Sunday, January 24, 2010

Two PhD Studentships Available

Yesterday night, I posted the appended announcement of two PhD studentships, which became available thanks to a successful grant application to the Icelandic Fund for Research (Rannis), on a couple of mailing lists.

I am posting it here too, just in case any of the readers of this blog is interested in applying or has any student who would be a suitable candidate for the studentships.


            Meta-Theory of Algebraic Process Theories

         School of Computer Science, Reykjavik University

          Two PhD studentships

Applications are invited for two PhD studentships at the School of Computer Science, Reykjavik University.  The positions are part of a three-year research project funded by Rannis (the Icelandic Fund for Research), under the direction of Luca Aceto and Anna Ingolfsdottir.

Aim of the project

Algebraic process theories, also known as “process algebras”, are prototype specification languages for reactive systems—that is, for devices that compute by reacting to stimuli from their environment. The main strength of such theories lies in the equational (calculational) style of reasoning they support. For each process theory, several natural questions immediately arise pertaining to the (non-)existence of (finite or recursive) sets of laws that allow one to prove by “substituting equals for equals” all of the valid equalities between process descriptions (closed or open terms) over fragments of the process theory at hand. Currently, answering such questions is only possible via delicate, error-prone and lengthy proofs.

The aim of the project is to contribute further advances to the study of the meta-theory of algebraic theories of processes.  The main goals of the project are
  • to establish a generic framework for answering questions pertaining to the existence of equational axiomatizations of behavioural semantics over process algebras affording certain desirable properties, such as being finite or recursive, and
  • to apply the proposed general theory to solve some of the main open problems in the study of the equational logic of processes.
Research environment

The research  within the project will be carried out in close collaboration with our long-term co-workers Wan Fokkink (VU Amsterdam), Bas Luttik (TU Eindhoven), MohammadReza Mousavi (TU Eindhoven) and Michel Reniers (TU Eindhoven).

The successful candidates will benefit from, and contribute to, the research environment at the Icelandic Centre of Excellence in Theoretical Computer Science (ICE-TCS). ICE-TCS has currently 14 permanent members, seven postdoctoral researchers and one Ph.D. student.  For more information about ICE-TCS, its members and its activities, see

Qualification requirements

Applicants for the PhD studentships should have a good MSc degree in Computer Science, Mathematics or closely related fields, and have a strong background in discrete mathematics and formal systems. Some previous knowledge of topics from at least one of concurrency theory, process calculi and structural operational semantics is not a prerequisite, but would be desirable.


PhD position: 265,000 ISK (roughly 1,550 euros) per month before taxes, for three years, starting as early as possible and no later than October 2010.

Application details

By Friday, 26 February 2010, interested applicants should send their CV, including a list of publications where applicable, in PDF to the addresses below, together with a transcript of their academic record, a statement outlining their suitability for the project and the names of two referees.

Luca Aceto

Anna Ingolfsdottir

We will start reviewing applications as soon as they arrive, and will continue to accept applications until the positions are filled. However, we strongly encourage interested applicants to send in their applications as soon as possible.

About the School of Computer Science at Reykjavik University

The School of Computer Science at RU ( has approximately 440 students at the undergraduate, masters and doctorate levels. The School is home to several strong research groups and the main research areas are algorithmics, artificial intelligence, combinatorics, concurrency theory, databases, human-computer interaction, natural language processing, software engineering, theoretical computer science and virtual environments.

The School of Computer Science at Reykjavik University  has ties with several leading foreign universities, facilitating collaboration, as well as faculty and student exchanges. In particular, the School has a joint M.Sc. degree in Computer Science with the University of Camerino, Italy, and a joint Ph.D. degree programme with KTH, Stockholm, Sweden.

Information about Ph.D. studies at the School of Computer Science is available at

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Concurrency Column for the February 2010 Issue of the BEATCS

I have just posted the paper for the concurrency column that will appear in the February 2010 Issue of the BEATCS. This installment of the concurrency column is devoted to a very informative survey, contributed by Fran├žois Laroussinie, of recent work on the modelling and specification of open systems using games and alternating-time temporal logics. In particular, the paper focuses on fundamental semantic questions for those specification formalisms, such as the kind of properties that can be stated in various types of logics for games, and on the computational complexity of their model-checking problems. Enjoy it!

Friday, January 08, 2010

My New Workplace

The School of Computer Science has moved into its premises in the new building of Reykjavik University. The building is still a construction site, and will remain so for a few more months at least. You can see some photos here. There is no doubt that the building looks good. However, I am not so sure that it will offer the best working conditions for academic work. For instance, as a consequence of the downsizing of the building because of the economic crisis in Iceland, we have no offices and we are all sitting in an open space. (I'll try to post a photo of the TCS area when I get a chance to take one.)

I am not passing judgement yet on the effect that this will have on my work. The next few weeks will allow me to form an opinion on this issue. I will try to keep an open mind and to make the most of what I have available. However, it is hard to escape the nagging thought that I had a quieter working environment when I was a Ph.D. student.

Stay tuned for more information.