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Performance Portable Approaches to HPC Application Development (SEtS Doctoral Studentship)

   Department of Computer Science

   Wednesday, February 15, 2023  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

About SEtS

This is a Studentship opportunity within the Doctoral Centre for Safe, Ethical and Secure Computing (SEtS) in the Department of Computer Science at the University of York. SEtS is a key initiative which supports our strategic vision to internationally lead education and research in the engineering of safe, ethical and secure computational systems. Find out more about SEtS.

About the Project

In 2008, Roadrunner became the first supercomputer to break the PetaFLOP/s barrier. Roadrunner was an AMD Opteron powered system with PowerXCell accelerators connected to each node, making it one of the first modern heterogeneous systems. This heterogeneous approach has continued ever since, with a growing proportion of the fastest supercomputers in the world making use of highly-specialised computational accelerators (e.g. GPUs) alongside traditional multi-CPU hosts; and this trend looks set to continue as we cross the ExaFLOP/s barrier.

The emergence of computational accelerators has been coupled with a golden age of architectural developments [1]. Many of the systems likely to be available in the next decade will employ hierarchical parallelism, delivered by a diverse set of architectures. With each architecture potentially requiring a different programming model and different optimisation strategies, developing software that is both portable and performant across systems is becoming increasingly difficult.

Within the Department of Computer Science at York, there are a number of projects and collaborations seeking to develop or redevelop performance portable HPC applications that are able to target a range of heterogeneous platforms from a single-source. Two particular examples are Project NEPTUNE [2] and the EPOC++ project [3].

This project seeks to evaluate different approaches to performance portable application development with a particular focus on applications from the plasma physics domain. Initially this would be through an evaluation of available options using miniaturised applications (mini-apps), before shifting focus to incorporate established best practices into relevant applications (e.g. EPOCH). 

Research areas: High-Performance Computing, Plasma Physics, Fusion Energy, Parallel Programming Languages

Key Dates

  • Application submission period: 15 November 2022 - 15 February 2023
  • Interviews: 1 March - 20 March 2023
  • Notification of offers: 31 March 2023
  • Deadline for accepting studentship offers: 17 April 2023

Read more about the application process and follow our step-by-step guidance for applicants: How to apply

Informal enquiries

Funding Notes

The Doctoral Scholarship includes full coverage of tuition fees and an annual stipend of £17,668 (full time equivalent for 2022/23). Funding is available to successful UK and International students.


[1] John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson. A new golden age for computer architecture. Commun. ACM, 62(2):48–60, January 2019.
[2] Project NEPTUNE,
[3] EPOC++: A Future-Proofed Kinetic Simulation Code for Plasma Physics at Exascale,

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