Vacancy: PhD in modelling of photonic multi-GPU networks




​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 groundbreaking 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 centers worldwide and jointly develops advanced technologies with industry (R&D centers 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.

Photonic multi-GPU networks

A prestigious research project PMGN has recently been accepted for funding at Ghent University. This PMGN project proposes a new compute paradigm of wafer-scale integration of graphical processor units (GPUs). A large array of GPUs is interconnected with a photonic network on a wafer level, promising unprecedented performance at low power. This novel paradigm requires cross-disciplinary research at different layers in the execution stack: computer architecture, optical networking, high-speed electronics, and photonics & heterogeneous integration.

Within the PMGN project, the IDLab FARON team will be responsible for the design of novel photonic network architectures and network control algorithms. The PhD research will encompass a very broad exploration of (basic and nonbasic) topologies in the networking layer. This includes varying design parameters as well as comparing a range of network-on-wafer and multi-stage switching architectures. The PhD research will also examine the design of network control algorithms which establish connections and broadcasting trees, considering the underlying optical network and the bandwidth and timing requirements defined by the multi-GPU systems. These algorithms will allocate resources, aiming to allow maximum usage of power saving techniques, such as managing sleep mode for various components of the optical network.  

In order to face the different research challenges in this domain, we are looking for a researcher who is able to combine insight in photonic networks and processor architectures with modelling and algorithmic 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 photonic network design and optimization.
  • You publish and present results both at international conferences and in scientific journals.
  • You examine the characteristics of photonic networks and GPU-architectures in detail, and collaborate with other researchers within the PMGN consortium.
  • You design novel architectures and scheduling mechanisms for photonic multi-GPU networks
  • You validate your research through adequate quantitative measurements in a statistically meaningful manner
  • You will assist the research group with limited educational tasks.

Job requirements

  • Holder of a Master degree in Engineering, preferably Computer Science, Electrical Engineering or Photonics.
  • Strong analytical skills for designing and implementing abstract models.
  • Strong interest in network modelling and optimization.
  • Strong programming skills (e.g. Python, or C/C++, Java, …)
  • Knowledge on photonic networks and processor architectures is a plus.
  • 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. Mario Pickavet, 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

Mario Pickavet –

Didier Colle –