Distributed Systems


1 research position in Distributed Computing - University of Groningen, NL

Position Description

The Distributed Systems group at the University of Groningen has an open position for a PhD student to work in the project Evolutionary changes in Distributed Analysis (ECiDA). This project involves development of dynamic data analysis pipelines on distributed data clusters.

The candidates for the PhD positions should have a master degree in computer science or related fields, with a strong background in formal methods, service-oriented computing, software engineering, concurrency and distributed systems, and especially practical software tool development. Furthermore, the candidate should have at least some experience in the field of machine learning and/or data analysis / statistics.

The Distributed Systems group performs fundamental research and delivers education at the frontiers of dynamic complex distributed systems using formal engineering tools and seek applications with societal impact. Over the last decade the main research interests covered the areas of AI planning and discrete optimization in highly distributed environments, Internet-of-Things, building automation, large-scale data analytics, business process management, and energy distributed infrastructures as main application domains. The research results have been field-tested in collaboration with industry, one of such applications eventually led to the founding of the Sustainable Buildings company that applies the optimization algorithms in practice.

Project Description: Evolutionary changes in Distributed Analysis

Distributed server clusters are often used effectively to perform data analysis on voluminous collections of data. These clusters substantially speed up large-scale data analysis, by dividing data collections among available machines, where they can be processed in parallel. For instance, the distributed data processing platform Spark has become a de-facto standard in the world of large-scale data processing. The data processing pipelines for such platforms are composed during design time and then submitted to the central “master” component who then distributes the code among several worker nodes.

In many practical situations, the analysis application is not static and evolves over time: the developers add new processing steps, data scientists adjust parameters of their algorithm, and quality assurance discovers new bugs. Currently, an update of a pipeline looks as follows: the developers patch their code, re-submit the updated version, and finally restart the entire pipeline. However, restarting a processing pipeline safely is difficult: the intermediate state is lost and needs to be re-computed; some data needs to be reprocessed and, finally, the cost of restarting may not be trivial - especially for real-time streaming components that require 24x7 availability.

In this project we develop a platform to support evolving data-intensive applications without the need for restarting them when the requirements change (e.g., new data sources or algorithms become available). We apply our developed tools and techniques and evaluate their effectiveness in the context of three different industrial use cases from three top sectors: water treatment, life sciences, and HTSM/Smart Industry.

General information

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen. Quality has had top priority for over four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists. The UG has eleven different faculties, each with their own research focus. The current position is offered at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, in the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, a newly formed institute that aims to perform outstanding academic research and teaching in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Artificial Intelligence, and to maintain international leadership herein; to foster these disciplines as a living body of knowledge, and to make it relevant to society in its broadest sense.For more information see www.rug.nl.

Terms of employment

The PhD student will be appointed full-time at the University of Groningen. The salary for each position is in accordance with the "CAO-onderzoekinstellingen" and is commensurate with experience. The current starting salary for a first year PhD student is around €1900 per month. The salary will include an incremental raise for each subsequent year. Besides the salary, the UG offers very attractive and flexible terms of employment, like a collective health insurance, pension-fund, an end-of-year bonus, generous leave allowance, parental leave, etc. See the conditions of employment at UG for more details.


To apply, please send a statement of your interest, together with curriculum vitae and letters of reference. A. Lazovik E-mail: a[dot]lazovik[at]rug[dot]nl.