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 approximate computing techniques for energy-efficient and fault-tolerant embedded 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 part of a large EU-funded (Marie Skłodowska Curie) International Training Network (ITN) action, called ‘Approximate Computing for Power and Energy Optimisation (APROPOS)’, funding 15 PhD positions at 14 top-level universities and companies in Europe. In this ITN action, you can complement your research experience with a 3-6 month cross-sector secondment by working with one of the highly committed industrial partners of the ITN action, which is in our case Thales Netherlands.

What are you going to do?

Following the current trend, by 2040 computers will need more electricity than the world energy resources can generate. On the communications side, energy consumption in mobile broadband networks is comparable to datacentres. To make things worse, Internet-of-Things will soon connect 20 to 50 billion devices through wireless networks to the cloud. APROPOS aims at decreasing energy consumption in both distributed computing and communications for cloud-based cyber-physical systems. We propose adaptive Approximate Computing to optimize energy-accuracy trade-offs. Luckily, in many parts of the global data acquisition, transfer, computation, and storage systems there exists the possibility to trade off accuracy to either less power or less time consumed – or both.

Are you interested to help us studying the symbiotic combination of two seemingly incompatible concepts in the context of APROPOS: fault tolerance and approximate computing? This would entail:

  • investigating how approximate computing techniques can be deployed at the system level to improve fault tolerance of embedded systems, while trying to meet their performance and power/energy consumption constraints. In particular, study and evaluate techniques for achieving fault tolerance by means of
    • runtime mapping strategies that exploit a variety in precision of cores (i.e. approximating cores), and
    • task replication and fuzzy voting strategies utilizing lower-precision replicas;
  • designing and developing a software framework for system-level simulation and design space exploration (DSE) to study and evaluate the developed techniques.

What do we require?

We are looking for you if you are a motivated university graduate who is open to industrial cooperation and is a top performer among his/her peers, has an excellent education and/or research track record proven by relevant experience, publications, etc. You are expected to conduct original competitive research, publishing the results in relevant conferences and/or journals.

Applicants are further expected to have:

  • an M.Sc. degree in computer science or computer engineering;
  • some prior expertise in one or more of the following fields: computer systems architecture, modelling and simulation, and/or performance analysis;
  • excellent skills in oral and written English with good presentation skills;
  • strong analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • excellent programming and debugging skills, preferably in C/C++;
  • the ability to work in an international research team.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting mid 2021, for the duration of 4 years (the 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). 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.


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

About the Faculty of Science and the Informatics Institute

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The mission of the Informatics Institute is to perform curiosity-driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The main research themes are Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science, Data Science, and Systems and Network Engineering. Our research involves complex information systems at large, with a focus on collaborative, data driven, computational and intelligent systems, all with a strong interactive component.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

The Informatics Institute strives for a better gender balance in its staff. We therefore strongly encourage women to apply for this position.

If you recognize yourself in the job profile, then please apply!  You can apply online via the Coordinator of the ITN action (Tampere University) by using the link below. 

No agencies please

Apply now

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