PhD student in automatic code generation for exascale finite-element solvers

PhD student in automatic code generation for exascale finite-element solvers

Published Deadline Location
28 Feb 7 Apr Amsterdam

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Are you passionate about distributed computing, GPU programming, and numerical algorithms? Do you want to help us develop a new generation of computational tools to democratise the access to massively parallel computing systems? Then apply at VU now.

Job description

We are looking for a motivated PhD candidate to strengthen our team at the computer science department of VU Amsterdam under the supervision of Tiziano De Matteis and Francesc Verdugo.

Your duties
  • develop new methods to simplify the access to modern High-Performance Computing (HPC) systems in the context of finite-element based scientific simulations
  • research new source-to-source compilation technology able to translate mathematical definitions of scientific problems into efficient computer code that can run on modern computing system
  • help us to answer key research questions:
    • how to automatically generate efficient code for different computer architectures (CPUs and GPUs), problem types, and finite element formulations?
    • how to escape the abstractions imposed by domain-specific languages used in code generation?
    • how to extend these techniques beyond a single CPU/GPU to exploit the next generation of exascale supercomputers?
  • develop a portfolio in the context of education by contributing to teaching in the department as a teaching assistant

As a PhD candidate, you will have the opportunity to present your findings at national and international conferences, contribute to scientific publications, and start building your scientific career. This 4-year position is expected to result in a dissertation leading to a PhD degree in Computer Science.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • you have completed a Master in Computer Science, Computational Science, or a related Master's programme heavy in computational/numerical methods (the Master’s degree must have been awarded by the agreed starting date of the PhD)
  • you have an academic background and competencies in parallel programming and high-performance computing
  • you have knowledge of scientific computing, finite element methods, and numerical linear algebra is a plus
  • you have practical experience with the Julia programming language is a plus
  • you have strong oral and written communication skills in English
  • you possess good organisational skills
  • you are proactive and able to work in a team as well as independently

As a university, we strive for equal opportunities for all, recognising that diversity takes many forms. We believe that diversity in all its complexity is invaluable for the quality of our teaching, research and service. We are always looking for talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This also means that we are committed to creating an inclusive community so that we can use diversity as an asset.

We realise that each individual brings a unique set of skills, expertise and mindset. Therefore we are happy to invite anyone who recognises themselves in the profile to apply, even if you do not meet all the requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 18 months.

A challenging position in a socially engaged organisation. At VU Amsterdam, you contribute to education, research and service for a better world. And that is valuable. So in return for your efforts, we offer you:
  • a salary of € 2.770,00 (PhD) and maximum € 3.539,00 (PhD) gross per month in the fourth year, for a full-time employment
  • an employment contract of initially 18 months. If there is sufficient perspective, this will be extended to a total of 4 years. Your dissertation at the end of the fourth year forms the end of your employment contract.

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and arrangements. Some examples:
  • A full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year. If you choose to work 40 hours, you have 96 extra holiday leave hours on an annual basis. For part-timers, this is calculated pro rata.
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

About the project
This project will be jointly supervised by Dr. Tiziano De Matteis, and Dr. Francesc Verdugo, assistant professors in the Department of Computer Science. The PhD candidate will be embedded in their respective research groups Massivizing Computer Systems and High Performance Distributed Computing.

Faculty of Science
Researchers and students at VU Amsterdam’s Faculty of Science tackle fundamental and complex scientific problems to help pave the way for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, and from molecules to the moon: we cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. Our teaching and research have a strong experimentally technical, computational and interdisciplinary nature.

We work on new solutions guided by value-driven, interdisciplinary methodologies. We are committed to research, valorisation and training socially engaged citizens of the world who will make valuable contributions to a sustainable, healthy future.

Are you interested in joining the Faculty of Science? You will join undergraduate students, PhD candidates and researchers at the biggest sciences faculty in the Netherlands. You will combine a professional focus with a broad view of the world. We are proud of our collegial working climate, characterised by committed staff, a pragmatic attitude and engagement in the larger whole. The faculty is home to over 11,000 students enrolled in 40 study programmes. It employs over 1,600 professionals spread across 10 academic departments.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam stands for values-driven education and research. We are open-minded experts with the ability to think freely. - a broader mind. Maintaining an entrepreneurial perspective and concentrating on diversity, significance and humanity, we work on sustainable solutions with social impact. By joining forces, across the boundaries of disciplines, we work towards a better world for people and planet. Together we create a safe and respectful working and study climate, and an inspiring environment for education and research. Learn more about our codes of conduct

We are located on one physical campus, in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas business district, with excellent location and accessibility. Over 5,500 staff work at the VU and over 30,000 students attend academic education.

Diversity is the driving force of the VU. The VU wants to be accessible and receptive to diversity in disciplines, cultures, ideas, nationalities, beliefs, preferences and worldviews. We believe that trust, respect, interest and differences lead to new insights and innovation, to sharpness and clarity, to excellence and a broader understanding.

We stand for an inclusive community and believe that diversity and internationalisation contribute to the quality of education, research and our services.

Therefore, we are always searching for people whose backgrounds and experience contribute to the diversity of the VU community.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3791


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1111, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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