Senior Research Associate/Research Associate for Emergent Self-Aware Data Centre Software

Lancaster University - School of Computing and Communications

Salary: Grade 6 £26,829 - £31,076
             Grade 7 £32,958 - £38,183

We are seeking to appoint a research associate to work on the Leverhulme-funded project “The Emergent Self-Aware Data Centre: Autonomous software landscaping at scale”.

This project aims to develop novel theory and implementation to enable entire distributed software systems to autonomously self-assemble from a large set of small behaviours, with no human input in this process, to satisfy a given goal. This will help to address the growing problem of software complexity, in which human developers are required to have extremely high levels of input into the design, implementation, maintenance and deployment of software. Once a functional system (or system of systems) has been assembled using our approach, these systems will then continually discover their own capabilities by learning about the different ways in which they can assemble themselves and how those assemblies affect their performance under different conditions. All of this happens while a target software system is live, running in its normal production environment, so that everything is learned based on the reality to which the system is actually subjected. The proposed research is enabled by two recent innovations by the PI’s research team: an ultra-adaptive programming platform, able to rapidly assemble and continually re-assemble live systems from very small fragments of behaviour with very low overhead; and a real-time learning approach that automatically abstracts entire systems of complex behaviours into action/reward models.

This research project has three major tracks: (1) building a datacentre software infrastructure using our novel programming technology; (2) researching and developing an autonomous distributed knowledge and learning framework for runtime self-assembly, self-design and self-learning of software behaviour at large scale; and (3) researching and developing an autonomous creative centre to generate new components and designs for the live system. You will be directly involved in leading and developing the research in Track 1 and 2, and will support an associated PhD student in the development of research for Track 3. You are invited to enquire for further details of the research project’s structure and aims.

You will join the Distributed Systems research group within Lancaster’s School of Computing and Communications (SCC), a vibrant research team investigating a wide range of topics from adaptive software systems to interoperability and high-level system specification. This offers a stimulating and highly diverse environment for research, with SCC hosting over 200 staff and PhD students.

We seek applications from enthusiastic individuals who are strongly motivated to help push the boundaries of knowledge and technology in this research area. You are expected to have a strong background in Computer Science, particularly in operating systems or distributed systems. You are expected to hold, or be nearing completion of, a PhD in a relevant research area; existing experience of post-doctoral research is beneficial. Excellent skills in programming are essential, as is a willingness and ability to learn and use new technologies. It is also highly desirable that you have some working knowledge of machine learning or artificial intelligence techniques.

This is a fixed term position for 42 months full-time.

Informal enquiries about this post may be made to Dr Barry Porter (email: or telephone +44 1524 510524).

We welcome applications from people in all diversity groups.

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Northern England