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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X015831/1
Title: Capabilities for Coders
Principal Investigator: Singer, Dr J
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
ARM Ltd
Department: School of Computing Science
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 April 2022 Ends: 30 September 2023 Value (£): 102,787
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Computer Sys. & Architecture Software Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The 'Capabilities for Coders' project involves the creation and curation of a set of freely available Morello coding resources for system developers. Standard developer behaviour involves interactive searching through online forums like StackOverflow and web tutorials like W3Schools. Currently there are no relevant targeted resources available for the Arm Morello system, and very few sites covering CHERI concepts in a developer-friendly style. This project will set up a one-stop shop for Morello programming, in the form of an open-access, online, interactive textbook called 'Capabilities for Coders'. This will be in the best tradition of programming language books - written by coders for coders. The unique appeal of this learning resource will be the inclusion of a large set of open-source code templates and fragments, effectively a library of reusable software samples for Morello applications written in C and C++ with assembler code where necessary.

The textbook and accompanying code samples will serve to enrich understanding of the current and evolving Morello stacks, providing support for existing developers and new arrivals in this domain. Because the learning resources are hosted online, it will be straightforward to keep them up-to-date (unlike hardcopy textbooks). Because the learning resources will be developed using the github platform, any user will be able to submit corrections and change requests. This will ensure the ongoing relevance of the project as the Morello technology evolves over time.

The project outputs will be open-access and freely available online. There will be no registration requirement or paywall. The site will be indexed by all major search engines. The resources will be clear, globally visible and highly accessible. These resources will provide direct, immediate benefit to the Morello ecosystem of developers.

At this stage, it is not possible to give a full table of contents for the online textbook. However, topics broadly covered will include: motivating the need for memory safety in systems code, hardware capabilities for memory safety, motivating compartmentalization in modern systems software, hardware capabilities for compartments, porting legacy applications to Morello, debugging capability-based code, performance engineering for capability-based code, and future directions. Each topic will be accompanied by an extensive range of open-source code examples to illustrate the various concepts. These software samples will be easily reusable by developers in their own code projects.

Additionally, the 'Capabilities for Coders' project will serve the community by posting relevant answers on StackOverflow and producing a podcast series.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk