Willard Rafnsson

Assistant Professor
IT University of Copenhagen

Research Interests

My goal is to enable developers to write, at scale, trustworthy software that satisfies high-level security requirements.

My research is on language-based security. I build foundations for computer security by advancing and applying techniques and tools from programming-language theory and formal methods, such as program analysis and program transformation.


I am an Assistant Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU). I am a member of the Center for Information Security and Trust (CISAT) , as well as the Programming, Logic and Semantics (PLS) and Software Quality Research (SQUARE) groups.

I was a visiting researcher at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in the School of Computer Science in the summer of 2022, hosted by Stephanie Balzer.

I was a Postdoc at Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS), hosted by Deepak Garg, and at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) CyLab, hosted by Limin Jia and Lujo Bauer. I did my PhD at Chalmers in the security lab, supervised by Andrei Sabelfeld.


My publications, in reverse-chronological order:



I appear in public media:

I create course material for SikkerCyber, a free online learning course on cybersecurity, aimed at employees in small- and medium-sized enterprises. (funded by Industriens Fond).


I teach at the IT University of Copenhagen. Demonstration: 1, 2.



I created an Information Flow module in Advanced Security , created courses on Security , Introductory Programming , Information Theory , and Functional Programming, been course manager of an Algorithms course, and been TA in Cryptography, Concurrent Programming, Testing & Verification, Computability & Complexity, Formal Languages & Automata, Discrete Mathematics, Computer Organization, and Object-Oriented Programming.

I am appointed external examiner ("censor") for the Computer Science Censor Core ("Censorkorpset i Datalogi"), by the Danish Ministry for Education and Research ("Uddannelses- og Forskningsministeriet"). Here is my page.


I supervise student research- and thesis-projects.

I only supervise projects which I am highly enthusiastic about, and which will likely lead to a research paper. Are you a student interested in writing a project with me? Make sure my research agenda overlaps with your interest, then set up a meet.