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Heterotic Computing Practice: Developing a Practical Means for Designing, Constructing and Evaluating Future Heterotic Computers

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, January 31, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The successful candidate will join our team of researchers working on the SpInspired research project funded by EPSRC and the University of York, UK. SpInspired is developing a methodology for exploiting unconventional computing in unconventional materials such as carbon nanotubes, NMR, liquid crystals, each performing the part of the overall computation that they do best. It is an interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers from York’s Departments of Computer Science, Electronic Engineering, and Chemistry, and the York Cross-disciplinary Centre for Systems Analysis (YCCSA).

We have developed a computational framework called Heterotic computing (named from the term in genetics meaning ‘hybrid vigour’), which can be used to extend a theory of unconventional computing to such multiple novel materials and substrates.

The goal of this PhD research is to develop the practice of heterotic computing, in order to provide a practical means for designing, constructing, evaluating, and exploiting future heterotic computers. Instead of creating computing devices from predefined discrete components, the physical properties of electrically active random disordered materials in combination with suitable electronic configuration will be utilised to perform computation with them.

This project is focussed on one of the most challenging research questions in heterotic computing, which is the choice and evaluation of materials that exhibit the desired properties and behaviours to make them good computers. This will include the preparation and application of nano materials as computational substrates, initially looking at a combination of carbon nanotubes, graphene and liquid crystal. Guided by the initial results other unconventional materials will be included.

The project would suit a student with any science and/or engineering background with a keen interest in interdisciplinary work between environment, biology and computing/engineering. Basic knowledge of electronics and programming would be beneficial.

Funding Notes

Applications are invited for a fully funded, three-year PhD studentship starting in October 2019 in the Department of Electronic Engineering under the supervision of Dr Martin Trefzer and Dr Simon O’Keefe. This PhD studentship will cover the tuition fee at the UK/EU rate (£4,345 in 2019/20) and a stipend at the standard research council rate for a period of 3 years (£14,777 in 2018/19).

Candidates must have (or expect to obtain) a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2.1) or equivalent in Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics or a related subject.

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