Thursday, December 15, 2011

Two Doctoral (PhD) students in Computer Science at Rice University

Major technical challenges get in the way of developing novel cyber-physical systems (CPS). Overcoming these challenges can significantly accelerate the design process. A new NSF
CPS project on Robot Design is building foundations and tools to achieve this goal for novel robotics applications. The project focuses on issues relating to modeling hybrid (continuous/discrete) systems and model validation. The project, which is a close collaboration between Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering at Rice University, Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M, and Halmstad University in Sweden, will develop and validate foundations, methods, and tools for the modeling and simulation of hybrid and cyber-physical systems.

The project has an opening for two Computer Science doctoral (PhD) student with Professor Taha at Rice University. Each student's dissertation work will have distinct technical focus. One will focus on developing the meta-theory for relating user-level descriptions of mechanical systems, mathematical equations describing the behavior of such systems, and the simulation codes needed to solve these equations.  The other will focus on developing methods for the simulation of hybrid systems, including zero-crossing and Zeno behavior. The succesful candidates will work closely with Mechanical engineerings who are working on modeling and simulation of new experimental robots.  The engineers will use and evaluate the results of the work of the PhD students.

Applicants for this position must have strong skills and interest in programming language design and theory; functional programming; and test-driven development.  Excellent communication and collaboration skills are required as the student will be expected to work as part of a large, international research team investigating modeling languages. Priority will be given to applicants with a masters in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering, but students with suitable skills and interests who hold a masters in Mathematics, Physics, or Mechanical Engineering are also encouraged to apply. Desirable experience includes working with interval and enclosure methods, exact real arithmetic, domain theory, operational semantics, formal verification, differential equations, hybrid/impulsive differential equations, and mechanical hardware design and control, especially in the context of robotics. Desirable skills include facility with Scala, Java, Haskell, OCaml, ML, Scheme, Mathematica, Maple, OpenGL, Matlab, Simulink, the Open Dynamics Engine (ODE), or other modeling and simulation tools.

Selected students are will spend part of their time in Halmstad, Sweden (50%) as part of the collaboration and must be ready to start the position by May or June 2012.

The deadline for applications is January 6th, 2012 January 16th, 2012 (Rice Computer Science extended the deadline). Application for these positions is done through the on-line application form. Your application (and in particular your Research Statement) must make it clear that your are applying for a PhD position with Professor Taha on the Robot Design project.