Vacancy: PhD in deterministic network design and optimization

(14-12-2020)

Context

imec

​imec is a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create ground breaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, and energy.

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together close to 4000 brilliant minds from over 97 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. All of these particular traits make imec to be a top-class employer.

Ghent University – imec IDLab Research group

The Internet Technology & Data Science Lab (IDLab) is an imec research group at Ghent University and the University of Antwerp. IDLab focuses its research on internet technologies and data science. Bringing together more than 300 internet experts, we develop technologies outperforming current solutions for communication subsystems, high speed and low power networking, distributed computing and multimedia processing, machine learning, artificial intelligence and web semantics. IDLab has a unique research infrastructure used in numerous national and international collaborations.

IDLab collaborates with many universities and research centres worldwide and jointly develops advanced technologies with industry (R&D centres from international companies, Flanders’ top innovating large companies and SMEs, as well as numerous ambitious start-ups).

The IDLab FARON team where this vacancy is offered consists of engineers and scientists who are researching topics in wired Internet architectures and optical networks. The FARON group does research network control and data plane mechanisms, network optimization and performance-related aspects of networks. The group has a strong track record in the domains of optical networks, network resilience and sofware-defined networking.

Programmable networks with deterministic performance

Telecommunication networks have undergone a massive change in the way they provide their service in the last decade. Where in the old days, telecommunication networks were characterized by rigid protocols, and hardware devices dominated by big industrial players, current telecom networks are controlled by adaptive monitoring and control software on highly programmable devices that transport and/or process network traffic.

Virtualization plays a crucial role in this transformative process. Rather than using dedicated routing, switching devices or security hardware, a large number of functionalities is increasingly executed on commodity server hardware in data centres which can be dynamically scaled in or out when needed.

To accommodate ultra-reliable low-latency communications in hybrid wired and wireless networks, accommodating existing 5G or future 6G mobile communications, the paradigm of packet switching on programmable hardware is challenged. How to guarantee latency, throughput and jitter on software-based or programmable network hardware in support of mission-critical services on a hybrid wired and wireless network? The concept of deterministic networking (DetNet) is emerging and its objective is to guarantee particular levels of latency, jitter and packet loss over both wired and wireless links in possibly very large-scale networks. DetNet aims to model and reserve network hardware in terms of its bandwidth and buffer capacity and relies on scheduling and optimization mechanisms to provide the necessary guarantees on latency, throughput and jitter. The research on DetNet is in its infancy, its feasibility on programmable hardware remains an open question, and many other research questions are yet to be resolved.

In order to face the different research challenges in this domain, we are looking for a researcher who is able to combine modelling, algorithmic and software skills needed to advance this field. 

Job description

The job

  • Under the supervision of professors in the team, you will prepare a PhD dissertation over a duration of about 4 years.
  • You perform cutting-edge research in the domain of network control and optimization.
  • You publish and present results both at international conferences and in scientific journals.
  • You design mechanisms and algorithms for network scheduling, optimization and control
  • You implement proof of concepts of designed mechanisms and algorithms in simulation or small-scale real world networks
  • You validate your research through adequate quantitative measurements in a statistically meaningful manner
  • You tightly collaborate with IDLab colleagues within the FARON team, as well as in other teams where appropriate.
  • You will participate in the framework of national and European funded research projects, and collaborate with research partners from industry.
  • You will assist the research group with limited educational tasks.

Job requirements

  • Holder of a Master degree in Engineering, preferably Computer Science or Electrical Engineering.
  • Strong analytical skills for designing and implementing abstract models and algorithms.
  • Strong interest in network modelling and optimization.
  • Strong programming skills and ability to adapt to particular language or environment (C/C++, Python, Java, …)
  • You work independently, have a strong feeling of responsibility and are able to commit to timing and milestones set forward by different research projects.
  • You are a team player and have strong communication skills.
  • A good knowledge of English (oral and written) is a must. Any knowledge of Dutch (oral) is a plus.

This PhD position is available immediately and is open until the vacancy is filled. The position is not open for post-docs.

Apply by sending an email to prof. Wouter Tavernier, Didier Colle. Your application should include

  • your resume (curriculum vitae)
  • motivation letter (indicating both your research background/interest as well as any specific research skills)
  • a copy of your diploma and diploma supplement (with overview of all courses followed)

More information

Wouter Tavernier – wouter.tavernier@ugent.be

Didier Colle – didier.colle@ugent.be