Fully-funded PhD studentship on weak-memory concurrency (University of Kent)

with Mark Batty, Research Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The UK Research Institute in Verified Trustworthy Software Systems and the UK's National Cyber Security Centre have provided a fully funded 3.5-year PhD scholarship (for UK/EU students) to work on concurrency, programming languages and formal methods in Mark Batty's group at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK. Applications are due by the 26th April 2019.

The post is suited to a wide range of applicants with formal or practical skills: you will join a team that spans theory (formal semantics, verification, proof) and practice (tool building, concurrent programming, compilation).

The project will focus on concurrency in mainstream programming languages where our work has found fundamental problems and made changes to the C and C++ standards through the International Standards Organisation (ISO). The specifications of Languages like C/C++ and Java do not adequately describe when the programmer can rely on the compiler to leave program dependencies in place, or when the optimiser is free to remove them. Removing dependencies can lead to unexpected concurrency behaviour as it enables speculative execution on the processor. Industry bodies like the ISO know that their specifications are broken and keenly await a fix. We have a fix, and we are building tools and verification techniques around it. The PhD project focusses on this area of research.

This research is part of PLAS, one of the largest programming languages research groups in Europe. It is currently ranked 17th worldwide by the independent CSrankings website: http://csrankings.org/#/index?plan&world. We provide a supportive environment for research and we have a vibrant postgraduate population. We encourage our students to engage with the wider research community through attending conferences and taking internships with leading industrial companies. We are located in Canterbury, a lively and cosmopolitan historic town with convenient travel links to London and Europe.

Application process:

  1. Contact Mark Batty by email (m.j.batty@kent.ac.uk) including a brief CV (preferably by the first week of April 2019).
  2. Submit a formal application through the university admission system by the 26th April 2019. Your application should include a completed online admission form; the name and contact details of two referees; an original document providing confirmation of your degree (or a transcript if the degree is not yet awarded). For non-native English speakers, a certificate of competence in English is required at IELTS 6.5 or higher, with no element less than 6.0 (or equivalent).

Mark Batty's web page: https://www.cs.kent.ac.uk/people/staff/mjb211/

Programming Languages and Systems Group: https://www.cs.kent.ac.uk/research/groups/plas/index.html

Applications process: https://www.cs.kent.ac.uk/research/studyingforaphd/howtoapply.html

The studentship covers UK/EU fees, a travel budget and a stipend for 3.5 years. There is an option to teach, but no requirement. Non-EU students are welcome to apply but are subject to higher fees and would need to find funding for the difference.