[Vm-dev] Postdoc Position and PhD Studentship for Programming Language Implementation Research at the University of Kent

Stefan Marr smalltalk at stefan-marr.de
Wed Dec 16 10:16:15 UTC 2020

We are seeking to appoint a qualified and highly motivated researcher to work as a Research Associate (Postdoc) as well as a PhD student. You will work on a project titled “CaMELot: Catching and Mitigating Event-Loop Concurrency Issues”, which is funded by an EPSRC UK grant and is led by Dr Stefan Marr.

Job description / Additional Information / Please apply at:
 Postdoc Closing Date: 17 January 2021

 PhD studentship Closing Date: 13 January 2021

Modern server applications utilize concurrency in many ways. Actors and event loops are popular as programming paradigms since they avoid low-level concurrency issues. Unfortunately, even when using actors or event loops, server applications still show other types of concurrency bugs. Though, they can be mitigated with run-time detection techniques. In the CaMELot project, we want to make detection and mitigation fast enough to be usable in production systems. This way, even though software may contain bugs, we can reduce their impact on correct execution.

Building on a system for deterministic replay of actor applications, you would investigate how one can use lightweight race detection to facilitate debugging of the underlying concurrency issues. Afterall, if we can detect the issues, we should help developers to fix them! One of the challenges here is to derive actionable insights from the detected races. A tool processing the race detection results may guide developers to fix the underlying issues, possibly replaying the problematic execution for the developers. 

For more details, please email me (s.marr at kent.ac.uk) or see the links above.

When joining the project, you’ll also be an active member of the Programming Languages and Systems (PLAS) research group. PLAS spans the breadth and depth of practical and theoretical aspects of programming languages and system building related to languages. Our work goes across paradigms (imperative, object-oriented, functional, logic) and is complemented by our systems research in concurrency, relaxed memory, verified compilation, verification, language prototypes, garbage collection, and tools. All our work is linked by a shared vision of the power and impact of programming languages on the rest of Computer Science. The PLAS group at Kent has a long history of contributions to the field and continues to be a hotbed of programming language research in the South East of England:

The School of Computing [1] is a welcoming, supportive, and diverse environment whose commitment to gender equality has been recognised with a Bronze Athena SWAN [2] award. We are keen to enhance the balanced, inclusive and diverse nature of the community within our School and would particularly encourage female candidates to apply for these posts.

The University of Kent campus overlooks the city centre of Canterbury, and with 125 nationalities represented, it has a very cosmopolitan feel. Canterbury is a small city that retains parts of its medieval walls (with Roman foundations). Famous for its heritage (Canterbury Cathedral; Chaucer’s Tales; etc), Canterbury is a vibrant community and UNESCO World Heritage site whose culture and leisure facilities are enhanced by hosting three universities. The city and surrounding region combines an attractive and affordable environment, excellent schools, and fast transport links to London and mainland Europe.

[1] https://cs.kent.ac.uk/
[2] http://www.ecu.ac.uk/equality-charters/athena-swan/

Stefan Marr
School of Computing, University of Kent

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