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21 feb 2014
PhD Positions at Chalmers

5 Positions in Formal Methods, Functional Programming, and Information and Software/Web Security at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

Application deadline: March 31, 2014

The positions are intended to start in autumn 2014, but an earlier start could also be arranged.

Job description

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology invites applications for PhD positions in Formal Methods/Automated Reasoning, Functional Programming, and Information and Software/Web Security

1 PhD position in Formal Methods

The PhD student will join the Formal Methods group and contribute to its research on improving the quality of complex software systems. The Formal Methods group of Chalmers is an internationally recognised research group with a high-profile research track record and an excellent network of collaborators. The group's research focus is in the theoretical and practical aspects of formal software verification, including automated reasoning, interactive theorem proving, runtime verification, and test generation. Together with international collaborators, the group members co-developed widely recognised verification tools like KeY (www.key-project.org), Vampire (http://vprover.org), ALIGATOR (mtc.epfl.ch/software-tools/Aligator), and LARVA.

The research of the advertised PhD position will be in the area of Software Verification, with a strong focus on the creative use and development of automated reasoning techniques for software verification.  In particular, we are interested in designing and combining new methods in automated first-order theorem proving, satisfiability modulo theory solvers, symbolic computation, and program analysis for the generation and verification of complex program properties, such as invariants, interpolants, pre- and post-conditions.

Background in one or more of the following areas is expected: logic, formal methods, formal verification.

This position will be supervised by Prof. Laura Kovacs in the frame of her recently granted junior researcher project by the Swedish Research Council. Laura Kovacs is the main developer of the ALIGATOR tool and the co-developer of the world-leading theorem prover Vampire for applications of program analysis and verification.

1 PhD Position in Functional Programming

The PhD student will join the Chalmers Functional Programming (FP) Group, one of the leading groups in the field. The Chalmers FP Group has a strong interest in Embedded Domain Specific Languages, beginning with their work on Lava for hardware design. The focus of the advertised position is on returning to the problem of how to use Functional Programming to support hardware design and deterministic parallel programming.

We are particularly interested in the implementation of cryptographic algorithms. Our favoured platform is the open source Parallella board from Adapteva (http://www.adapteva.com/parallella-board/), which combines Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), two ARM cores and 16 or 64 cores connected in a grid. This small board promises high performance, low power computing, but the question of how best to program it is an interesting one. The new PhD student will work on the use of Functional Programming to enable programming of such highly parallel heterogeneous systems.

The ideal candidate for the position in Functional Programming will have a strong background in functional programming and at least one of hardware design and parallel programming.

The PhD student will be supervised by Prof. Mary Sheeran, who has long pioneered the combination of hardware design and functional programming, particularly working with her former students Koen Claessen and Satnam Singh. The work will be closely connected to the SSF funded project on Productivity and Performance through Resource Aware Functional Programming (http://www.cse.chalmers.se/~ms/SSF10Final.pdf).

1 PhD Position in Information Security

The PhD student will join the Chalmers Information Security group, working in the area of information and communication security with a focus on authentication problems in constrained settings. This is particularly important for applications involving mobile phones, wireless communication and RFID systems, which suffer from restrictions in terms of power resources, network connectivity, computational capabilities, as well as potential privacy issues. The overall aim of the announced PhD position will be to develop nearly optimal algorithms for achieving security and privacy while minimising resource use.

More concretely, part of the research will involve the analysis and development of authentication protocols in specific settings. This will include investigating resistance of both existing and novel protocols against different types of attacks, theoretically and experimentally. In addition to investigating established settings, such as RFID authentication, the research will also explore more general authentication problems, such as those that arise in the context of trust in social networks, smartphone applications and collaborative data processing. This will be done by grounding the work in a generalised decision-making framework. The project should result in the development of theory and authentication mechanisms for noisy, constrained settings that strike an optimal balance between reliable authentication, privacy-preservation and resource consumption.

Experience in one or more of cryptography, probability and statistics, decision and game theory are beneficial. Mathematical maturity is essential.

The PhD student will be supervised by Prof. Katerina Mitrokotsa and will have the chance to collaborate with well-known researchers in the area of information security. Some previous research related to this research project can be found here: http://www.cse.chalmers.se/~aikmitr/ . Katerina Mitrokotsa's research is currently funded by the European Commission and the Chalmers ICT Areas of advance.

Regarding this position application deadline is March 31, 2014 or until the position is filled so please register your application today.

2 PhD Positions in Software/Web Security

The PhD students will join a world-leading team of researchers on software security. Software is often the root cause of vulnerabilities in modern computing systems such as the web. By focusing on securing the software, we target principled security mechanisms that provide robust protection against large classes of attacks. The focus of the advertised positions is on the following directions of work:

- To design rich security policies for confidentiality, integrity and availability, as demanded by practical applications (such as web and mobile applications).

- To develop practical enforcement mechanisms for these policies in expressive programming languages (such as web and mobile languages). These enforcement mechanisms may combine static (for example, static program analysis-based) and dynamic (for example, run-time execution monitoring-based) techniques.

- To support the above with case studies in web-application security. In pursuing these goals, there are possibilities for collaboration with our high-profile academic and industrial partners. We run a number of ambitious projects with top international partners in academia and industry, including the European project WebSand on web application security: https://www.websand.eu/

These positions will be supervised by Prof. Andrei Sabelfeld, recipient of a number of recent awards, including SSF Advancement of Research Leaders award (2008), Chalmers Research Supervisor of the Year (2010), and ERC Starter/Consolidator (2012). Promotional video about the team's research on securing web applications: http://vimeo.com/82206652

Details about Employment

PhD student positions are limited to five years and normally include 20 per cent departmental work, mostly teaching duties.  Salary for the position is as specified in Chalmers' general agreement for PhD student positions.  Currently the starting salary is 26,250SEK a month before tax.  The positions are intended to start in fall 2014.

Suitable Background

Applicants should have a Master's Degree or corresponding degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or in a related discipline.  As for all PhD studies, a genuine interest and curiosity in the subject matter and excellent analytical and communication skills, both oral and written, are needed.

You may apply even if you have not completed your degree, but expect to do so before the position starts.  Knowledge of Swedish is not a prerequisite for applying since English is our working language for research, and we publish internationally.  Both Swedish and English are used in undergraduate courses.  Half of our researchers and PhD students at the department come from more than 30 different countries.

How to apply

The application should be written in English and include the following items:

1. An application of a maximum of one A4 page summarising your track record and providing your research statement
2. Attested copies of education certificates, including grade reports and other documents
3. Curriculum Vitae
4. Letters of recommendation and name of reference persons
5. Evidence of written work: research papers and theses

It is important to include parts of your own work such as theses and articles that you have authored or co-authored. Please notice also that it is highly recommended that you include letters of recommendation; we typically get a large number of applications, and it is not feasible for us to request individual letters.

The application should be submitted electronically by March 31, 2014, at:
- for the position in Formal Methods: http://www.chalmers.se/en/about-chalmers/vacancies/?rmpage=job&rmjob=1911
- for the position in Functional Programming: http://www.chalmers.se/en/about-chalmers/vacancies/?rmpage=job&rmjob=1912
- for the position in Information Security: http://www.chalmers.se/en/about-chalmers/vacancies/Pages/default.aspx?rmpage=job&rmjob=1816
- for the positions in Software/Web Security: http://www.chalmers.se/en/about-chalmers/vacancies/?rmpage=job&rmjob=1913

The selection of the specific research topic will take into account both the interests of the new PhD student and the research agenda of the respective group.

Contact persons for further information

Laura Kovacs <laura.kovacs@chalmers.se>, Formal Methods: http://www.cse.chalmers.se/~laurako/
Katerina Mitrokotsa <aikaterini.mitrokotsa@chalmers.se>, Information Security: http://www.cse.chalmers.se/~aikmitr/
Andrei Sabelfeld <andrei@chalmers.se>, Software/Web Security:  http://www.cse.chalmers.se/~andrei/
Mary Sheeran <mary.sheeran@chalmers.se>, Functional Programming: http://www.cse.chalmers.se/~ms/

The Department

The Department has about 70 faculty members and enrols about 90 PhD students from more than 30 countries. The research spans the whole spectrum, from theoretical foundations to applied systems development. There is extensive national and international collaboration with academia and industry all around the world. For more information, see http://www.chalmers.se/cse/EN/ .

Gothenburg, Sweden

Gothenburg is often referred to as the "heart of Scandinavia". The videos below give an impression what it's like to live and study in Gothenburg.

Live in Gothenburg: http://youtu.be/sbwVIQeGcdY

Study in Gothenburg: http://youtu.be/0WrlGlSyS1c