Research Studentship in Converged Programmable Hardware

Project: Sustainable and Scalable Computing Infrastructure

3.5-year DPhil studentship
Supervisor: Professor Noa Zilberman

The rise of digital economy and the growing dependency of our society on cloud-based services are continuously increasing the demands from communications infrastructure and computing systems. These systems are required to scale, and at the same time to reduce their power footprint. The introduction of programmable network devices, and the convergence of networked-systems disciplines, offer an opportunity to achieve both goals. Cursory studies have suggested up to x10,000 throughput improvement and x1,000 power savings, but have limited applicability for many use-cases.

This project will investigate the use of converged programmable hardware devices as a means to create scalable and sustainable computing infrastructure. The introduction of new hardware architectures and the exploration of their application to computing infrastructure are expected to be key parts of this studentship.

This project offers the opportunity to undertake ground-breaking research in the field of programmable hardware, involving elements of networking, computer architecture, and sustainability.


This studentship is funded through the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Training Partnership and is open to both UK students (full award – fees plus stipend) and EU students (partial award – fees only). Full details of the EPSRC eligibility requirements can be found here.

Award Value

Course fees are covered at the level set for UK/EU students (c. £7970 p.a.). The stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) is c. £15009 p.a. for the first year, and at least this amount for a further two and a half years.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A first-class honours degree in Engineering, Computer Science, or a related discipline.
  • Excellent hardware design skills (e.g., FPGA or ASIC)
  • Good programming skills (e.g., Python, C/C++)
  • Basic knowledge of networking
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Knowledge of programmable network devices (e.g., using NetFPGA or programming in P4)
  • Basic knowledge of memory subsystems

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Professor Noa Zilberman.

Candidates must submit a graduate application form and are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria. Details are available on the course page of the University website.

Please quote 20ENGEL_NZ in all correspondence and in your graduate application.

Application Deadline

Noon on 24 January 2020

Start Date

October 2020