Fully-funded PhD studentship at University of Edinburgh

Job type: 


Application deadline: 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Research group: 

Fully-funded PhD studentship at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
One fully funded PhD position is available to work with Dr Mina Doosti and Dr Myrto Arapinis in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, and co-advised with Dr Farid Shahandeh at the Royal Halloway University of London on a project titled “Resource frameworks for secure quantum computing and quantum cryptography”.

Project description:The cornerstones of many quantum cryptographic protocols such as secure multiparty computation and zero-knowledge proofs are cryptographic building blocks like bit-commitment and coin-flipping tasks. Achieving these building block tasks perfectly has been proven impossible in the classical realm. Nevertheless, some can be achieved by exploiting quantum resources given certain trade-offs, which signifies the gap between classical and quantum resources. Creating more robust and novel secure functionalities thus faces a challenge, namely, identifying and quantifying quantum features responsible for the power of quantum security in both computational and communication tasks. Recent advancements in cryptanalysis based on different notions of unclonability have revealed the role of unclonability in the security of cryptographic tasks such as coin-flipping and authentication. On the other hand, there is evidence suggesting that unclonability emerges from fundamental properties such as contextuality and nonlocality due to the noncommutative structure of quantum states. Such properties are also responsible for computational quantum advantage. It is thus natural, novel, and timely to bridge the knowledge gap between quantum cryptography and quantum resource theories. This project aims to achieve this goal by fully characterizing quantum resources in cryptographic tasks. Such a tool will pave the way for the development of innovative and more secure quantum protocols and algorithms in the future and deepen our understanding of both fields.

Program and studentship details:

  • The duration of the program is 3.5 years.
  • The selected candidates will start as soon as possible, with a suggested date of September 2024.
  • The studentship covers:
    • Full-time PhD tuition fees for both home and international students·
    • A tax-free full UKRI-rate stipend for 3.5 years (current rate of £19,237)
    • A sum of £2,000 is included for conferences and travel.

Candidate’s profile:

  • Applicants are expected to have (or about to obtain) a Master’s degree or equivalent (e.g., a First Class Honours) in Computer Science, Physics, or Mathematics. Outstanding candidates with a Bachelor’s Hons degree (without a Master’s) will also be considered in special cases.
  • A strong background in the theory of quantum computation, quantum foundations, quantum information theory, or closely related fields is highly desirable.
  • Proficiency in English (both oral and written) is required.

Research Environment:

Successful applicants will be part of the  Quantum Software Lab and will have the opportunity to interact with the other members of the group and more widely within the Schools of Informatics, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, Engineering, and EPCC. The candidate will also have the unique opportunity of having an external co-supervisor at the Royal Halloway University of London. The program is a part of Oxford DTP allocated to the Quantum Computing and Simulation (QCS) Hub. The successful candidate will, therefore, have the unique opportunity to be involved in the activities of the QCS Hub and interact with quantum researchers across the UK.

The School of Informatics is one of the largest in Europe and currently the top Informatics institute in the UK for research power, with 40% of its research outputs considered world-leading (top grade), and almost 50% considered top grade for societal impact. The University of Edinburgh is constantly ranked among the world’s top universities (among the top 20 Universities in the world in computer science) and is a highly international environment with several centres of excellence.

Application Information:

We encourage the applicants to contact Dr Mina Doosti (mdoosti@ed.ac.uk) or Dr Farid Shahandeh (farid.shahandeh@rhul.ac.uk) for informal inquiries, before formally submitting their applications.

Formal applications should be made through  the University’s admissions portal (EUCLID) and apply for the following programme: PhD Informatics: LFCS: Foundations of Computer Science, Databases, Software and Systems Modelling - 3 Years (Full-time)  with a start date of October 2024.

Applicants must state the project title, and the research supervisors (Mina Doosti & Myrto Arapinis) in their application and Research Proposal document. The anticipated start date is 1st October 2024, but later start dates can be considered.

Applicants must submit:

  • All degree transcripts and certificates (and certified translations if applicable).
  • Evidence of English Language capability (where needed and applicable).
  • A short research proposal (max 2 pages).
  • A full CV and cover letter describing your background, suitability for the PhD, and research interests (max 2 pages).
  • Two references (note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure reference letters are received before the deadline).

Note that this is a rolling advert until the position is filled with the provisional deadline of 15th of May 2024. However, we encourage international candidates to apply by the 19th of April 2024.