Research Assistant/Associate in Hardware/Software Security of Accelerators in Future Capability-Protected Computer Systems
University of Cambridge
United Kingdom

Research Assistant: £26,715 -£30,942 or Research Associate: £32,816 -£40,322

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 24 months.

The Project

Applications are invited for a Research Associate (PostDoc) or Research Assistant to focus on the hardware/software security of accelerators in future capability-protected computer systems.

The CAPcelerate project seeks to design and evaluate security protections for integrating accelerator hardware in future mainstream systems, in particular for systems incorporating fine-grained hardware memory protection based on the CHERI capability protection model.

The Team

This project is integrated with the CHERI hardware/software team spread across the Computer Architecture and Security groups in Cambridge and at SRI International, who work closely with Arm, Linaro and external collaborators as part of the UK ISCF Digital Security by Design programme. Capability protection can mitigate a large class of memory-safety vulnerabilities in current systems, and is being evaluated as a candidate for future Arm architectures as part of this programme. The team includes the authors of the recent Thunderclap IOMMU-focused attacks (https://thunderclap.io), and motivated mitigations in the USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4 standards.

Candidates

We are seeking a Research Associate or Research Assistant to focus on developing hardware/software protections across full commodity accelerator hardware/software stack(s), where examples might include (but not limited to) GPUs, Machine Learning/AI, FPGAs, and cryptographic acceleration. The post is flexible depending on the research interests of the successful applicant, but may cover work on accelerator hardware, compiler, device driver, operating system and application stack.

We are looking for candidates with a strong background in Computer Science with an interest in computer architecture and security. To be appointed to a Research Associate applicants should hold a PhD or have equivalent experience; those who are close to submitting a PhD will initially be appointed as a Research Assistant and amended upon graduation. Knowledge of an area related to computer architecture or security is not essential but would be advantageous. Experience working in a larger group project, using revision control, continuous integration and other collaboration tools would be desirable, as would an applied focus in their prior work. Candidates should provide evidence of relevant work, where possible, and must demonstrate a desire to perform internationally-leading research and to publish in the top conferences in the area.

More Information

The funds are available for a start date on the 1st April 2021 but some flexibility on this may be possible. We initially expect the successful candidate to work remotely, but plan for physical working in the Department as circumstances permit.

Further details may be obtained from Dr Timothy Jones (https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~tmj32/).

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Please provide a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a covering letter outlining your relevant past experience. If there are specific areas you would like to research, please indicate these in the letter. If you upload any additional documents which haven't been requested we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

Please quote reference NR25269 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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