Individual Projects

In addition to our periodically scheduled project courses (see right column), you can also participate in a number of individual and group projects. Depending on your program and its exam regulation, these can be credited as a master project module. Please contact us for details. Note that some of the proposed project works are also offered as Bachelor's or Master's  thesis. Size and difficulty will be adapted to the kind of work that is finally done.

“User interface for the in.Crease person and committee module,” Projectarbeit, F. J. Hauck (Supervisor), F. J. Hauck (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2023 – Open.
in.Crease ist ein geplantes Informationssystem für Studierende. In Vorarbeiten wurde bereits ein Modul entworfen, um Personen und Gremien zu verwalten und geeignet darszustellen. Ziel dieses Projekts ist es die Anforderungen an die Darstellung von Personen und Gremien zu überarbeiten und neu zusammen zu stellen. Auch das Datenmodell soll auf Vollständigkeit und Konsistenz abgeklopft werden. Im Anschluss sollen UI-Elemente sowie entsprechende Berechtigungen für die einzelnen Use-Cases implementiert werden - je nach Umfang eventuell nur eine Teilmenge von wichtigen Use-Cases. Zu den Use-Cases gehören nicht nur lesende Zugriffe in Form von geeigneten Anzeigeelementen sondern auch Editier-, Anlege- und Löschfunktionen. Die Arbeit hat damit einen konzeptionellen Anteil sowie einen Implementierungsanteil, der mit TypeScript und Angular in Verbindung mit einem Redux-Store.
“Tracking updates in BFT-SMaRt for the SMRteez framework,” Project, F. J. Hauck (Supervisor), F. J. Hauck (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2023 – Open.
In the institute, there is an own framework for replicated state machines, a concept to implement fault-tolerant services. Our framework is called SMRteez and based on BFT-SMaRt, a mature and popular framework written in Java. SMRteez has a different internal structure compared to BFT-SMaRt. However, many classes are identical or have only slight changes. Goal of this project is to track which classes of SMRteez are actually very close to BFT-SMaRt. This could be annotated in a machine-readable format in the source. Further, a tool shall be developed that can automatically identify software updates in BFT-SMaRt as long as these affect derived classes in SMRteez. If there is room, the tooling can be extended to allow supervised updates of SMRteez classes based on updates in BFT-SMaRt.
“Quantification of the Impact of Floating Point Errors in Subjective Logic,” Master's thesis or Project, J. Dispan (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2023 – Open.
Subjective Logic (SL) is a mathematical framework for reasoning under uncertainty. It is useful for expressing opinions on how reliable information is (so-called Trust Opinions) and performing computations on these opinions. At our institute, we research applications of SL in the automotive domain, e.g. to express trust in data received from a sensor or from other vehicles. Current implementations of SL internally use floating-point arithmetic (IEEE 754) for performing calculations. However, IEEE 754 floating-point numbers are prone to introducing rounding errors. In safety-critical domains, failing to account for such errors might lead to catastrophic consequences. In this thesis/project, you will investigate the potential impact of floating-point errors in SL calculations and develop strategies to minimise it. You can choose your approach freely: whether you work theoretically (e.g. through a detailed study of literature) or practically (e.g. through implementing a test environment and explaining the observed effects) is up to you.
“Implementation and measurement of the ByTI algorithm,” Project, F. J. Hauck (Supervisor), F. J. Hauck (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2023 – Open.
In research work, we designed an extension for replicated state machines, a concept for fault-tolerant service provisioning. The designed algorithm called ByTI allows for deterministic measurements of the number of requests within a given time interval. Such measurements are necessary for automatic reconfigurations of adaptive algorithms within a replicated state machine. This project is supposed to implement the algorithmic design into our state-machine framework called SMRteez. Besides, it is supposed to evaluate the precision of the measurements in a practical setting. Further, the student may analyse the proposed algorithm and evaluate or even design alternate versions. Depending on the remaining work time ByTI could be extended to support deterministic wall-clock time stamps and deterministic random numbers, both aspects that would make state-machine replication more usable in practice. Having heart the FTDS lecture is of benefit but no pre-requisit.
“Evaluating Subjective Trust Networks through Secure Multiparty Computation,” Project or Bachelor or Master's thesis, J. Dispan (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2023 – Open.
In the future, vehicles will exchange information regarding the current traffic situation and planned maneuvers. While this has the potential to improve safety and fuel efficiency though cooperative driving, it opens up a novel attack vector: malicious actors might inject incorrect information, which could lead to accidents and thus poses a serious threat to safety. One approach to mitigate such attacks makes use of Subjective Trust Networks: vehicles form Trust Opinions on other vehicles, which are expressed using Subjective Logic and stored in a graph structure. Different vehicles can merge their Trust Networks in order to gain a more complete picture of the trustworthiness of their communication partners and make more informed decisions. However, privacy and safety considerations forbid that different vehicles simply exchange their trust networks. This thesis/project should investigate the feasibility of merging an evaluating Subjective Trust Networks using Secure Multiparty Computation (SMPC). For this, it is first necessary to precisely define the task at hand: Which calculations must be performed under SMPC in order to protect confidential information? Which information cannot be protected? Second, a prototype for an example scenario in which vehicles merge and evaluate their trust Networks should be implemented using a suitable framework for SMPC. Third, benchmarks should be performed that show the (non-)applicability of SMPC for the described use-case.
“A Performance Evaluation of Gramine,” Project, A. Heß (Supervisor), F. J. Hauck (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2023 – Open.
Intel SGX is a technology that allows to launch tamper-proof enclaves in main memory, which isolate parts of applications that deal with sensitive data. There is a broad spectrum of application scenarios, ranging from fault-tolerant systems to privacy-preserving machine learning approaches. Intel provides a native SDK that can be used to derive low-level wrapper functions from a function definitions provided in a DSL, which are then used to interact with the protected parts of the application applications. However, the SDK requires special care during the design process as well as C/C++ programming skills, in order to create a bulletproof interface to the enclave. The Gramine project promises to simplify the SGX application development process by providing functionality to wrap unmodified linux applications in Intel SGX enclaves. Since this approach trades in performance for usability, the goal of this project is to conduct a performance evaluation for different applications launched natively and wrapped with Gramine.
“Comparison and Implementation of HTTPS-based Service Function Chaining Proof of Transit Solutions.,” Project, B. Leonard (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2022 – Open.
Service Function Chaining (SFC) is a technice to steer traffic through specific network services. To proof that the traffic was actually forwarded through the specified services, a Proof Of Transit (PoT) is used. In this project, different PoT approaches are compared and the most promising solution implemented in a HTTPS-based SFC environment.
“Zero Trust SFC enabled HTTP based Multi Factor Authentication,” Projectarbeit, L. Bradatsch (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2020 – Open.
Since Google introduced their BeyondCorp project, Zero Trust (ZT) is one of the most popular buzzwords in the area of network security. In a ZT network, Policy Enforcement Point (PEP) and Policy Decision Point (PDP) are responsible for central authentication and authorization (Auth*). Both mentioned components and conventional security functions such as firewalls work largely independently of each other when it comes to processing packets. This leads to inefficient scenarios in which all packets are processed by time- consuming security functions. By coupling the conventional security functions to the PEP/PDP, higher efficiency in security-relevant packet processing can be achieved. This can be achieved by leveraging the Service Function Chaining (SFC) approach. SFC allows the dynamic chaining of conventional network service functions such as HTTP header enricher or firewalls. For each network flow can be decided what service function should be applied to all the flow's packets. The PEP/PDP in a ZT network acts then as the orchestrator, decides about the functions that should be chained together. By doing this, it can be efficiently decided which function should be applied. The goal of the project is to implement one of the thus orchestrated security service functions namely a Multi Factor Authenticator (MFA) that is embedded in a already existing Zero Trust SFC prototype. The MFA must be HTTP based and written in Go. Requirements: Good knowledge of Go and security protocols).
“Applications for the LoRaPark Ulm,” Project, F. Kargl (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2020 – Open.

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Marion Köhler
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Institute of Distributed Systems
Ulm University
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