Three Exciting PhD Opportunities at Nimbus Research Centre

Three Exciting PhD Opportunities at Nimbus Research Centre

Three fully funded PhD positions in Smart Networking and Control

The Nimbus Research Centre at Cork Institute of Technology invites applications for up to three fully funded PhD positions in smart networking and control. The three PhD positions will be part of the Nimbus Centre’s involvement in two Science Foundation Ireland funded research centres, the CONNECT Centre for Future Networks and the CONFIRM Centre for Smart Manufacturing.

The involvement in the two SFI Centres offer PhD students a multi-disciplinary environment to carry out their research and allows for networking and interaction with other PhD students and researchers working on networking and control topics and applications in smart cities and smart manufacturing.

Each position carries a tax free scholarship of €18,000 per annum for 4 years, tuition fees of up to €5,500, and a travel and equipment allowance.

Qualifications required: First class honours undergraduate degree, Master’s degree, or equivalent, in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electronic Engineering or Telecommunications

Essential Criteria

  • Confident in mathematical modelling and evaluation both analytically and in computer simulation
  • Experienced in software development for computer simulation and experimentation with a hands-on approach
  • Understanding of the scientific method: design of experiments, running experiments, critical analysis of results, etc.
  • Proficient communication skills (oral and written) in English.

Applications Process: Please send your CV/Resume sinead.rodgers@cit.ie.

  1. PhD Researcher in robust distributed control over unreliable networks
  2. PhD Researcher in IoT and Blockchain technologies in an industrial environment
  3. PhD Researcher in high speed, deterministic, wireless communication for factory automation

PhD Opportunity Number One

Title of Post  PhD Researcher in robust distributed control over
unreliable networks
Reports to Prof. Dirk Pesch / Dr. Kritchai Witheephanich
Project Area Cyber-physical Manufacturing Control Systems
Post Duration (Months)  48 months
Third Level Institute & Faculty   Nimbus Research Centre, Cork Institute of Technology
Internal Confirm Collaborator(s) Dr. Victor Cionca
Work Package #  3.1-3
ID REF #:  C-PhD-36
Deadline for Applications   Rolling deadline until the vacancy is filled
Salary Scale    SFI PhD Stipend of €18,000 tax free per annum, EU tuition fees covered up to     €5,500 p.a., non-EU students may have to pay balance of full fees.

Job Description

Overview:

The Confirm Centre for Smart Manufacturing is a new Science Foundation Ireland and industry funded research centre head-quartered at the University of Limerick with partner institutions Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, NUI Galway, Maynooth University, Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology. The Centre, which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland with co-funding from industry, brings together 42 industry partners and partners with 16 international manufacturing centres from around the globe to focus on the development of smart manufacturing for applications across Ireland’s leading industrial sectors. Confirm’s ambition is to become a world leader in smart manufacturing research and to enable Irish industry to fundamentally transform to a smart manufacturing ecosystem, delivering measurable and visible economic impact to Ireland. The successful candidate will work with a world-class team of academics, researchers and industry partners in a highly innovative and motivated environment.

In future smart factories, cyber and physical components, such as sensors, actuators, control processing units, and communication networks, are tightly interconnected via multiple wired/wireless communication networks. The typical assumption of instantaneous, error free signal transmission for measurements and control actuations that may have been valid for traditional centralised control systems do no longer hold in (wireless) networked cyber-physical systems (CPSs). This results in high computational and communicational burdens, which may add long delays and data loss to the system control. As packet loss and variable latency can degrade system performance and can even destabilise a control loop, communication uncertainty must be managed between network protocols and control algorithms. The current PhD position is to analyse the effects of uncertainties in network effects on the stability and performance of industrial networked control systems and to design a robust distributed
observer and controller accounting for such uncertainties that can maintain stability and real-time performance requirements for smart sensor and actuator systems under varying wireless M2M communication performance.

The specific tasks are as follows:

i) The student will develop wireless channel fading models in such a way
that it can contribute to a modelling framework which is realistic to industrial environments and will
address the integration of wireless network effects such as delay and packet dropouts into the control
design model;

ii) The student will develop and explore different robust control frameworks and associated
algorithms and control and communication strategies to address the problem of stabilising the networked
control system despite the uncertainties of network effects and under a very low error rate requirement
imposed by industrial cyber-physical processes;

iii) The system reliability and re-configurability will be
further improved through the development of a distributed control algorithm to ensure zero system
downtime when faulty nodes are detected and disconnected;

iv) Any new strategies will be evaluated in
suitable computer simulation environments.

Person Summary

Qualifications required: First class honours undergraduate degree, Masters degree, or equivalent, in a
field related to the project, such as Electrical or Electronic Engineering, Systems and Control Engineering,
Telecommunications Engineering or Computer Science.

Essential Criteria

• Background in control and optimisation algorithms and techniques
• Experience in model predictive control, robust control, distributed optimisation and/or estimation
• Solid mathematical modelling and programming skills
• Experience in Matlab and other relevant modelling/simulation tools
• Ability to work in multi-disciplinary teams
• Proficient communication skills (oral and written) in English

Desirable Criteria

Experience in industrial automation and networking and/or control of manufacturing processes is a
plus

Application Process: Please send your CV/Resume with the ID REF# C-PhD-36 shown above and a cover
letter in support of these requirements to dirk.pesch@cit.ie / kritchai.witheephanich@cit.ie

 

PhD Opportunity Number Two

Title of Post  PhD Researcher in IoT and Blockchain technologies in
an industrial environment
Reports to Prof. Dirk Pesch / Dr. Alex Vakaloudis
Project Area Edge versus Cloud Manufacturing Control
Post Duration (Months)  48 months
Third Level Institute & Faculty   Nimbus Research Centre, Cork Institute of Technology
Internal Confirm Collaborator(s) Dr. Victor Cionca
Work Package #  3.1-4
ID REF #:  C-PhD-37
Deadline for Applications   Rolling deadline until the vacancy is filled
Salary Scale    SFI PhD Stipend of €18,000 tax free per annum, EU tuition fees covered up to     €5,500 p.a., non-EU students may have to pay balance of full fees.

Job Description

Overview:

The Confirm Centre for Smart Manufacturing is a new Science Foundation Ireland and industry funded research centre head-quartered at the University of Limerick with partner institutions Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, NUI Galway, Maynooth University, Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology. The Centre, which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland with co-funding from industry, brings together 42 industry partners and partners with 16 international manufacturing centres from around the globe to focus on the development of smart manufacturing for applications across Ireland’s leading industrial sectors. Confirm’s ambition is to become a world leader in smart manufacturing research and to enable Irish industry to fundamentally transform to a smart manufacturing ecosystem, delivering measurable and visible economic impact to Ireland. The successful candidate will work with a world-class team of academics, researchers and industry partners in a highly innovative and motivated environment.

Within the context of Industry 4.0 technology advances in Edge Computing and Software Defined Networking and most importantly in Cloud Computing and Internet of Things (IoT), have made it possible to start working on new paradigms to address current issues and introduce new service offerings. Blockchain is one technology with the potential to enhance the delivery of Industry 4.0 solutions and trigger substantial transformations. For example, in the area of operations and maintenance, it promises greater agility, efficiency and transparency through the definition, execution and validation of novel business processes at local, factory or application layer.

The motivation of this research is the empowerment of IoT in industry through Blockchain technologies. This is an active research and development domain were generic or specialised solutions have started to appear and be applied. However, there exist multiple issues still to be addressed ranging from edge processing power requirements,security and trust and performance up to the realisation of tangible benefitsin industrial production.

The aim of this research is to study and demonstrate the potential of using Blockchain in an IoT-enabled industrial environment so as to meet performance criteria and introduce ground-breaking solutions to vastly improve existing processes and establish new offerings. The approach to take will be through the aggregation of sensor and logistics data so as to produce analytics, identify bottlenecks in industrial processes and subsequently initiate their optimisation.

The research will:

• Investigate the characteristics of industrial environments and processes in the context of IoT trust,
transparency, availability and traceability of assets from the point of initiating an order of components
from a supplier, through its utilisation in production up to and beyond the delivery of a product or service
to the end customer.
• Explore both the shift in performance that a decentralised Blockchain architecture can establish but also
the cost and skills required for the transition to Blockchain-based systems.
• Produce a multi-layered framework to demonstrate how Blockchain-driven technologies can facilitate the
alteration of supply chain processes in SME industrial environment.
• Validate and demonstrate the applicability of the developed approach through a prototype platform and
pilot studies in multiple scales e.g. with an SME and large factory plant.

Person Summary

Qualifications required:First class honours undergraduate degree, Masters degree, or equivalent, in a
field related to the project, such as Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Electronic Engineering.

Essential Criteria

• Experience in using Cloud, IoT or Blockchain technologies
• Strong software development skills in Java, Python or JavaScript
• Good knowledge of system architectural patterns
• Ability to work in a multi-disciplinary team environment
• Proficient communication skills (oral and written) in English.

Desirable Criteria

-Previous research or industrial experience is desirable
-Exposure to cloud-based environments

Application Process:Please send your CV/Resume with the ID REF# C-PhD-37 shown above and a cover
letter in support of these requirements to alex.vakaloudis@cit.ie

 

PhD Opportunity Number Three

Title of Post   PhD Researcher
Reports to  Dr. Victor Cionca/Prof. Dirk Pesch
Project Area  High speed, deterministic, wireless communication for Factory Automation
Post Duration (Months)  48 months
Third Level Institute & Faculty   Nimbus Research Centre, Cork Institute of Technology
Internal Confirm Collaborator(s)  Dr. Krtichai Whiteephanich
Work Package #   2.1
ID REF #:  C-PhD-20
Deadline for Applications   Rolling deadline until the vacancy is filled
Salary Scale    SFI PhD Stipend of €18,000 tax free per annum, EU tuition fees covered up to     €5,500 p.a., non-EU students may have to pay balance of full fees.

Job Description

Overview:

 The Confirm Centre for Smart Manufacturing is a new Science Foundation Ireland and industry funded research centre head-quartered at the University of Limerick with partner institutions Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, NUI Galway, Maynooth University, Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology. The Centre, which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland with co-funding from industry, brings together 42 industry partners and partners with 16 international manufacturing centres from around the globe to focus on the development of smart manufacturing for applications across Ireland’s leading industrial sectors. Confirm’s ambition is to become a world leader in smart manufacturing research and to enable Irish industry to fundamentally transform to a smart manufacturing ecosystem, delivering measurable and visible economic impact to Ireland. The successful candidate will work with a world-class team of academics, researchers and industry partners in a highly innovative and motivated environment.

This specific PhD research project is focused on high-speed wireless machine-to-machine communications essential for smart factory and factory automation applications. Industrial networks have very strict demands on reliability (packet loss rate of <10e-9) and latency (<1ms). While existing wireless technology can satisfy latency, packet loss is non-deterministic depending very much on environmental conditions. Reliability can be improved, but typically at the expense of increased latency. Some of the existing techniques for improving reliability are: i) over-provisioning, e.g. WirelessHART uses only strong links, >80% PDR, and min node degree is 4; ii) schedule and routing redundancy, for fast failure handling; iii) error correction, e.g. FEC and ARQ; iv) cooperative communication approaches, can lead to PDR >99%, (10% increase over pure TDMA solutions). The use of time slotted MAC protocols allows for deterministic latency as implemented in standardised industrial machine to machine communication standards, still show that the latency obtained with these standards is still high and non-deterministic, affected by the stochastic nature of the wireless channel.

This project will investigate communication techniques at the lower layers of the network stack that will allow achieving the level of determinism and control required for closed-loop control in Industrial Automation. The items to be investigated will address: MAC protocols, reliability enhancements (ARQ, Cooperative ARQ, error correction) as well as physical layer techniques based on existing standards and upcoming future standards. The goal of the project is to develop a precise understanding of how these techniques influence QoS parameters (reliability, latency, jitter) under a known radio channel condition. The development of mathematical models characterising these relationships is expected, so that the communication parameters can be optimised and novel approaches be proposed and evaluated to enhance reliability while maintaining high-speed communication.

Person Summary

Qualifications required: First class honours undergraduate degree, Masters degree, or equivalent, in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electronic Engineering or Telecommunications

Essential Criteria

  • Strong knowledge of Wireless Communications and Networking
  • Confident in mathematical modelling and evaluation both analytically and in computer simulation
  • Experienced in software development for computer simulation, hands-on approach
  • Understanding of the scientific method: design of experiments, running experiments, critical analysis of results,
  • Proficient communication skills (oral and written) in

Desirable Criteria

  • Some experience in automation systems and/or control engineering is a plus

Application Process: Please send your CV/Resume with the ID REF# C-PhD-20 shown above and a cover letter in support of these requirements to victor.cionca@cit.ie / dirk.pesch@cit.ie .

 

 

 

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