This studentship lies at the interface of distributed systems and cyber security, with the aim to develop the next generation of blockchains through a method known as sharding.
- Qualification Type: PhD
- Hours: Full Time
- Title of project: Next Generation Blockchains with Sharding
- Closes: 21st November 2022, or until places have been filled.
Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in the Department of Computer Science. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work on developing the next generation of blockchains using a technique called sharding.
Blockchains emerged as a disruptive and transformational technology, offering a new, open and inclusive economy without the risk of single point of failures, monopoly, privacy-intrusion or censorship.
Their use ranges from the sharing-economy systems to Internet-of-Things, supply chains, digital health and financial services. However, blockchains suffer from low performance and low decentralisation preventing their use as a backbone of the new, digital economy.
The proposed research lies at the interface of distributed systems and cyber security. The project aims to develop a next generation of blockchains that are scalable, decentralized and economically viable using a technique called sharding. Sharding has already shown a lot of potential in the field of distributed databases but its adaptation to blockchains is a challenging problem.
Sharded blockchains remain poorly understood and require cross-shard interactions that, if done incorrectly, can hinder their mainstream deployment at scale. The existing economic models, essential for blockchain security, cannot be easily applied to sharded systems. Without proper incentives, miners may not follow the protocol lowering system security.
The student will directly work with our industrial partners such as Facebook Novi, the Ethereum Foundation, Protocol Labs and IOHK and may directly contribute to systems to be deployed in the near future. The student will be encouraged to publish results of their research at leading international conferences and in top-tier computer science journals.
Eligibility and requirements
The candidate should have an upper second class honours BSc/BEng/MEng (or equivalent, or higher) degree in computer science or a related discipline. They should demonstrate aptitude for original research.
The candidate should possess a good understanding of distributed systems and cyber security. Knowledge of game theory is a plus.
A candidate who demonstrates exceptional aptitude in one or more of these areas (as evidenced, for instance, through strong academic credentials or research papers in reputable, peer-reviewed journals/conferences) may be accorded preference.
The successful candidate should be able to code comfortably in object-oriented languages such us Python, Golang, Rust, Java and C++.
A doctoral candidate is expected to meet the following pre-requisites for their PhD:
- Demonstrate a sound knowledge of their research area
- Achieve and demonstrate significant depth in at least a few chosen sub-areas relevant to their primary research area
- Demonstrate the ability to conduct independent research, including a critical assessment of their own and others’ research
Previous publications in high-quality papers in reputable peer-reviewed conferences and journals are desirable.
The studentship is for 3 years and will provide full coverage of tuition fees (Home and Overseas) and an annual tax-free stipend of £12,000.
Each student would also have the opportunity to earn around £2,200 per annum on an average (max. is around £4,300 per annum) through a teaching assistantship. We shall prioritise these scholarship holders while allocating the teaching assistantships.
How to apply
If you are interested in applying, you are encouraged to email initial informal enquiries to Michał Król.
Visit our Computer science research degrees web page for further information on making a formal application.
When submitting your application, enter the title “Next Generation Blockchains with Sharding” and you will automatically be considered for this studentship.
You do not need to submit a proposal as part of your application as the project has already been outlined.
The online application can be found in the ‘How to apply section’ in the web link above and should include the following supporting documents:
- Copies of Degree Certificates and Transcripts in official English translation - original will be requested before an offer is made.
- Official work e-mail addresses (not private ones) for two referees (one of which must be an academic).
- Proof of English Language proficiency (minimum average score of 6.5 IELTS, with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the four components) if English is not your first language.
The outcome of the selection process should be announced by the end of January 2023.
The successful candidate will formally start their doctorate in February 2023.
For queries regarding the application process, please email the School.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
City, University of London is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in all its activities, processes, and culture, for our whole community, including staff, students and visitors.
We welcome applications regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or social class. For more information on our approaches to encouraging an inclusive environment, please see our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pages.