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Postdoctoral and PhD positions for project RELEASE

Applications are now invited for:

  • one postdoctoral position (total budget: 21K€/year), and
  • up to three Ph.D. positions (total budget: 17K€/year)
at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), in collaboration with the Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (ICCS).

Preference will be given to filling the postdoctoral position. The decision to fill all Ph.D. positions will depend on the applicants' qualifications.

All positions will be funded by the three-year FP7-ICT-2011-7 project "RELEASE: A High-level Paradigm for Reliable Large-scale Server Software". The successful applicants will join the research team of the Software Engineering Laboratory, under the supervision of Assist. Prof. Nikolaos Papaspyrou and Assoc. Prof. Konstantinos Sagonas. The postdoc will not have any teaching duty.

The start date can be as early as October 2011.


Applicants should have an undergraduate degree and, in the case of the postdoctoral position, a recent Ph.D. in Computer Science or a closely related field. They should have a strong background in programming languages and operating systems, with emphasis on the following fields: functional programming, compiler construction, virtual machines, concurrency, parallelism, program analysis. Knowledge of Greek is a plus but not a prerequisite. English is our working language for research.

How to apply:

Prospective applicants are requested to send an email containing a short letter of interest, a CV, and references for recommendations to Assist. Prof. Nikolaos Papaspyrou <nickie@softlab.ntua.gr>. Informal enquiries should be sent to the same address. Applications will be considered until the positions are filled.

Moreover, the PhD positions are administered through the NTUA/ECE Postgraduate Secretariat. Candidates must also apply for the NTUA/ECE Ph.D. programme. The deadline for applications is September 23, 2011. Details and application forms are available here.

Project description:

The exponential growth in the number of cores requires radically new software development technologies. Many expect 100,000-core platforms to become commonplace, and the best predictions are that core failures on such an architecture will be common, perhaps one an hour. Hence we require programming models that are not only highly scalable but also reliable. The project aim is to scale the radical concurrency-oriented programming paradigm to build reliable general-purpose software, such as server-based systems, on massively parallel machines. The trend-setting language we will use is Erlang/OTP which has concurrency and robustness designed in.

Currently Erlang/OTP has inherently scalable computation and reliability models, but in practice scalability is constrained by aspects of the language and virtual machine. Moreover existing profiling & debugging tools don't scale.

The RELEASE consortium is uniquely qualified to tackle these challenges and we propose to work at three levels:

  • evolving the Erlang virtual machine so that it can work effectively on large scale multicore systems;
  • evolving the language to Scalable Distributed (SD) Erlang, and adapting the OTP framework to provide both constructs like locality control, and reusable coordination patterns to allow SD Erlang to effectively describe computations on large platforms, while preserving performance portability;
  • developing a scalable Erlang infrastructure to integrate multiple, heterogeneous clusters.

We will develop state of the art tools that allow programmers to understand the behaviour of massively parallel SD Erlang programs. We will demonstrate the effectiveness of the RELEASE approach using demonstrators and two large case studies on a Blue Gene.

Erlang is a beacon language for distributed computing, influencing both other languages and actor libraries and frameworks. Hence we expect the project to make a strong and enduring impact on computing practice in the two decades.


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