Two PhD Scholarships in Functional Programming for Guaranteed Security in The Internet of Things

Applications are invited for a PhD position in signal processing to join Chalmers University of Technology. The funding allows successful candidate to work for five years. Applicants should apply before October 24, 2018.

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering is a joint department at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, with activities on two campuses in the city of Gothenburg. The department has around 240 employees from over 30 countries. Our research has a wide span, from theoretical foundations to applied systems development. We provide high quality education at Bachelor’s, Master’s and graduate levels, offering over 120 courses each year. We also have extensive national and international collaborations with academia, industry and society.

Information about the research

The department of Computer Science and Engineering is a joint department between Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg. The department has around 270 employees from over 30 countries. The research spans from theoretical foundations to applied systems development. We provide high quality education at Bachelor’s, Master’s and graduate levels, offering over 120 courses each year. We also have extensive national and international collaborations with academia, industry, and society.

PhD positions are within the recently granted project Octopi: Secure Programming for the Internet of Things (IoT). Octopi focuses on overcoming major research challenges to securely programming IoT systems. It sets two important goals: (i) the conception of programming models and mechanisms to provide system-wide security guarantees, and (ii) the utilization of functional languages, and their benefits, to program constrained devices. PhD students will join high-profile groups of researchers on security and functional programming with a rich network of collaborators and visibility across several research communities. Octopi’s faculty members have a strong tradition in successfully applying the functional programming Haskell to different domains: protection of privacy of data (, testing (, SAT-solving and theorem proving (,hardware and software verification ( and digital signal processing ( Major responsibilities

PhD students will join the Octopi project funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF). The project will further research on (i) using high-level languages to program constrained devices, (ii) finding suitable programming models for IoT, and (iii) developing security mechanisms to obtain system-wide guarantees. The programming language of the project is Haskell ( The work is expected to range from establishing new theoretical foundations to building mature prototypes. Three PhD students have already been employed, and now we seek two more to work on the following two research tracks:

Track A. Locality of data

In data-driven IoT systems, users must be able to express and control easily the choice of whether to migrate data to functions or functions to data. This task focuses on finding ways to provide such control without giving up the benefits of programming in a high-level language. It will be important to give the user control over not only data location but also garbage collection. Thus, there will be a link to other work on the project on programming models and compilation, and also to the following track on hardware support. Track B. Hardware support This task is aimed at the end points of IoT systems. It plans to create a processor aimed specifically at executing functional languages directly and efficiently. This entails both creating an efficient graph reduction engine as well as built-in support for garbage collection. The task primarily evaluates the feasibility of this approach by mapping the experimental architectures onto FPGAs and extracting power and performance numbers from these implementations. Please indicate the tracks that interest you

The two PhD students that we seek are to be supervised by Octopi faculty members Prof. Mary Sheeran and Prof. Carl-Johan Seger. They will work closely with the other Octopi faculty: Prof. Alejandro Russo (leader of the project), Prof. John Hughes and Prof. Koen Claessen. Each position is for up to five years of full employment; normally, 20% of the time is allocated to departmental work (mainly teaching duties). The salary for each position is as specified in Chalmers/general agreement for PhD student positions.

The positions are intended to start in early 2019.

Full-time temporary employment. The position is limited to a maximum of five years.


The successful applicant needs to have a Masters degree or degree of similar level in computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related discipline. You may apply if you have not completed all requirements for your degree, provided you will have them before the position starts.

Competitive candidates are those who have a strong background in at least one of the following areas: functional programming, security, and embedded systems together with a willingness to quickly learn all of them; an excellent analytical and communication skills; strong skills on both theoretical and practical aspects of computer science. Experience with domain specific languages and/or hardware design is a particular merit for these two positions.

Read more about working at Chalmers and our benefits for employees.

Application procedure

The application should be marked with Ref 20180509 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as pdf-files, as below:
- A cover letter (1 A4 page max, 11pt font) summarizing your background, track record, and interest in the Octopi project and its tracks.
- A curriculum vitae (2 A4 pages max, 11pt font) detailing your education, research achievements (if any), and work-related experience (if any).
- Official transcripts of your education certificates (degrees, including grade reports and other documents when applicable).
- A document that you have written (e.g. a paper, thesis or report).
- Two letters of recommendation together with the name and contact information of the referees who wrote them. It is preferable that you directly include letters of recommendation; we typically get a large number of applications, and it is not feasible for us to request letters for all applicants.

The matching of candidates to specific tracks will take into account both the interests of the candidates and the research agenda of Octopi’s faculty members.

Application deadline: 24th of October 2018. Interviews will take place in late November.

Gothenburg, Sweden

Gothenburg is often referred to as the “heart of Scandinavia”. The videos below give an impression of what it’s like to live and study in Gothenburg.


Gothenburg: For questions, please contact:

Prof. Carl-Johan Seger,

Prof. Mary Sheeran,


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