Tectonics 2023: a Productive Convening to Accelerate Memory Safety

Josh Aas
Nov 3, 2023

Tectonics Event - November 2, San Francisco

We are so pleased to share that Tectonics was an invigorating and productive convening on how to advance memory safety. Leaders like Window Snyder, Doug Gregor, David Weston, and Fiona Krakenb├╝rger joined many others for a day-long conversation. We are grateful to everyone who joined us.

A few initial observations struck me from the day's conversations:

  1. We set out to make yesterday's conversation a "2.0", which moved past the discussion of the problem to focus on solutions. I was pleased with how many stories of experience were shared; it was a reminder of how much great progress has already been made.

  2. There were perspectives coming from practitioners, policy makers, advocacy folks, and people in a position to make engineering priority decisions, and participants really valued hearing how others are using their skills and energy to tackle this enormous challenge.

  3. Improving memory safety is not just a technological challenge. The day's conversations were a good reminder that people are at the heart of changing how security-sensitive software is written, used, and thought about.

We made a decision early on in the planning of Tectonics to create a format that allowed for in-depth conversation by breaking attendees into three-hour tracks focused on a specific topic. We'd like to especially thank our track leaders, Alex Gaynor, Paul Kehrer, Bob Lord, Eric Mill, Siddarth Pandit, Arlie Davis, Dirkjan Ochtman, and Florian Gilcher, whose guidance made the track format so productive.

We'd also like to thank our event sponsors, Ford Foundation, Google, Tweede golf, and Heroku for making this day possible.

Our next step for Tectonics will be to compile pages of notes from the day into a series of readouts that we'll publish in the weeks ahead. To be sure you receive these and other updates from ISRG, subscribe to our newsletter.

All of our work, including Tectonics, is made possible thanks to financial support from the people and companies who value better security and privacy for the Internet. Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) is the parent organization of Prossimo, Let's Encrypt, and Divvi Up. ISRG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. If you'd like to support our work, please consider getting involved, donating, or encouraging your company to become a sponsor.