University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


PhD Studentship in Systems (Fixed Term)

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance. Successful applicants will receive a maintenance allowance of at least the University of Cambridge's recommended maintenance per annum for 3 years.

A fully funded 3 year PhD Studentship is available from October 2017 to work on Power Efficient Rack Scale Fabrics. Rack-Scale Computing is an emerging field in systems which explores the tight integrated design of server, networking and storage. This then becomes the basic building block in enterprise data centers and cloud infrastructure. Rack-scale computing provides superior performance compared with rack enclosures fitted with stand-alone servers, providing scalable high performance networked systems. This project has two goals, the first is to investigate power efficient rack-scale fabrics. Rack-scale computers are bounded by the power budget of their enclosure and their performance will always be limited by their power consumption. From studying the power efficiency and bottlenecks of existing fabric topologies, both from the data center and HPC world, we will develop new power efficient rack-scale fabric architectures. These fabric architectures will be evaluated using a simulator, and then implemented and evaluated in actual systems using real workloads. There is currently no widely adopted simulator in this emerging rack-scale computing field. As this will be needed to evaluate the power efficient rack-scale fabric architectures, the second goal is to develop the de facto standard simulator for designing and evaluating rack-scale computing. We plan to take the current Microsoft Research Rack-Scale Simulator, which was used to evaluate Pelican, XFabric and other rack-scale designs, and to work closely with Microsoft Research researchers to generalize and extend it. We plan to use our experiences building open source communities to drive adoption across the emerging rack-scale computing community.

Candidates should have a 1st class degree in computer science, electronic engineering, mathematics or a closely related discipline, with an experience and interest in Computer Networks. Experience programming in languages such as C++ is required. Experience working with FPGA and knowledge of HDL is an advantage. This project will require a hands-on approach and the expectation is that self-motivated candidates with excellent interpersonal skills and abilities will perform excellent research leading to high quality outcomes and publications.

This Studentship is funded as a Microsoft EMEA PhD Scholarship award, in collaboration with Microsoft Research Cambridge. For UK/EU eligible-students this covers a stipend and fees. Non-UK/EU students may require additional funding for the higher level of fees. Unless you have your own resources for meeting the additional costs of international students, you will not be eligible for this studentship. Applicants should consult the advice given on about eligibility and the requirements for the research proposal.

In the Faculty of Computer Science and Technology, all first-year research students are admitted on a probationary basis, and will be registered for the Certificate of Postgraduate Studies in Computer Science. Funding in the second and subsequent years will be conditional upon successful completion of the first and second years' progress reviews and registration for the PhD Degree.

Applicants should contact Dr Noa Zilberman ( for further information.

Complete applications, including two academic references, research proposal, transcripts and degree certificates, should be submitted via the Applicant Portal by the 29-June-2017, see International students should submit their applications by 31-March-2017. Queries regarding the application process should be directed to using the reference number below.

Please quote reference NR11250 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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