I’m looking for PhD students in the Fall 2023 application cycle, to start in Fall 2024. Come work with me at Stevens CS in Hoboken, NJ! I’m particularly looking for students with expertise in systems, but I’m happy to talk to anyone with background related to my work (systems, programming languages, databases, logic).
What will we work on?
I’m interested in applying formalism — all those pretty Greek letters in program semantics, type systems, and static analysis — directly to real systems — all that nitty gritty code that makes these beautiful, horrible machines do their thing. I’m working on a few projects that variously emphasize theoretical or practical aspects. My main goal these days is to provide better support for the POSIX shell and its ecosystem, but here’s a sampling from recent papers:
- Smoosh (POPL 2020) and PaSh-JIT (OSDI 2022): I’m interested in improving and supporting the shell. Smoosh is a formal model of the POSIX shell that can be executed and passes the POSIX test suite. Continuing work on Smoosh means hacking in Lem, OCaml, and Coq (and maybe Rust or C or JS or Elm), and thinking about virtualization, symbolic execution, fuzzing, and how specifications and implementations interact. Or maybe it just means building cool tools for the POSIX world!
- Formulog (OOPSLA 2020) and ASP (POPL 2023): Datalog, functional programming, and SMT combine to let you write down and run things that look a lot like your formal spec. Continuing work in this line means hacking in Rust (and maybe C++ or Java), and thinking about SMT and how we can be confident that the formalism we write is the code that we run—and that our code is efficient.
You can check out a list of all my papers. Are any of these papers the sort of thing you’d like to write? Come join me for a PhD!
Who will you work with?
Me and my students, naturally! But also Stevens has about thirty research faculty, and we’re growing fast. We have a great group of people interested in PL, security, and systems: Eduardo Bonelli, Tegan Brennan, Dominic Duggan, Will Eiers, Eric Koskinen, Philippe Meunier, David Naumann, Susanne Wetzel, and Xiaodong Yu. And there are of course many other fantastic researchers in other topics to learn from in class and collaborate with on research. And beyond all that, I got a lot out of my internships (AT&T Shannon Labs; MSR Cambridge), and I encourage my students to find stimulating opportunities.
Where is Hoboken, again?
Hoboken, NJ is directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan a/k/a New York City. There’s 24-hour train service and frequent ferries to and from New York. Hoboken is a vision zero city, where it’s safe and comfortable to bike and walk. There are other cool cities nearby, like Jersey City.