PhD Student on the subject of development of dynamic data analysis pipelines on distributed data clusters

The Formal Methods group at CWI has an open positions 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.

Job description

The Formal Methods group at CWI has an open positions 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. 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.


Candidates are required to have a master degree in computer science or related fields, with a strong background in formal methods, data analysis, service-oriented computing, software engineering, concurrency and distributed systems, and especially practical software tool development. Preferable qualifications for candidates include proven research talent, an excellent command of English, and good academic writing and presentation skills.

Terms and conditions PhD Student

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres ("CAO-onderzoeksinstellingen"). The initial labour agreement will be for a period of 18 months. After a positive evaluation, the agreement will extended by 30 months. The gross monthly salary, for a PhD student on a full time basis, is €2,291 during the first year and increases to €2,937 over the four year period.

Employees are also entitled to a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.33%. CWI offers attractive working conditions, including flexible scheduling and help with housing for expat employees.


Please visit our website for more information about our terms of employment:


Application Applications can be sent before 1 June 2018 to All applications should include a statement of your interest, together with curriculum vitae, letters of reference, and lists of publications.

For more information about the vacancy, please contact Prof. F. de Boer, email or Prof. F. Arbab, email

For more information about CWI, please visit or watch our video “A Fundamental Difference” about working at CWI.

For residents outside the EER-area, a Toefl English language test might be required.


About Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science and is part of the Institutes Organisation of NWO. The mission of CWI is to conduct pioneering research in mathematics and computer science, generating new knowledge in these fields and conveying it to trade, industry, and society at large.

CWI is an internationally oriented institute, with 160 scientists from approximately 27 countries. The facilities are first-rate and include excellent IT support, career planning, training, and courses.

CWI is located at Science Park Amsterdam that is presently developing into a major location of research in the natural sciences in The Netherlands, housing the sciences of the University of Amsterdam and of the Vrije Universiteit as well as several other national research institutes next to CWI.

Research group

The Formal Methods group at CWI is a dynamic group of internationally recognized researchers who work on Coordination, Concurrency, service-oriented and Component-Based Software Composition. The activity in FM is a productive, healthy mix of theoretical, foundational, and experimental work in Computer Science, ranging in a spectrum covering mathematical foundations of models of computation, formal methods and semantics, implementation of advanced research software systems, as well as their real-life applications. To find more information about the group, please visit the group page and watch their video.