PhD Scholarship in System Security and Formal Methods

KTH Royal Institute of Technology is pleased to invite applicants to apply for a PhD position in theoretical computer science. The funds for this fellowship are available for two years. The deadline to apply is October 28, 2018.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has grown to become one of Europe's leading technical and engineering universities, as well as a key centre of intellectual talent and innovation. We are Sweden's largest technical research and learning institution and home to students, researchers and faculty from around the world. Our research and education covers a wide area including natural sciences and all branches of engineering, as well as architecture, industrial management, urban planning, history and philosophy.

One of the major challenges within computer security is how to develop system software (operating system kernels, hypervisors, security monitors, device drivers, GUIs) that are secure, and preferably provably so, but at the same time capable of fully exploiting the performance capabilities of modern hardware. Recent, highly publicized vulnerabilities such as Spectre and Meltdown illustrate well the insecurities built into current hardware and system software architectures. Finding solutions to this is currently the subject of intense research at KTH and around the world. Our approach is to combine experimental work with formal modelling and verification to identify vulnerabilities and develop countermeasures and prototypes with provable security guarantees.

The positions are supported by TrustFull,, a new project on fullstack security funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research SSF. As such, there will be strong interactions with other PhD students and Professors at the intersection of software engineering and software security.TrustFull combines novel uses of software diversity and automated software repair with formal techniques at low level to develop new techniques for end-to-end security across the entire application stack from hardware to user level applications.

Within TrustFull we implement secure system components and build models and verification tools, mainly using semiautomated theorem proving in Higher Order Logic, HOL. The research group led by professor Mads Dam and assistant professor Roberto Guanciale combines deep interest in logic, mathematics, abstract modelling and formal proofs with a strong will to apply these methods to the design, development, testing, and verification of concrete system solutions.

A strong background in computer science in general, and some previous exposure to formal methods is essential for these positions. Pluses are previous experience with the use or development of verification tools, as well as familiarity with modern operating systems and processing hardware.

The work will take place at the Department of Theoretical Computer Science, where the TrustFull project is hosted. In addition to the positions advertised here, three more PhD students are currently announced, along with two postdoc positions, together with the senior staff forming the backbone of the TrustFull project team.
- The possibility to study in a dynamic international research environment in close cooperation with industries and advanced universities the world over.
- A personal study plan to support your development within your areas of interest.
- A workplace with many employee benefits and monthly salary according to KTH’s doctoral student salary agreement.
- Work and study in Stockholm, one of Europes fastest growing capitals, which is close to both nature and the sea.
- Help to relocate and get settled in Sweden and at KTH.

To be admitted to postgraduate education (Chapter 7, 39 Swedish Higher Education Ordinance), the applicant must have basic eligibility in accordance with either of the following:
- completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 higher education credits at advanced level, or
- in any other way acquired within or outside the country acquired essentially equivalent knowledge.

In order to succeed as an doctoral student at KTH you need to be goal oriented and persevering in your work. In the selection of the applicants, the following will be assessed:
- ability to independently pursue his or hers work,
- ability to collaborate with others,

Only those who are or have been admitted to third-cycle studies may be employed as a doctoral student. The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year and may thereafter be extended. Doctoral students may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

Apply for the position and admission through KTH’s recruitment system. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement.

Applications must be received at the last closing date at midnight, CET/CEST (Central European Time/entral European Summer Time).

Applications must include the following elements:
- Application letter with a brief description of why you want to pursue research studies, about what your academic interests are and how they relate to your previous studies and future goals. (Maximum 2 pages long)
- Copy of the degree certificate(s) and transcripts of records from your previously attended university-level institutions. Translations into English or Swedish if the original documents are not issued in one of these languages.
- Representative publications or technical reports. For longer documents, please provide a summary (abstract) and a web link to the full text.


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