Two post-doctoral research associate positions on the performance and
quality-of-service of Blockchain infrastructures

Summary
- 2 postdoc positions on Blockchain infrastructures @ UCLouvain
- In a top research university in Belgium, just south of Brussels
- In collaboration with a major telecom and cloud solutions provider
- Starting date 1st October 2019
- Both positions fully funded for two years
- Topics: blockchain, performance, fairness, quality-of-service, 
- benchmarking, distributed systems, networks
- Please forward to potential candidates!

We invite applications for two fully-funded post-doctoral research associate
positions at UCLouvain, Belgium. Both positions are for a duration of 2 years.
The positions are in the context of a joint research project with a key player
in telecom and Blockchain-as-a-Service.

Context
=======

Blockchains allow building trustworthy decentralized applications without the
need to trust an individual administrative domain. Blockchains provide a common
ground of trust in the form of a distributed, append-only and immutable ledger,
shared and accessed by different parties. Selecting and setting up a Blockchain
infrastructure is complicated. The Blockchain-as-a-Service model allows
providers to offer blockchains as managed environments in the cloud, resulting
in higher uptake and shorter deployment times.

This project focuses on two challenges in the context of
blockchain-as-a-service offerings:

- First, it is difficult for companies building applications to select which
 blockchain infrastructure will fit their current and future requirements.
 This includes criteria on features, performance and scaling. There is a need
 for automated benchmarking and performance modeling tools to help end users
 make informed choices. We need a better understanding of performance and
 scaling of both permissionless and permissioned blockchains under a variety
 of application workloads.

- Second, quality of service (QoS) guarantees offered by blockchain
 infrastructures remain too limited. In particular, there are little
 guarantees of fairness between users of the same blockchain. One user or one
 institution may get a significantly better service (lower confirmation
 delays, less transactions rejected due to consistency conflicts, etc.) due to
 differences in connectivity, malicious activity of the other users, or faults
 in the distributed infrastructure. Unfairness can introduce biases in the
 application using the blockchain. This limits the trust users can put in the
 application. Unfairness is a significant concern for consortium blockchains
 deployed over multiple clouds and data centers. There is a strong need for
 better QoS guarantees for blockchain clients, in particular on fairness.

Objectives
==========

The selected post-doctoral researchers will work towards better performance
understanding, fairness and QoS guarantees in blockchain infrastructures, in
the context of blockchain-as-a-service offerings in a
geographically-distributed infrastructure.

The research will target fundamental advances in the design and implementation
of blockchain systems, with a stronger focus on the infrastructure, systems and
networking aspects than on applications. The two post-docs will contribute to
efficient benchmarking of performance, QoS and fairness of blockchain systems,
and propose solutions for the live monitoring and adaptation of parameters for
representative systems. They will study sources of unfairness in existing
blockchain designs. They will contribute algorithms and systems allowing to
reduce this unfairness, improve performance, and mitigate the impact of
malevolent parties on QoS.

The research activities will be in close cooperation with a leading telecom and
blockchain-as-a-service provider, who will help understanding concrete needs of
blockchain application developers and infrastructure providers.

Note: The two post-docs will be assigned a separate research agenda based on
their research expertise, experience and interests. Each will be in charge of a
specific work package as primary contributor. Collaborations between the
post-docs, the industrial partner, and other member of the computer science
department are expected, under the technical lead of the post-docs.

Working conditions
==================

UCLouvain (Université catholique de Louvain) is a top-ranked research
university in Belgium. The post-doctoral research associates will be integrated
to the ICTEAM research institute and its INGI computer science department. INGI
features 11 professors and more than 40 researchers active in various domains
including cloud computing, networking, distributed systems, or security.

https://uclouvain.be/en/research-institutes/icteam 

The working place will be Louvain-la-Neuve, a one-of-its-kind city and
university campus located just south of Brussels, and home to more than 20.000
students. The two positions are funded by Innoviris, the Brussels research
funding agency in the context of the FairBCaaS research project.

Salaries includes full medical insurance and are highly competitive at the
European level. They will take into account past experience of the research
associates.

Expected profiles
=================

We are looking for candidates with research interests and expertise in a
combination of distributed systems, middleware, performance modeling, and
networks.

The candidates will be expected to have significant experience in developing
distributed software and running large-scale evaluations. They should master
state-of-the-art tools for software development and collaboration. Evidence of
significant contribution to (open source) software is a clear plus.

Applicants must have a PhD in Computer Science at the time they start the
position, be fluent in English, have good abilities to work in an international
setting. French is not a requirement for the positions, but support will be
given should a candidate would want to learn the language.

Selected candidates should commit to be available to travel to conferences
worldwide to present research results, and participate to collective activities
of the lab, which may include moderate teaching assistantship.

Application details
===================

Both positions start on October 1st, 2019.

The call is open from May 10, 2019. Candidates screening and interviews (on
Skype) will start from June 1st, 2019. The positions will remain open until the
appropriate candidates are selected. The availability of the positions will be
announced at:

https://cloudlargescale-uclouvain.github.io/vacancies 

Interested and potential candidates are warmly encouraged to contact Prof
Riviere and Prof Sadre prior to sending a full application to discuss the
details and objectives of the positions, and identify common research interests.

Applications should be submitted by e-mail to both Prof Etienne Riviere and
Prof Ramin Sadre ([log in to unmask], [log in to unmask]),
including:

(a)	Curriculum vitae;
(b)	List of 2-3 reference persons and their e-mail addresses (we ask for 
   recommendation letters ourselves: letters sent by the candidates will be 
   disregarded);
(c)	Transcripts of graduate studies and PhD reports;
(d)	Links to Masters and PhD thesis;
(e)	List of publications and links to PDF (not behind a paywall). 
   Please send both a comprehensive list of publications as well as the list 
   of up to three ones that you consider the most important. For each of these 
   important publications, give the detail of your personal contribution and
   involvement.
(f)	Links to examples of personal software contributions.

All documents must be sent in pdf format.

Advisors

Prof Etienne Riviere and Prof Ramin Sadre
UCLouvain/ICTEAM
Louvain-la-Neuve
Belgium