Postdoctoral position on Web/database programming languages at Edinburgh LFCS

by James Cheney, May 18, 2020

One (possibly two) postdocs on Web and database programming languages are available in the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science, University of Edinburgh. The posts are part of the Skye project, an ERC-funded project to make scientific data management better through advanced programming languages.

Areas of interest include distributed / Web programming, database programming (extending language-integrated query to support heterogeneous query languages, data models) and design & implementation of language features to support extensibility via heterogenrous metaprogramming.

Flexible/remote working are possible and encouraged, subject to visa constraints.

We are now accepting applications for a postdoctoral position in Web/database programming languages in the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh.  The position is for 24 months, starting on September 1, 2020 or earlier.  Funding is provided by a €1.99M Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council on the project: "Skye: A programming language bridging theory and practice for scientific data curation".

https://www.vacancies.ed.ac.uk/pls/corehrrecruit/erq_jobspec_version_4.jobspec?p_id=052075

A second position may become available for this post depending on future funding.

Funding from this ERC grant, and certain national funding schemes, is also available to help support travel/accommodation costs for visits from students, researchers or faculty at other institutions whose research aligns with the project.  Please get in touch if interested.

Research associate (£33,797 - £40,322)

This postdoctoral research position is on Web/database programming and scientific data curation techniques in the Skye project.  This project builds on the Links web programming language to add built-in support for scientific data management needs, particularly data archiving, transformation and provenance.  Currently Links supports sophisticated database access via language-integrated query (ICFP 2013), but only for relational databases; other data models and query languages are not supported, and Links's capabilities for rewriting or transforming queries or updates is limited.

The overall research goal of the Skye project is to identify, develop, and implement extensibility or metaprogramming capabilities to make advanced database programming easy.  The successful candidate will focus on developing language-integrated query support for new data models/query languages, such as graph or RDF databases, and will work with other Skye project members to incorporate these techniques into Links.

Links also has other advanced capabilities such as support for type inference with first-class polymorphism (PLDI 2020), distributed programming with session types (POPL 2019) and algebraic effects and handlers (JFP 2020), and interactions between these features and database programming or new applications to database programming are in scope.  

The ideal candidate will have a strong background in programming languages or databases, with a specialization in Web programming or database programming including familiarity with different distributed programming techniques or query languages and data models.  Familiarity with programming language foundations is also desirable, as is experience with functional programming (e.g. Scala, OCaml, Haskell).  Candidates with a strong background in either database or programming language research will be considered as long as there is clear evidence of ability to learn the complementary background.

What about COVID-19?

Remote working is possible and encouraged.  Successful candidates who are eligible to work in the UK without a visa (= UK or EEA nationals) will be able to take up the post and work remotely prior to arrival in Edinburgh.  Candidates currently in the UK on Tier 4 student visas will also be able to begin work while waiting for a Tier 2 visa.  Candidates in other situations may be able to start work remotely but this depends on UKVI guidelines which are in flux; such candidates are advised to contact us to discuss the situation.

To apply

For more information about the project, and about other related activities in my group, LFCS, and Edinburgh, please write to me or consult the following page:

http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/jcheney/group/skye.html

Applications must be received by 5pm, June 9, 2020.  To apply, visit the University job posting for this position:

Research Associate
  https://www.vacancies.ed.ac.uk/pls/corehrrecruit/erq_jobspec_version_4.jobspec?p_id=052075

then click "apply" and follow the instructions.  Please note that applicants must use the University's application system above, which involves some account registration and form-filling, and it is recommended that applicants complete this process well before the deadline, since the system automatically stops accepting applications after the deadline.

Environment

The University of Edinburgh School of Informatics brings together world-class research groups in theoretical computer science, artificial intelligence and cognitive science. The School led the UK 2014 REF rankings in volume of internationally recognized or internationally excellent research. In 2013, the School of Informatics received an Athena Swan Silver Award, in recognition of its commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. Overall the University of Edinburgh has achieved a Silver Award.

LFCS hosts a wide variety of research on both programming languages and databases, and collaborates with researchers in compilers/systems elsewhere in the School of Informatics as well as with colleagues across Scotland as part of the Scottish Programming Languages & Verification community.  PL research in the School will soon be strengthened by new arrivals with interests in verification, program synthesis, DSLs for performance-portable parallelism, and databases.