Doctoral student in Formal Methods – Reactive Synthesis and Runtime

Updated: 18 days ago
Deadline: 07 Oct 2021

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 53 500 students and 6 500 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

The department of Computer Science and Engineering is strongly international, with approximately 270 employees from over 30 countries. The department is a fully integrated department with the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology as principals. The position is placed in the Formal Methods unit at the department, with the University of Gothenburg as the employer.

The University of Gothenburg values diversity among its employees. We invite applications from all qualified individuals and in particular under-represented minorities.

Job assignments

The aim of the doctoral (third cycle) education is to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct independent research within the area of the position, and to contribute to the development of knowledge by writing a scholarly thesis. In addition, the student will have to undertake 60 Higher Education Credits in courses.

Third-cycle studies are equivalent to four year full-time and lead to a Doctoral Degree. Those appointed to doctoral studentships shall primarily devote themselves to their studies. Doctoral students may, however, work to a limited extent with educational tasks, research, and administration – so-called institutional duties in a teaching and support role; these may be concentrated to certain parts of the year depending on the needs of the department, and in consultation with the student. Before a doctoral degree has been awarded, these duties may not comprise more than 20% of the full-time study. If institutional duties are undertaken for a period corresponding to 20% of full-time study, then the employment contract is extended with the corresponding amount, which gives a total employment period of five years.

The successful candidate will work on the project “Enabling Reactive Synthesis through Runtime Verification” financed by the Swedish Research Council (VR). Reactive synthesis – automatic production of programs from high-level descriptions of their desired behaviour – is emerging as a viable tool for the development of robots and reactive software. In high level, this is like telling a robot what you would like it to do and automatically planning how to do it. Runtime verification is an approach for following programs through their execution to ensure that they work correctly. The project will improve the capabilities of reactive synthesis techniques through exploiting methods that are used for runtime verification. This will include both theoretical and practical contributions.

More concretely, the work will include the study of temporal logic, automata, and two player games. Temporal logic is used for describing in a high level the required behaviour of a program, automata are used as an algorithmic tool for manipulation of logic formulae, and two-player games enable to consider strategies and programs. We will study these formalisms, analyse their properties, devise algorithms to manipulate and translate between them, as well as implement tools that will show the applicability of the developed techniques.


To be eligible for third-cycle studies, the applicant must meet both the general and, where applicable, specific entry requirements.

A person meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle studies if he or she:
1. has been awarded a second-cycle qualification
2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or
3. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad

A background in formal methods, automata theory or logic is a merit.


In selecting between applicants who meet the general and, where applicable specific entry requirements, their ability to benefit from third-cycle studies shall be taken into account.


After admission to third-cycle studies you will be appointed to doctoral studentship. Regulations for employment of doctoral students are given in SFS 1993:100. The initial appointment may apply for no longer than one year. An appointment may be renewed for no more than two years at a time. A person may be appointed to a doctoral studentship for a total of eight years. The total employment period may, however, not exceed the time corresponding to full-time third-cycle study for four years.

Salaries for doctoral students are regulated in a local agreement at the University. 

Type of employment: Fixed-term employment, HF 5 kap 7 §
Extent: 100 % of full time
Location: Department of Computer Science and Engineering/Formal Methods unit
First day of employment: 2021-12-01 or as soon as possible upon agreement

For further information

Regarding the project, please contact the responsible scientist Nir Piterman (
Regarding general questions about the position, please contact David Sands (
Regarding the appointment procedure, please contact HR-partner Kristin Kristiansson (


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

Information for International Applicants

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How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. Kindly write your application in English, as it may be evaluated by international experts with English as their working language.

Closing date: 2021-10-07

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.

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