Industry Sponsored Studentships


Industry Sponsored Studentships

The projects below are sponsored by some of the CDT in Pervasive Parallelism’s industry partners. This means that the students who are selected to work on these projects will receive funding and supervisory guidance from the sponsoring company, as well as from the CDT.

If you would like to apply for one of these studentships, you should follow the standard application procedure for the CDT in Pervasive Parallelism, but focus your research proposal on the relevant project described below. You are advised to begin by discussing your application with the named contact for that project.

You might also be interested in applying to work on one of the other research project ideas suggested by our industry partners; these would be fully funded by the CDT.

 

Formal Specification and Proofs for TrustZone in ARMv8-M

Sponsored by ARM

The increasing complexity and connectivity in microcontroller devices has prompted the development of  rotection mechanisms to improve reliability and security. ARM’s TrustZone for ARMv8-M provides a separate “secure world” execution mode to enable features such as secure firmware updates, safe integration of code from multiple suppliers and controlled access to privileged peripherals. It is designed in a different way to TrustZone on other ARM architectures, with greater hardware support for low-resource microcontrollers.

This project would study the low-level instruction set design of TrustZone for ARMv8-M, devising formal specifications describing the security properties that hold at the instruction level and proofs that these provide the intended protection against low-level attacks. The specifications would also aim to provide a basis for higher-level proofs about the security properties of software that runs in the secure world.

Flexibility

The exact details of the project are flexible depending on the candidate’s interests and background and ARM’s progress and priorities at the time of starting.

Funding

This studentship will cover all tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend at the EPSRC rate. Students receive funding for a full, 4-year EPSRC studentship, plus an additional 3.5k per annum and a funded internship.

Candidates are encouraged to contact Ian Stark (Ian.Stark @ ed.ac.uk) or David Aspinall (David.Aspinall @ ed.ac.uk) to informally discuss the project further.

Formal Verification of Security Properties of the mbed OS uVisor

Sponsored by ARM

The mbed OS uVisor is a core security component for ARM’s mbed IoT platform. It creates isolated security domains on Cortex M3, M4 and M7 microcontrollers with a Memory Protection Unit (MPU). The MPU provides a small number of memory regions of limited size. On top of these the uVisor provides a more flexible compartmentalisation using separate security domains (“Secure Boxes”), configured with ACLs.

This project will apply theorem proving methods to help define and then verify correctness and security properties of the uVisor implementation, building on previous work which has constructed instruction set models and decompilation techniques, and extending with formal modelling of exception handling and memory protection. Example verification goals include correctness aspects, such as ensuring that MPU regions get correctly reallocated on demand (ensuring progress/availability), or perhaps higher-level properties such as control-flow integrity (ensuring certain attacks are not possible in client code).

Flexibility

The exact details of the project are flexible depending on the candidate’s interests and background and ARM’s progress and priorities at the time of starting.

Funding

This studentship will cover all tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend at the EPSRC rate. Students receive funding for a full, 4-year EPSRC studentship, plus an additional 3.5k per annum and a funded internship.

Candidates are encouraged to contact Ian Stark (Ian.Stark @ ed.ac.uk) or David Aspinall (David.Aspinall @ ed.ac.uk) to informally discuss the project further.

GPU Compiler Optimisation

Sponsored by ARM

GPUs were initially designed as dedicated hardware accelerators for a graphics pipeline. Since then, they have expanded their usage to a much wider class of application. GPUs are widely recognised as having the potential to deliver power-efficient, high performance. However, achieving this potential is difficult, due to rapidly evolving architecture and the increasing diversity of applications.

This project will investigate compiler optimisation to improve the performance portability of GPUs. It will explore the impact compiler/runtime optimisation has on existing OpenCL and graphics shader workloads as well as emerging applications from Computer Vision. The area of research is broad and will depend on the student’s interests ranging from high-level parallelisation and mapping of work-flows to low-level instructions scheduling for GPU ISAs.

This project is sponsored by ARM, the world’s leading semiconductor IP company, where there is a unique opportunity to work under the hood on next generation GPUs.

Flexibility

The exact details of the project are flexible depending on the candidate’s interests and background.

Funding

This studentship will cover all tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend at the EPSRC rate. Students receive funding for a full, 4-year EPSRC studentship, plus an additional 3.5k per annum and a funded internship.

Candidates are encouraged to contact Professor Michael O’Boyle (mob@inf.ed.ac.uk) to informally discuss the project further.

Smart Parallelisation and Architecture Support

Sponsored by ARM

From data centres to smartphones, today’s computers are based on parallel multi-cores.  They offer the potential for scaled performance while avoiding excessive power density. Efficient use of such systems, however, relies on both sufficient program parallelism and accurate exploitation of that parallelism by the hardware. Given that much software consists largely of sequential code and computer hardware is constantly changing, efficient parallelisation is a real challenge.

This project is concerned with parallelism discovery using static and dynamic analysis followed by portable smart mapping of parallelism to hardware. There are multiple areas for research which include:

– Parallel/vector trade-off  in large systems

Here we are concerned with discovering parallelism and exploring what type of hardware best exploits it.  For example, is using multiple-core  or vector/SIMD best in terms of performance and energy? Integrating this into partial parallel MPI programs, providing support for speculation and dynamic allocation of parallelism are other areas of interest.

– Exploring hardware design to exploit available parallelism

Using dynamic analysis it can be shown that programs have considerably parallelism that cannot be exploited efficiently. Here, we are concerned with investigating how future hardware should be designed.  By changing costs or redesigning micro-architecture, this work will investigate to what extent hardware can efficiently support the exploitation of more aggressive program parallelisation.

This project is sponsored by ARM, the world’s leading semiconductor IP company. where there is an opportunity to work across research groups.

Flexibility
The exact details of each project are flexible depending on the candidate’s interests and background.

Funding
This studentship will cover all tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend at the EPSRC rate. Students receive funding for a full, 4-year EPSRC studentship, plus an additional 3.5k per annum and a funded internship.

Candidates are encouraged to contact Michael O’Boyle (mob@inf.ed.ac.uk) or Björn Franke (bfranke@inf.ed.ac.uk) to informally discuss the project further.

Specialised Compiler/Architecture Design for Computer Graphics

Sponsored by ARM

Computer Graphics is the driving force behind much of the innovation in mobile devices. The need for high quality, low power realtime graphics has led to specialised Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). Such processors exploit massive parallelism and have specialised units for different parts of the graphics pipeline.  Despite graphics being the driver behind GPUs, there is a large disconnect between the games developers, graphics frameworks, shader compilers, runtime systems and graphics hardware.

This project will investigate cross-stack optimisation of graphics processors.  It will explore how existing hardware and system software optimisation fits emerging graphics applications. It will examine how to deliver next generation graphics in a real-time energy constrained setting.  The area of research is broad and will depend on the student’s interests ranging from e.g. optimising ray-tracing to low-power hardware.

This project is sponsored by ARM, the world’s leading semiconductor IP company, and involves working with their media and graphics group.

Flexibility

The exact details of each project are flexible depending on the candidate’s interests and background.

Funding

This studentship will cover all tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend at the EPSRC rate. Students receive funding for a full, 4-year EPSRC studentship, plus an additional 3.5k per annum and a funded internship.

Candidates are encouraged to contact Michael O’Boyle (mob@inf.ed.ac.uk) to informally discuss the project further.


Industry Sponsored Scholarships through the School of Informatics

CDT in Pervasive Parallelism industry partners Microsoft Research and Google also provide research scholarships to students in the School of Informatics. CDT PPar applicants and students are good candidates for these. For details, please see the Scholarships pages on the School website.

 


 Industry partners can find out more about sponsoring studentships and projects at: Company Support of Student Projects.