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  3. PhD candidate in the analysis of complex, distributed cyber-physical computer systems

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PhD candidate in the analysis of complex, distributed cyber-physical computer systems

The Parallel Computing Systems (PCS) group at the Informatics Institute (IvI) of the University of Amsterdam is looking for a …

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Science Park, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Vast contract
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


The Parallel Computing Systems (PCS) group at the Informatics Institute (IvI) of the University of Amsterdam is looking for a PhD candidate in the area of modelling, simulation and system optimization of complex (industrial) distributed cyber-physical computer systems. The PCS group performs research on the design, programming and run-time management of multi-core and multi-processor computer systems. The modeling, analysis and optimization of the extra-functional aspects of these systems, such as performance, power/energy consumption but also the degree of productivity to design and program these systems, play a pivotal role in our work.                                                                                                                                        

The PhD position is embedded in a larger project, called “DSE2.0: Towards Optimal Design of Complex, Distributed Cyber Physical Systems”, funded by NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences together with TNO-ESI, and is a collaboration between University of Amsterdam, Leiden University and ASML Veldhoven (NL). ASML is the world’s largest supplier of photolithography systems for the semiconductor industry.

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) comprise one of the largest information-technology sectors worldwide which is a driver for innovation in other crucial industrial sectors such as health industries, industrial automation and robotics, avionics and space. Nowadays, the embedded computing infrastructure of complex CPS is based on heterogeneous multi-core or many-core systems, which are distributed, and connected via complex networks. Manufacturing companies of distributed Cyber-Physical Systems (dCPS), such as lithography scanner machines, industrial printers, and interventional X-ray machines, are facing serious challenges with respect to designing the next generation of their products. Designers of such systems need quick answers to so-called “what-if” questions with respect to possible design decisions/choices and their consequences on system performance, cost, etc. This calls for efficient and scalable system-level design space exploration (DSE) methods for dCPS that integrate appropriate application workload and system architectures models, simulation and optimization techniques, as well as supporting tools to facilitate the exploration of a wide range of design decisions. However, such DSE technology for complex dCPS does currently not exist.

The project is part of a national MasCot partnership programme. The goal of this programme is to investigate, develop and deliver the next generation of engineering methodologies that help manage the increasing complexity of high-tech systems. Achieving this goal helps to improve the quality and reduce the development costs of future generations of cyber-physical systems, thereby providing the Dutch industry a competitive advantage.

What are you going to do?

Are you interested in helping us with studying how to perform efficient and effective DSE for complex, distributed cyber-physical systems? This would entail performing research on:

  1. modeling the software workload using workload models that can capture software process activities with a granularity that will allow to explore potential workload balancing techniques, degrees of parallelism, etc.;
  2. modeling the platform architecture considering potential distributed architectures to which the workload can be mapped to (e.g., deployment of ‘fat’ versus ‘thin’ compute nodes, exploitation of heterogeneous and possibly domain-specific system architectures, etc.);
  3. modeling the mapping of software processes to platform resources;
  4. the exploration of different system configurations to adapt the systems to specific workloads and platform architectures.

As a PhD student, you will be involved in and contribute to all four of the above research areas, but with a particular focus on the last three ones. You are expected to conduct original competitive research and proof-of-concept development, to publish the results in relevant conferences and/or journals and to participate in teaching duties.


What do we require?

You are expected to:

  • be a very motivated university graduate with a MSc degree in Computer Science or Computer Engineering;
  • be a top performer among your peers, to have an excellent education and/or research track record, proven by relevant experience, publications, etc.;
  • have some prior expertise in one or more of the following fields: computer systems architecture, modelling and simulation, performance analysis and system optimization;
  • be excellent in oral and written English with good presentation skills;
  • have strong analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • have excellent programming and debugging skills, e.g. in C/C++, Java, and/or Python;
  • be open to industrial cooperation and comfortable with working at ASML in Veldhoven (approx. 130km from Amsterdam) for two days per week on average;
  • have the ability to work in an international research team.


Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years) preferably starting as soon as possible. This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students. 

The salary will be €2,395 to €3,061 (scale P) gross per month, based on a full-time contract of 38 hours a week. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.

Additional information

Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact: