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Formal methods for modelling and analysis of protocols and algorithms for swarm robotics (Advert reference: SF18/CIS/MOON)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Ensuring the correctness of protocols and algorithms for the coordination of robotic swarms is a challenging problem, involving reasoning about continuous dynamics and probabilistic behaviour. These systems are outside the scope of standard formal techniques, such as temporal logic model checking. The aim of this project is to investigate statistical model checking methods for application to this domain, in particular, to swarm coordination algorithms based on heterogeneous potential fields. The project will build upon previously successful PhDs in the area of formal modelling and swarm robotics.

Please note eligibility requirement:

* Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]) in computer science, computer networks or related degrees; or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
* Appropriate IELTS score, if required

This project is well suited to motivated and hard-working candidates with a keen interest in formal methods and distributed systems. The applicant should have excellent communication skills including proven ability to write in English.

Applicants should have some background knowledge in the following areas: Formal methods, algorithm analysis, and distributed systems. The following skills are highly desirable for this project:
• Ability to read and understand state of the art research in formal methods and swarm robotics
• Experience in formal modelling and analysis
• Strong computer programming skills
• Analytical modelling
• Application development experience

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18/CIS/MOON) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 March 2019 or 1 June 2019 or 1 October 2019

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University hold an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded research project


Almohammad, Ali (2013) Rigorous code generation for distributed real-time embedded systems. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Saghar, Kashif (2010) Formal modelling and analysis of denial of service attacks in wireless sensor networks. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Brockway, Michael (2010) A compositional analysis of broadcasting embedded systems. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Eliot, Neil (2017) Methods for the Efficient Deployment and Coordination of Swarm Robotic Systems. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Eliot N, Kendall D, Brockway M. A New Metric for the Analysis of Swarms using Potential Fields. in IEEE Access, 2018

Kashif Saghar, William Henderson, David Kendall, Ahmed Bouridane. Applying formal modelling to detect DoS attacks in wireless medium. 2010 7th International Symposium on Communication Systems, Networks & Digital Signal Processing (CSNDSP 2010)

Kashif Saghar, William Henderson, David Kendall, Ahmed Bouridane. Formal modelling of a robust wireless sensor network routing protocol. 2010 NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems (AHS)

Kashif Saghar, David Kendall, Ahmed Bouridane. Application of formal modeling to detect black hole attacks in wireless sensor network routing protocols. 2014 11th International Bhurban Conference on Applied Sciences and Technology (IBCAST)

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