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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

Two PhD student positions on "Programming Language Components and Specifications", LONDON/ SWANSEA

Contact: A.Johnstone@rhul.ac.uk

-PLanCompS: Programming Language Components and Specifications -Two fully-funded, full time PhD studentships -Royal Holloway and Swansea

Applications are invited for two PhD studentships in connection with a joint EPSRC research project:

  A.  Modularisation and multi-phase translation
      Centre for Software Language Engineering
      Royal Holloway, University of London

  B.  Foundations of component-based language specification
      Department of Computer Science
      Swansea University

Candidates from the UK, EU and overseas are welcome to apply.

*** Application deadline: 31st May 2011 ***

ABOUT THE PLANCOMPS PROJECT [www.plancomps.org] ===============================================

This exciting and highly ambitious project will develop and test a novel component-based framework
for the design, specification and implementation of programming languages.
It includes:
  * Specification of a collection of highly reusable language
    components called funcons (fundamental constructs);
  * Translation of major general-purpose programming languages
    (C#, Java, F#) and domain-specific languages to funcons;
  * Validation of funcon and language specifications by testing
    generated prototype implementations;
  * Design and implementation of an Integrated Development
    Environment (IDE) for component-based specification; and
  * Creation of a digital library of language specifications.
PLanCompS is currently recruiting (preferably post-doctoral) research assistants as well as PhD students.


  A. Modularisation and multi-phase translation

This PhD student will conduct research into the use of modular grammars described in the LDT 
formalism and into applications of Tear-Insert-Fold (TIF) annotations to Context Free Grammars.
The TIF operators allow (i) a limited set of local tree-rewrites to be applied to a derivation 
tree and (ii) a new grammar (the TIF-Transformed Grammar, or TTG) which describes the transformed 
trees.  The TTG could be used to automatically generate tree walkers, and as the input to a further
phase of processing. Our goal is to ease the development of Domain Specific Language translators 
for non-expert users. Prior knowledge of the LDT and TIF formalisms is not required, but a 
familiarity with context free parser generators is desirable.

  B. Foundations of component-based language specification

This PhD student will carry out foundational research related to the semantic specification 
frameworks used in the project, and will be supervised by Professor Peter Mosses.This theoretical 
research will extend and refine the semantic formalisms used for specifying funcons. We aim to 
give an I-MSOS for a revised version of the action notation used in action semantics, prove various
algebraic laws for action notation, investigate how to specify continuation-handling constructs 
in I-MSOS, and integrate the notation, modular structure and foundations of the I-MSOS and action 
semantic formalisms. We will also develop I-MSOS bisimulation theory. Prior knowledge of action 
semantics and I-MSOS is not required, but familiarity with some form of structural operational 
semantics is desirable.


  * Candidates should have a first or upper-second (2:1) class
    honours degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science or a
    closely related area.
  * Candidates from the UK, EU and overseas are welcome to apply.


  * Each studentship will cover UK/EU Tuition Fees for 42 months
    full-time (starting 1st October 2011 or 1st January 2012)
    plus stipend of GBP 13,590 p.a. tax free
  * International candidates will have to cover the difference
    between the UK/EU-level fees and international-level fees
  * The studentship will cover the cost of attending two
    overseas conferences each year


  A. Modularisation and multi-phase translation

For general information on the research environment at Royal Holloway, 
see http://www.rhul.ac.uk/studyhere/researchdegrees/home.aspx and the CSLE home page at 

For details of this PhD project and the application process, please see 

Informal enquiries to A.Johnstone@rhul.ac.uk

  B. Foundations of component-based language specification

For general information on the research environment in Computer Science at Swansea, see 

For details of this PhD project and the application process, please see 

Informal enquiries to P.D.Mosses@swansea.ac.uk