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, EY tuition fees covered up to     €5,500 p.a., non-EU students may have to pay balance of full fees.

Job Description


 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 .