Research Associate in Security Analysis of Graphics Drivers

Job summary

The Department of Computing is a leading department of Computer Science among UK Universities, and has consistently been awarded the highest research rating from the Higher Education Funding Council. In the 2014 REF assessment, the Department was ranked third (1st in the Research Intensity table published by The Times Higher), and was rated as "Excellent" in the previous national assessment of teaching quality. We are looking to hire a...

Job listing information

  • Reference ENG00196
  • Date posted 15 February 2018
  • Closing date 30 March 2018

Job description

Job summary

The Department of Computing is a leading department of Computer Science among UK Universities, and has consistently been awarded the highest research rating from the Higher Education Funding Council. In the 2014 REF assessment, the Department was ranked third (1st in the Research Intensity table published by The Times Higher), and was rated as "Excellent" in the previous national assessment of teaching quality.

We are looking to hire a motivated Research Associate interested in applying a range of techniques from program analysis, testing and verification to investigate security issues affecting graphics drivers. The project will be supervised by Dr Alastair Donaldson, in the Multicore Programming research group within the Department of Computing, and will feature engagement with project partner Google.

Graphics drivers are embedded in practically all consumer devices, and technologies such as WebGL allow high performance graphics computations to be performed client-side to aid in the rendering of feature-rich websites. As well as providing immense opportunities for the development of exciting applications, the pervasiveness of graphics drivers also presents an attack vector: defects in graphics drivers can potentially be exploited for distributed denial of service attacks, attacks that exploit information leaks to gain access to private data, and in the worst case remote execution attacks.

Duties and responsibilities

This project will focus on the design of novel techniques to identify graphics-related security vulnerabilities ahead of time, using a variety of testing methods based on randomized program transformation and manipulation. This is inspired by recent successes in finding serious security vulnerabilities affecting graphics drivers. There is also scope within the project to investigate methods for formally verifying components of open source graphics drivers.

A particular focus of the project will be on looking at vulnerabilities associated with graphics rendering in web browsers, and the project will involve interaction and collaboration with the Google Chrome GPU team.

Essential requirements

To apply, you will need to have:

  • A strong background in computer science with experience in building and working with large software systems and tools
  • Significant expertise in at least one of security, testing or program analysis.
  • You must have excellent verbal and written communication skills and be able to organise their own work with minimal supervision and prioritise work to meet deadlines
  • Candidates are also expected to have a proven research record and publications in the relevant areas.

Applicants are also expected to hold (or shortly expect to receive) a PhD degree in Computer Science or a related field. We will also consider exceptional pre-doctoral applicants.

For informal inquiries about this position please contact Dr. Alastair Donaldson. For further information on the Multicore Programming research group see http://multicore.doc.ic.ac.uk/.

*Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant within the salary range £32,380 - £34,040 per annum.

Further information

In addition to completing the online application, candidates should attach:

  • A full CV, with a list of all publications
  • A two-page research statement indicating what you see are interesting research issues relating to the above post and why your expertise is relevant
  • Transcripts of all degree results

Should you have any queries regarding the application process please contact Georgina Tennant: g.tennant@imperial.ac.uk

Documents

About Imperial College London

Imperial College London is the UK’s only university focussed entirely on science, engineering, medicine and business and we are consistently rated in the top 10 universities in the world.

You will find our main London campus in South Kensington, with our hospital campuses located nearby in West and North London. We also have Silwood Park in Berkshire and state-of-the-art facilities in development at our major new campus in White City.

We work in a multidisciplinary and diverse community for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle the big global challenges our complex world faces.

It’s our mission to achieve enduring excellence in all that we do for the benefit of society – and we are looking for the most talented people to help us get there.

Additional information

Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

All Imperial employees are expected to follow the 7 principles of Imperial Expectations: 

  • Champion a positive approach to change and opportunity
  • Communicate regularly and effectively within, and across, teams
  • Consider the thoughts and expectations of others
  • Deliver positive outcomes
  • Encourage inclusive participation and eliminate discrimination
  • Develop and grow skills and expertise
  • Work in a planned and managed way 

In addition to the above, employees are required to observe and comply with all College policies and regulations.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment. We are an Athena SWAN Silver award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.