[ecoop-info] 5 PhD Positions in Formal Methods, Functional Programming, and Information and Software/Web Security at the Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

Laura Kovacs laura.kovacs at chalmers.se
Mon Feb 17 10:16:00 CET 2014

5 PhD 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

Expected starting date of positions: September 1, 2014

*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, as

* 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

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 (


* 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.


* 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

- 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:

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

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

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:
- for the position in Functional Programming:
- for the position in Information Security:
- for the positions in Software/Web Security:

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

*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

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