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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

Three PhD studentships in Mathematical Foundations of Computation, Bath (U.K.)

*** Three-year PhD Studentships from October 2014 at the University of Bath ***

 Research team:
      Mathematical Foundations of Computation
      (Proofs, Categories, Semantics, Geometry and Computer Algebra)

      University of Bath

 Potential supervisors:
      Russell Bradford
      Paola Bruscoli
      James Davenport
      Alessio Guglielmi
      Willem Heijltjes
      Jim Laird
      Guy McCusker
      John Power
      Nicolai Vorobjov

 To apply, including information on prerequisites:

 50th Anniversary Excellence Studentship for an Overseas Research Student:
      12 December 2013 is the application deadline

 We offer PhD positions to brilliant graduates with an interest in 
mathematics and theoretical computer science.

 Proofs and algorithms are everyday objects in our discipline, but they are 
still very mysterious. Suffice to say that we are currently unable to 
decide whether two given proofs or two given algorithms are the same; this 
is an old problem that dates back to Hilbert. Also, proofs and algorithms 
are intimately connected in the most famous open problem in mathematics: P 
vs NP.

 We make progress by trying to unveil the fundamental structure behind 
proofs and algorithms, what we call their semantics. In other words, we 
are interested in the following questions:

      What is a proof?
      What is an algorithm?
      How can we define them so that they have efficient and natural 

 The questions above are interesting in their own right, but we note that 
answering them will enable technological advances of great impact on the 
society and the economy. For example, it will be possible to build a 
worldwide, universal tool for developing, validating, communicating and 
teaching mathematics. Also, quickly producing provably bug-free and secure 
software will become possible, so solving one of the most complex and 
important open engineering problems.

 In order to understand proofs and algorithms we create new mathematics 
starting from proof theory and semantics and utilising, among other tools, 
category theory and algebraic geometry. These theories are closely 
related, they benefit from mutual interaction and they are well 
represented in our team. The methods we use are mostly discrete, algebraic 
and combinatorial, but there is a growing geometrical component. The 
recent advances which our methods are mostly based on are linear logic, 
game semantics and deep inference on the logic side, and regular chains, 
cylindrical algebraic decomposition and monotone sets on the 
algebra/geometry side.

 Last year three new PhD students joined us, each fully covered by a 
scholarship, from the University of Cambridge, ETH Zurich and Universit 
Paris VII. Our group is very well financed via several grants. Thanks to 
our international relations, working with us means having a truly 
multicultural experience together with all the researchers at the 
forefront of this worldwide research effort. As a result, all our 
graduates work and publish at the highest level. The facilities at the 
University of Bath are outstanding and the city is so beautiful that 
UNESCO recognises it as a World Heritage Site.

 The best applicants who are nationals from outside the European Union will 
be considered for some of ten "50th Anniversary Excellence Studentships 
for Overseas Research Students". The scholarships cover the full overseas 
fee, a stipend and a training support grant for three years. In other 
words, if you manage to win one of these scholarships you will be able to 
obtain an excellent PhD and maintain yourself without the need for any 
extra money. To be considered you need to apply before the deadline 
indicated above.

 There will be other scholarships, for which the deadline above does not 
apply, that will cover all or part of the tuition fees. The details of 
these scholarships will be known later in the year, but you can apply and 
indicate if you need financial support right now.

 To obtain more information and to apply, please follow the link above and 
choose the PhD programme in Computer Science. Feel free to contact Alessio 
Guglielmi (A.Guglielmi AT Bath.Ac.UK) for any questions about a PhD in 
Proofs, Categories and Semantics, or contact James Davenport 
(J.H.Davenport AT Bath.Ac.UK) for a PhD in Geometry and Computer Algebra.