Dr. Perry Alexander

The University of Kansas

Perry Alexander


Artists, Music and Gear

I keep a blog where I describe some of the artists and music I listen to and the stereo gear that I use for playback. I find it exceedingly difficult to find new music that I enjoy. My interests are pretty eclectic ranging from jazz through indie pop and folk to ska with about everything in between. Although the web has changed things for the better, it’s still difficult to find new artists that I like.

I also tend to be a bit of a gear-head - I like listening and learning about home audio gear. I have also put together some advice for first time high-end stereo buyers. To make a long story short, I’m a big fan of ATI, Bryston and Classe amplification, Benchmark DACs, Grado, Entymotic and Sennheiser headphones. I also have Snell type C/V speakers and CAL digital sources that I love, but both of those companies have since been purchased and killed off. Visit the blog and select the music keyword for artists and music or the gear keyword for info on playback systems. Taste is personal – your mileage will vary.

Great Band Names

In my travels I’ve come up with some really geat band names, none of which will ever be used. I’m going to list a few here. If you want to use one for your band, please do let me know. I would be deeply honored.


I started my University studies at The University of Kansas majoring in Trumpet Performance. I had every intent of becoming a jazz musician, but something happened along the way. A great deal of it was realizing what it meant to be a professional musician and realizing the danger of making your avocation your vocation. I ended up receiving the BSCS and BSEE degrees in 1986, continuing to perform in ensembles throughout my undergraduate studies.

From there I joined the Telecommunication and Information Sciences Lab (TISL) at KU working on the COEDS project, developing a CAD system for evaluating telecommunications systems with respect to electromagnetic compatibility. Funny thing is that prior to COEDS I ranted quite a bit about how much I hated electromagnetics, telecommunications and Lisp, and how I would never need to know any of them. During this project, I was exposed to two things that continue to play an important role in my research - functional programming and systems engineering. I received the MSEE degree in 1988 and the PhD in 1992, both under Dr. Gary Minden.

After completing my PhD, I left KU and Kansas, joining the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Cincinnati. While at UC I began to pursue interests in formal methods and automated software engineering. I founded and directed the Knowledge-Based Software Engineering Laboratory and worked on several DARPA and AFRL funded research projects. I also began integrating formal methods into undergraduate computer engineering courses, receiving some national attention for that effort.

After 8 great years at Cincinnati, I moved back to Kansas as an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a principal investigator with the Information and Telecommunications Technology Center. In 2005 I was promoted to Professor. My interests in formal methods continued and with David Barton and Peter Ashenden, I developed the Rosetta systems-level specification language. We published one book with Morgan Kaufman and the beginnings of an IEEE standard and while the ideas behind Rosetta live on in systems engineering languages like AADL and SySML, the Rosetta effort ended in the mid 2000s. I continue to find myself looking at language interpreters and ways of mixing computational models during analysis activities, as well as traditional analysis activities.

Now we work at the intersection of formal methods and remote attestation. I initially worked on verification of a trusted system virtual platform built using the Xen infrastructure and then on moving trusted computing into the cloud. I was lead PI on the University of Kansas NSA Science of Security Lablet where we continued developing verified trusted computing semantics and infrastructure. Other Science of Security projects at KU examined IoT privacy, resilience ontology and epistemology, side channel attack resistance, and secure native binary execution. I was also PI on the DARPA CASE effort with Collins Aerospace developing verified trusted computing infrastructure for a UAV ground station.

Work with NSA on trusted systems continues as a part of the Trusted Systems Virtual Institute. We continue to expand attestation capabilies by develping a semantics for evidence, a taxonomy of flexible attestation mechanisms, and performing empirical case studies.

Among my interdisciplinary adventures is working through a gift from Ripple’s University Blockchain Initiative (UBRI) to explore various aspects of blockchain and its impacts. I am working with biodiversity researchers to tokenize biological data, working with artists and writers to explore social impacts, and developing tools to protect blockchain infrastructure.

Notes and Quotes

Never trust anyone who doesn’t like Steely Dan.


It is easier to write a new code than understand an old one.

John von Neumann in 1952

It is of course important that some efforts be made to verify the correctness of assertions that are made about a routine. There are essentially two types of methods available, the theoretical and the experimental. In the extreme form of the theoretical method a watertight mathematical proof is provided for the assertion. In the extreme form of the experimental method, the routine is tried out on the machine with a variety of initial conditions and is pronounced fit if the assertions hold in each case.

Alan Turing (quoted by D. MacKenzie in Risk and Reason)

… It is an error to believe that rigor in the proof is the enemy of simplicity. On the contrary, we find it confirmed by numerous examples that the rigorous method is at the same time the simpler and the more easily comprehended. The very effort for rigor forces us to find out simpler methods of proof. It also frequently leads the way to methods which are more capable of development than the old methods of less rigor.

David Hilbert, International Congress of Mathematics, Paris, 1900

…shootin fools and starry gazers, wizard hip and button down,
I walk the Occam razor way through priests and circus clowns,
am I a missioner of faith or grace or vision or another grinning prisoner of Happytown?

Dave Carter, Happytown

It’s mathematics, son! You can argue with me, but you can’t argue with figures!

Foghorn Leghorn

If anybody wants to keep creating, they have to be about change.

Miles Davis

If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.


It is easier to be gigantic than beautiful

Friedrich Nietzsche

‘The best thing for being sad,’ replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, ‘is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then – to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you.’

T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Without music, life would be a mistake.

Friedrich Nietzsche

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is Music.

Aldous Huxley

The small man
Builds cages
For everyone
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the

Shams-ud-din Muhammad (Hafiz)