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PhD "Verified Probabilistic Verification" (VPV)

Job description

We are looking for an excellent candidate for a PhD project (for 4 years) on verifying the correctness of probabilistic model checking algorithms and tools as part of the "Verified Probabilistic Verification" (VPV) project funded by NWO, the Dutch Research Council. 

Probabilistic model checking (PMC) is a technique for the automated analysis of probabilistic models representing complex safety- or performance-critical systems with random uncertainties. So far, the algorithms used in PMC have been proven correct on paper and tool implementations have been tested on a limited number of standard examples. The goal of the VPV project is to use interactive theorem provers like Isabelle/HOL to create machine-checked correctness proofs for core PMC algorithms such as sound value iteration on Markov decision processes. From these proofs, we want to derive correct-by-construction probabilistic verification tools. Additionally, we plan to formalise the semantics of probabilistic modelling formalisms like Modest or JANI, develop new verification algorithms that use exact rational arithmetic to avoid floating-point errors and implement techniques to derive large benchmark examples from small challenges verified by the correct-by-construction tool. 

While the work of the VPV project takes place at the University of Twente, there is ample opportunity for visits to partner institutes with specific expertise related to the project goals, for example in the Netherlands, Germany, and Argentina.

Your profile

We are looking for an enthusiastic student with an M.Sc. degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science, or in Mathematics with a demonstrable interest in computer science, or who is about to obtain such a degree before the start date of the project. The candidate should have a thorough theoretical background, an interest in probabilistic models and theorem proving and ideally some prior experience with formal methods, probability theory, and/or interactive theorem provers. The working language at the University of Twente is English and we expect demonstrated excellence in communicating in English on an academic level.

Our offer

  • A PhD position for 4 years (38 h/week).
  • An outstanding scientific environment: our research group was ranked 1st in the last national research assessment.
  • Full status as an employee at the University of Twente, including pension and health care benefits.
  • Gross salary PhD student: ranging from € 2.395,00 (1st year) to € 3.061,00 (4th year) per month, plus holiday allowance (8%) and end-of-year bonus (8.3%).
  • Extensive opportunities for professional and personal development.
  • Good secondary conditions, in accordance with the collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.
  • A green and lively campus, with excellent sports facilities and many other activities.

Starting date of the position: as soon as possible, January 2021 at the latest.

Information and application

Your application should consist of:

•         a short cover letter (briefly explaining your specific interest and qualifications);

•         your Curriculum Vitae;

•         a transcript of all your university courses, with grades;

•         a short description of your M.Sc. thesis/final project;

•         references (contact information) of two scientific staff members (one of whom should be the supervisor of your M.Sc. thesis/final project) who are willing to provide a recommendation letter at our request.

Further information:

•         FMT group: https://www.utwente.nl/en/eemcs/fmt/

•         Contact: Dr. Arnd Hartmanns (a.hartmanns@utwente.nl, http://arnd.hartmanns.name/)


Application deadline: November 7, 2020, or until the position is filled.

Please submit your application via http://www.utwente.nl/vacatures/en.

About the department

The Formal Methods and Tools (FMT) research group develops formal techniques and tools to support the development of complex systems. Our central goal is to increase the reliability of the high-tech systems that we all rely on, both as individuals and as society. The FMT group is part of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) at the University of Twente in Enschede, The Netherlands.

About the organization

The faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) uses mathematics, electronics and computer technology to contribute to the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). With ICT present in almost every device and product we use nowadays, we embrace our role as contributors to a broad range of societal activities and as pioneers of tomorrow's digital society. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.

As an employer, the EEMCS Faculty offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With our Faculty, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customizable conditions.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

PhD "Verified Probabilistic Verification" (VPV)
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