Charles Zhang

Professor, Director of Cybersecurity Laboratory
Department of Computer Science and Engineering (direction)
The Hongkong University of Science and Technology
Room 3002A in CYT Building Tel: (852)23586997 Fax: (852)23581477

I am looking for experienced programmer to join the Clearblue team as research sicentists.

I am currently involved with the following:






[ Publications | Students | Teaching | Professional Activities | Bio | Fun]


  • Ling Hao's work received ASPLOS 2024 Best Paper Award!
  • Received ICSE 2024 Distinguished Reviewer award!
  • Congrats to Wensheng on successfully defending his PhD thesis!
  • Congrats to Yiyuan on his buffer overflow detection work accepted by ISSTA 24!
  • I will serve as the general chair of SPLASH 2025 to be held in Singapore.
  • Congrats to Chengpeng on successfully defending his PhD thesis!
  • Congrats to Zhouan's work on binary similarity detection being accepted by TOSEM!
  • Congrats to Hao Ling on his memory sanitization work accepted by ASPLOS 24!
  • Congrats to Zhou'an on his binary lifting work accepted by ASPLOS 24!
  • Congrats to Heqing on his 2nd S&P 2024 paper on drected fuzzing (again!). He will join the faculty of City University of Hong Kong.
  • Congrats to Yuandao on successfully defending his PhD thesis. He joins Huawei through the Talented Youth program.
  • Congrats to Yuandao on his USENIX Security 2024 paper, again, on call graph construction.
  • Congrats to Yuandao on his OOPSLA 2023 paper on call graph construction.
  • Congrats to Heqing on his S&P 2024 paper on fuzzing (again!).
  • Sourcebrella acquired by Ant Group after a four-year and incredible journey of commercializing Pinpoint!
  • Research
    My general reseach interest centers around the use of both static and dynamic programm analysis techniques for making complex software systems more secure and reliable.

    The 10-million-line static analysis statement: "to achieve all-sensitive precision and sublinear scalability while SIMULTANEOUSLY addressing the CODA requirements : achieve scalability by being continuous both in time, incremental, and in space, accumulative (Continuous); be open for defining customized source-code test cases through APIs or DSLs (Open); respect the fact that source code is largely unavailable(Dark code); understand assembled program dependency (Aassembled) introduced by frameworks and middleware.

    Our answer to these challenges is the Clearblue research project, a database-like software analysis platform. Clearblue analyzes software in its binary form with or without debug symbols, with or without sourcecode. It is capable, currently, of generating precise data flow information for Linux kernel, almost 30M lines of code, in 30 mins and materializes it on disk. Investigation tasks such as bug finding can be coded via the Clearblue API, on average, in 30 mins.


    Charles' research has received many awards and led to successful commercialization:ASPLOS 24 best paper, ICSE 24 distinguished reviewer, distinguished paper in OOPSLA 22, ICSE 19, PLDI 13. 2013 ACM SIGSOFT Best PhD Dissertation (student Jeff Huang), 2022 and 2021 Huawei Distinguished Collaborator, 2023 Ant Group Outstanding Collaboration, start-up Sourcebrella acquired by Ant Group.

    Recent Papers

    1. Chengpeng Wang, Jipeng Zhang, Rongxin Wu, Charles Zhang DAInfer: Inferring API Aliasing Specifications from Library Documentation via Neurosymbolic Optimization In FSE 2024: ACM International Conference on the Foundations of Software Engineering, Mon 15 - Fri 19 July 2024 Porto de Galinhas, Brazil, Brazil

    2. Bowen Zhang, Wei Chen, Peisen Yao, Chengpeng Wang, Wensheng Tang, Charles Zhang SIRO: Empowering Version Compatibility in Intermediate Representations via Program Synthesis In ASPLOS 2024: ACM Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems, San Diego, USA, April 27- May 1, 2024

    3. Yiyuan Guo, Peisen Yao, and Charles Zhang Precise Compositional Buffer Overflow Detection via Heap Disjointness In ISSTA 2024:The 33rd ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis, Vienna, Austria, 16-20 Sept, 2024

    4. Peisen Yao, Jinguo Zhou, Xiao Xiao, Qingkai Shi, Rongxin Wu, Charles Zhang Efficient Path-Sensitive Data Dependence Analysis for Millions of Lines of Code In PLDI 2024:The 45nd ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation, 24-28 June, 2024, Copenhagen, Denmark

    5. Chengfeng Ye, Yuandao Cai, Charles Zhang When Threads Meet Interrupts: Effective Static Detection of Interrupt-Based Deadlocks in Linux In USENIX Security 24:the 33nd USENIX Security Symposium, August 14-16, 2024, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    6. Anshunkang Zhou, Yikun Hu, Xiangzhe Xu, Charles Zhang ARCTURUS: Full Coverage Binary Similarity Analysis with Reachability-Guided Emulation, In ACM TOSEM:: ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, 2024

    7. Anshunkang Zhou, Chengfeng Ye, Heqing Huang, Yuandao Cai, Charles Zhang Plankton: Reconciling Binary Code and Debug Information, In ASPLOS 2024: ACM Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems, San Diego, USA, April 27- May 1, 2024

    8. Hao Ling, Heqing Huang, Chengpeng Wang, Yuandao Cai, Charles Zhang GIANTSAN: Efficient Memory Sanitization with Segment Folding, In ASPLOS 2024: ACM Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems, San Diego, USA, April 27- May 1, 2024

    9. Heqing Huang, Anshunkang Zhou, Mathias Payer, Charles Zhang, Everything is Good for Something: Counterexample-Guided Directed Fuzzing via Likely Invariant Inference, In S&P'24: The 45th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, San Francisco, USA, May 20-23, 2024

    10. J. Gong, W. Zhang, C. Zhang and T. Wang, WFDefProxy: Real World Implementation and Evaluation of Website Fingerprinting Defenses In TIFS: IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, doi: 10.1109/TIFS.2023.3327662.

    11. Rongxin Wu, Yuxuan He, Jiafeng Huang, Chengpeng Wang, Wensheng Tang, Qingkai Shi, Xiao Xiao, and Charles Zhang. LibAlchemy: A Two-Layer Persistent Summary Design for Taming Third-Party Libraries in Static Bug-Finding Systems. In ICSE 2024: 46th International Conference on Software Engineering, April 14-20, Lisbon, Portugal.

    12. Wensheng Tang, Dejun Dong, Shijie Li, Chengpeng Wang, Peisen Yao, Jinguo Zhou, and Charles Zhang. Octopus: Scaling Value-Flow Analysis via Parallel Collection of Realizable Path Conditions. In TOSEM: ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, 2023

    13. Yuandao Cai, Yibo Jin, Charles Zhang. Unleashing the Power of Type-Based Call Graph Construction by Using Regional Pointer Information, In USENIX Security 24:the 33nd USENIX Security Symposium, August 14-16, 2024, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    14. Heqing Huang, Peisen Yao, Hung-Chun Chiu, Yiyuan Guo, Charles Zhang. Titan : Efficient Multi-target Directed Greybox Fuzzing, In S&P'24: The 45th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, San Francisco, USA, May 20-23, 2024

    View all publications


    I am fortunate to work with the following students:

    In progress:

  • , Yongchao Wang, Yiyuan Guo, Maryam Masoudian, Anshunkang Zhou, Hao Ling, Chengfeng Ye, HongChun Chiu, Bowen Zhang, Yibo Jin, Wei Chen, Sixiang Peng, Bangyan DU, Yuheng Tang (RA),
  • Alumni with last known employment:
  • Wensheng Tang, Huawei
  • Chengpeng Wang, Post Doc, Purdue,
  • Yuandao Cai, Huawei
  • Heqing Huang(Post Doc), Post Doc, ETH
  • Peisen Yao , Assistant Professor, Zhejiang University
  • Jiajun Gong, Post Doc, NUS
  • Kexin Ma (M.Phil)
  • Qingkai Shi (Ph.D), Ant Financial
  • Gang Fan (Ph.D) , Staff Engineer, SourceBrella Inc., now at Ant Financial
  • Rongxin Wu (Post-Doc), Associate Professor, Xiamen University
  • Yepang Liu (Post-Doc), Assistant Professor, SUSTech
  • Richard Xiao (Ph.D, Post-Doc), SourceBrella Inc. (Founder, CEO), now at Ant Financial
  • Jinguo(Andy) Zhou (Post-Doc), SourceBrella Inc. (Co-Founder), now at Ant Financial
  • Qirun Zhang (Post Doc) Assistant Professor, Georgia Tech
  • Peng Liu (Ph.D), Researcher, IBM T.J.Watson Research Lab
  • Jeff Huang (Ph.D), Assitant Professor, Texas A&M University
  • Lingjie Huang (M.Phil)
  • Yushan Zhang (M.Phil), Software Engineer, Tencent
  • Bin Xu (M.Phil) Software Engineer, Facebook
  • Fan Yu(M.Phil), Software Engineer, Pinduoduo.
  • Teaching

    COMP3511: Operating Systems (Fall 2020)
    COMP4111: Software Engineering Practices(Spring 2020, Spring 2019, Spring 2018, Spring 2016)
    COMP3021: Java Programming (Spring 2024, 2023, 2022, Spring 2020, Fall 2015, Spring 2014; Spring, 2013; Spring 2012)
    COMP5111: Fundamentals of Software Analysis (Spring 2014; Spring, 2013; Spring 2011; Fall, 2009; Fall, 2008)
    COMP3111: Introduction to Software Engineerings (Fall 2019,Fall, 2014;Fall, 2011;Fall, 2010; Spring, 2010,Spring 2009)
    COMP610: Topics in Engineering Enterprise Middleware Platforms. (Spring, 2009)

    Professional Activities

    1. Editorial Services

      IEEE TSE: Associate Editor, 2015-2018

    2. Program Committee Services

      ASE:2022(TPC), 2018 (TPC),   2016(Demo),    2013 (TPC)
      ECOOP:    2016(ERC)
      FSE: 2022 (Industrial track), 2019 (TPC),    2014 (TPC, DS, SRC)     2012 (TPC, NIER)
      ICSE: 2024 TPC,   2014 (TPC)     2012 (Demo, SRC)     2009 (Demo)
      ISSTA: 2023 TPC,    2014 (TPC)     2012 (TPC)
      OOPSLA:     2015 (TPC)    2014 (ERC)     2012 (ERC)     2011 (TPC)
      VMCAI:    2018(PC)

    3. Chairs

      ISSTA:    2019 (Doctoral Symposium Co-Chair)
      ICSE:    2017 (SRC Co-Chair)
      ICSE:    2016 (Proceedings Chair)
      PLDI:    2012 (Pacific Publicity Chair)
      AOSD:    2013 (Demo Chair)
      APSEC:   2012 (Postgraduate Symposium Chair)
      InternetWare: 2014 (Co-Chair)

    4. Keynotes and inviated talks

      Invited Talk:, Finding good research problems, ICSE 2022 New Faculty Symposium, May 16, Pittsburgh, USA
      Keynote: Enterprise-Scale Static Analysis, The Second International Conference on Code Quality Sat 23 Apr 2022 Innopolis, Kazan, Russia
      Keynote: Enterprise-Scale Static Analysis: A Pinpoint Experience, Symposium on Dependable Software Engineering Theories, Tools and Applications, Beijing, China, Nov. 25-27, 2021
      Invited Talk:Enterprise-Scale Static Analysis: A Pinpoint Experience, Splash Rebase 2020:,Sun 15 - Sat 21 November 2020, online
      Invited Talk: Balancing teaching, service and research, ICSE 2020 New Faculty Symposium, July 14, 2020, online
      Keynote: Stop the bleeding from the heart, IEEE SCAM 2017: Source Code Analysis and Manipulation Working Conference, September 17-18, 2017, Shanghai, China

    Group Activities

    1. Group hiking of HKUST hills pic1 pic2 pic3 pic4 pic5
    2. Group Photos at HKUST or anywhere else pic1
    3. Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA (FSE 2010) pic1 pic2 pic3 pic4 pic5
    4. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA (ICSE 2011) pic1 pic2 pic3 pic4 pic5 pic6 pic7 pic8
    5. Toronto, Ontario, Canada (ISSTA 2011) pic1 pic2 pic3 pic4 pic5 pic6 pic7
    6. Venice, Italy, (SAS 2011) pic1 pic2 pic3 pic4 pic5


    Charles Zhang is a professor and the director of the Cybersecurity Lab in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). He likes using program analysis techniques to improve software reliability. He was an associate editor of IEEE TSE and served on many organizational and technical committees of leading international conferences. His research awards include the distinguished paper awards of PLDI, OOPSLA, and ICSE, as well as the ACM SIGSOFT Doctoral Dissertation Award. His notable industrial impact includes the commercialization of research through Sourcebrella, acquired by the Ant Group, the research collaboration award from Ant Group, and the first to win twice the Huawei distinguished collaborator award. He worked as a software engineer in Motorola Inc, an expert advisor to Huawei, and an expert security panelist of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. His research is supported by Research Grant Council, Innovation and Technology Fund, and grants from Huawei, Ant, Tencent, TCL, Microsoft, and IBM. Charles obtained his Ph.D, M.Sc, and B.Sc. with honours, all from University of Toronto.