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PhD-fellow in distributed business process execution engines

The IT University of Copenhagen invites highly motivated individuals to apply for a PhD position starting 1 July 2021 or soon thereafter.

Project description
Companies collaborate, even when they have conflicting interests. Collaborations are described by legal contracts, and when a collaboration fails—when a party fails to uphold its part of the contract—that failure is resolved in court. Just the potential for such failures makes safeguards and contingency plans necessary, inflicting cost, friction, and lost time at every level, from minute implementation details of IT systems to sweeping strategic decisions by top-level management.

Collaborations are implemented by computer systems, which both facilitate communication and automatically execute steps of the collaboration: distributed business process execution engines. These engines are implemented as commercial products or using commercial software libraries. They are used in one form or other by the majority of large organizations.

The research in the DISTRUST project will provide a prototype scalable implementation of distributed business process execution under partial trust. We will achieve this goal in two phases: First, we formalize the exact partial trust required by extending existing formalisms for specifying executable business process models using techniques from the study of logic, of business process modelling, and of game theory. Then, using this formalization, we selectively pick integrity-protection mechanisms commensurate with the level of trust required: covert adversary cryptographic protocols, trusted hardware, or equivalent retaliation.

The successful applicant
The successful applicant will have a strong background in computer science or mathematics and with:

  • an emphasis on security protocols
  • algorithms
  • programming language theory
  • formal models of business processes and/or concurrency
  • modal logics
  • probability theory
  • game theory
Previous research experience in security and cryptography, concurrency theory, or business process modelling is an advantage.

Moreover, the successful candidate should be motivated and enthusiastic about both theoretical research and applications of formal methods.

Qualification Requirements
The following qualifications are required:

  • 3 year programme: candidates should have an MSc (or equivalent)
The application must be in English and must include:

  • A cover letter;
  • A statement of purpose, which provides evidence of independent thinking, novelty and originality, and a state of the art grasp of the targeted research field matching the project description above;
  • Documentation of academic degree(s); grade transcripts that documents outstanding academic achievement;
  • Curriculum Vitae, which must include two professional/academic references;
  • Applications may also include a relevant scientific publication written by the applicant, or the applicants master thesis. Letters of recommendation can also be included in the application
Applications without the above-mentioned required documents will not be assessed.

It is understood that even highly qualified applicants will satisfy these requirements to varying degrees, for example because of differences in publication cultures in various research fields.

Early contact with our faculty staff is strongly encouraged.

General information
The IT University of Copenhagen (ITU) is a teaching and research-based tertiary institution concerned with information technology (IT) and the opportunities it offers. The IT University has more than 160 full-time Faculty members. Research and teaching in information technology span all academic activities which involve computers including computer science, information and media sciences, humanities and social sciences, business impact and the commercialization of IT.

Successful applicants will be employed and enrolled at the ITU University for a period of 3 years.

Appointment and salary will be in accordance with the Ministry of Finance’s agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC).

Application procedure
You can only apply for this position through our e-recruitment system. Apply by pushing the button "Apply for position" in the job announcement on our website:

Please read the guidelines for applicants carefully before filling in the application form. You can see the guidelines through this link:

Applications must be written in English. All other documents, such as transcripts must be accompanied by a translation in English or Danish.

The applicant will be assessed according to the Appointment Order from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of 13 March 2012.

The IT University may use shortlisting in connection to the recruitment process. I In case of shortlisting, the Chair of the hiring committee selects applicants for assessment in consultation with the hiring committee after the application deadline. All applicants are notified whether their application has been passed for assessment. The shortlisting of candidates for assessment is based on the criteria in the job posting.

Application deadline: 1 May 2021, at 23:59 CET/CEST.

Applications/enclosures received at ITU after the application deadline will not be taken into consideration. If you submit an application, it is your responsibility to ensure that it arrives before the deadline so please allow sufficient time for upload of publications and other documents.

Further information
Questions about the positions can be directed to Associate Professor, Søren Debois, IT University of Copenhagen,

The IT University invites all qualified researchers regardless of age, gender, religious affiliation or ethnic background to apply for the positions.

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