PhD position in Computer Science at University of Neuchatel

30. Aug 2017

Workplace

Neuchatel, Switzerland

We invite applications for a fully funded PhD research position in Computer Science cosupervised by the University of Neuchatel and the CSEM (Centre Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique). This position is in the context of a joint research effort funded by CSEM (http://www.csem.ch).

The position is funded for 3 years. Applicants must have a Masters degree in Computer Science (or equivalent), be fluent in English, and demonstrate strong team-working abilities. Candidates with proven programming skills who are knowledgeable in (distributed) systems, security, networking, languages or middleware are particularly encouraged to apply.

Applications should be submitted by e-mail to Valerio Schiavoni (valerio [dot] schiavoniatunine [dot] ch) and Mathieu Lemay (Mathieu [dot] LEMAYatcsem [dot] ch), including:
(a) Curriculum vitae;
(b) List of 2-3 reference persons and their e-mail addresses (we ask for recommendation letters ourselves and we will ignore any recommendation letter sent by the candidate her/himself);
(c) Transcripts of undergraduate and graduate studies;
(d) Links to masters and internship thesis/reports, and publications if applicable;
(e) Links to examples of software personal contributions (on github or similar).

All documents must be sent as a single pdf.
The expected starting date is September 2017.
Applications will be screened as they arrive and until an appropriate candidate is selected.

Context

A wealth of sensitive data is continuously produced by body sensors, environmental sensors, bracelets, etc. These devices generate continuous streams of data, used in several domains. Prominently, health-based scenarios (e.g., in hospitals) rely on such streams to support the analysis and to diagnose illnesses. These streams of data typically need to be processed in a timely manner, potentially by exploiting and merging different streams.
To reduce the costs of maintenance of large computing facilities required to handle these operations, it is desirable to outsource these computations to public cloud providers, which are typically untrusted.
At the same time, they are source of highly sensitive and private data.
Hence, the collection, storage and processing of such data require special care and offer challenging research opportunities.
Users do not want to disclose unnecessary information but still to take advantage of the benefits of aggregate analysis. In this context, new EU regulations (General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679) will require and enforce proper handling of private data.

Recent advances in mass-market hardware, such as Intel SGX in the SkyLake CPUs, ARM’s TrustZone, or upcoming AMD's SME-SEV (generally referred to as Trusted Execution Environments) are offering breakthrough opportunities to provide uncompromised secure data handling for all the steps of a secure and privacy-preserving data processing pipeline.

The thesis project will investigate the challenges of efficiently processing sensible data continuously streamed by sensors in a privacy-preserving fashion.

PhD work description

The work of the PhD student will revolve around the design and implementation of efficient techniques to exchange data between low-energy devices (the "things") and public clouds in the context of vital sign monitoring.
The candidate will investigate and propose novel techniques to combine streams of different natures (signals, images) leveraging the capabilities of public cloud providers and Trusted Execution Environments.
Finally, she or he will have a fundamental role in the development and deployment of a prototype implementation respecting medical regulations and its evaluation.
Experience with mobile or wearable development (or willing to achieve it) is a plus.
The candidate will also work in close contact with R&D divisions at CSEM to drive the research toward practical industrial needs.

Requirements

The working language at the University of Neuchatel and at CSEM is English. The PhD student is expected to participate to a limited amount of teaching activities in English as a teaching assistant or, alternatively, to be partially involved in other R&D activities at CSEM. French is not a requirement for the position, but French lessons are provided by the university to ease integration.

The candidate is expected to use state-of-the-art tools for software development and collaboration, such as git, Docker, and such.

Location

The University of Neuchatel is settled in a beautiful landscape of lake and mountains that offers a friendly atmosphere to about 4,000 students. It was recently ranked 18th in the world among the universities with fewer than 5,000 students. The city of Neuchatel belongs to the French-speaking part of Switzerland and is located at the border of the German-speaking part of the country. Courses at the computer science department are taught in English, in the context of the joint Berne-Neuchatel-Fribourg Master in computer science. For more information, visit http://www.unine.ch.

PhD expected start

September 2017 or as soon as possible

Principal advisors

valerio [dot] schiavoniatunine [dot] ch (Dr Valerio Schiavoni)
Universite of Neuchatel
Faculty of Sciences
Institut d'informatique (IIUN)
Rue Emile-Argand 11
CH-2009 Neuchatel
Switzerland

Mathieu [dot] LEMAYatcsem [dot] ch (Dr Mathieu Lemay)
CSEM
Rue Jaquet-Droz 1
CH-2000 Neuchatel
Switzerland