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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

PhD student positions in Computer Science (including one in formal methods), Gothenburg, SWEDEN

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 follows:


* 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 
(, Vampire (, 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 (, 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 

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: . 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 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 

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:

*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: 
- 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 , Formal Methods:
Katerina Mitrokotsa , Information Security:
Andrei Sabelfeld , Software/Web Security:
Mary Sheeran , 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 .