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Doctoral student in System Security and Formal Methods
KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has grown to become one of Europe’s leading technical and engineering universities, as well as a key centre of intellectual talent and innovation. We are Sweden’s largest technical research and learning institution and home to students, researchers and faculty from around the world. Our research and education covers a wide area including natural sciences and all branches of engineering, as well as architecture, industrial management, urban planning, history and philosophy.
Third-cycle subject: Computer Science
One of the major challenges within computer security is how to develop system software (operating system kernels, hypervisors, security monitors, device drivers, GUIs) that are secure, and preferably provably so, but at the same time capable of fully exploiting the performance capabilities of modern hardware. Recent, highly publicized vulnerabilities such as Spectre and Meltdown illustrate well the insecurities built into current hardware and system software architectures. Finding solutions to this is currently the subject of intense research at KTH and around the world. Our approach is to combine experimental work with formal modelling and verification to identify vulnerabilities and develop countermeasures and prototypes with provable security guarantees.
The positions are supported by TrustFull, www.kth.se/TrustFull, a new project on fullstack security funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research SSF. As such, there will be strong interactions with other PhD students and Professors at the intersection of software engineering and software security.TrustFull combines novel uses of software diversity and automated software repair with formal techniques at low level to develop new techniques for end-to-end security across the entire application stack from hardware to user level applications.
Within TrustFull we implement secure system components and build models and verification tools, mainly using semiautomated theorem proving in Higher Order Logic, HOL. The research group led by professor Mads Dam and assistant professor Roberto Guanciale combines deep interest in logic, mathematics, abstract modelling and formal proofs with a strong will to apply these methods to the design, development, testing, and verification of concrete system solutions.
A strong background in computer science in general, and some previous exposure to formal methods is essential for these positions. Pluses are previous experience with the use or development of verification tools, as well as familiarity with modern operating systems and processing hardware.
The work will take place at the Department of Theoretical Computer Science, www.kth.se/tcs where the TrustFull project is hosted. In addition to the positions advertised here, three more PhD students are currently announced, along with two postdoc positions, together with the senior staff forming the backbone of the TrustFull project team.