The studentship will investigate integrating work on lightweight and powerful Weakly Relational Domains into a non-relational abstract interpretation framework, and use the resulting system to analyse benchmark programs.
- Qualification Type: PhD
- Hours: Full Time
- Title of project: Weakly Relational Domains and Abstract Interpretation for Cyber
- Placed On: 1st February 2022
- Closes: 15th May 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 automated software verification using static analysis techniques to find flaws in software.
Static analysis aims to guarantee runtime properties of a program without needing to run it. Abstract interpretation provides a mathematical framework for creating and understanding static analysis. This allows the analysis to provide formal guarantees of the safety and security of software.
Abstract interpretation converts a real program to a mathematical representation, a program over what is called an abstract domain, which is then executed.
Domains can be non-relational, considering each variable independently, or relational, considering the relationships between variables.
Non-relational domains scale very well and are widely used in the state-of-the-art verification systems.
Relational domains give much more precise and useful results but have typically proven too expensive to be used on real-world software.
This project will investigate integrating work on lightweight and powerful Weakly Relational Domains into a non-relational abstract interpretation framework, and use the resulting system to analyse benchmark programs.
The results of a successful doctoral thesis are expected to be of interests to the software industry with applications in safety and security critical contexts.
The student will be encouraged to publish results of their research at leading international conferences and in top-tier computer science journals, and will be encouraged communicate with potential industrial partners.
Eligibility and requirements
The candidate should have a good upper second class honours BSc/MSci (or equivalent, or higher) degree in Computer Science or Mathematics (programming skills are required). They should demonstrate aptitude for original research.
The candidate should possess a thorough grounding computer science or mathematics. Strong programming skills are a necessity, with C++ experience advantageous. Knowledge of compilers, static analysis, formal methods and related mathematics are desirable.
A candidate who demonstrates exceptional aptitude in one or more of these areas (as evidenced, for instance, through strong academic credentials, project work or research papers in reputable, peer-reviewed journals/conferences) may be accorded preference.
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 £2.2K pa on an average (max. is around £4.3K pa) 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 Dr Jacob Howe and Dr Martin Nyx Brain.
Visit our Computer science research degrees web page for further information on making a formal application.
When submitting your application, enter the title “Weakly Relational Domains and Abstract Interpretation for Cyber” 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 June. The successful candidate will formally start their doctorate either in July or in October 2022.
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.