PhD Opportunities with Harley Eades at Augusta University

Harley Eades of the Granule Project and Augusta University’s ForML Lab is actively seeking applications for a PhD student starting Fall 2021. The successful applicant will be funded–including tuition, salary, and (international) conference travel–for the first three years of their appointment through a new NSF funded project:

“Semantically and Practically Generalizing Graded Modal Types”

A short overview of the main goals of this project is as follows:

“We propose to investigate the theory and practice of graded modal types with the goal of combining and generalizing type-based software verification and data-usage tracking, thereby extending the verification abilities of type systems. To carry out this research we plan to:

  1. investigate a new foundational theory for graded modal types based on the underlying theory of constructive modal logics that will support several new kinds of data-usage tracking making them more applicable to real-world problems.

  2. design and implement Tenli; a general purpose functional programming language with graded modal types that supports general type-based software verification;

  3. design new pedagogical materials for teaching resourceful software verification at both the undergraduate and graduate levels using Tenli, and other tools.”

The successful applicant will be advised by Harley Eades, but also collaborate with Dominic Orchard and his students in the Granule Project. In addition, they will have the opportunity to help mentor summer undergraduate research assistants through new collaborations with:

  • Clark Atlanta: A historically black university, and
  • Wesleyan College: An all womens school in Georgia.

This is also an exciting time to join the ever growing Augusta University who has made Computer Science one of the main pillars of their university. We have successfully recruited ten new faculty (at all ranks) per year for the last three years. Fall 2021 marks the inaugural year of our PhD program and the successful applicant will be among the first PhD students in Computer Science at our university.

Even though this is the inaugural year of our PhD program Harley Eades has mentored and collaborated with several PhD students over the course of the last six years. As part of a different NSF funded project Harley Eades recruited and collaborated with three PhD students from other universities through stipends. In addition, he actively collaborates with and has helped mentor PhD students working with Dominic Orchard. Finally, Harley Eades is an active SIGPLAN Mentor ( of one PhD student.

Interested students should meet the following properties:

  • Be interested in the overall project as stated above.

  • Have or are about to complete a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science or a related field (Computer Engineering, Information Systems, Software Engineering, Mathematics, etc.).

  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.

  • Both national and International applicants are welcome.

If you are interested in applying for this opportunity please begin by contacting Harley Eades ( with the following information:

  • A brief introduction of yourself and if you’ve done any research already.

  • CV/Resume

More information:

PhD Opportunities with Dominic Orchard at the University of Kent

Dominic is currently looking for new PhD students to join the Granule project, at the School of Computing, University of Kent which is based in Canterbury, UK. You can find details of how to apply on here. The deadline for applications is usually late January.

Here are some possible starting points for projects.

Multi-stage semantics and typing via graded modalities

Staged computation (otherwise known as meta programming) is a powerful technique for writing programs that generate programs. This might be in a simple macro language, or a more involved compile-time code generator, or even a multi-stage pipeline of multiple languages or sublanguages, including JIT. It turns out that intuitionistic modal S4 logic generates a useful type system for staged computations (through a Curry-Howard like isomorphism), detailed in the work of Davies and Pfenning (A modal analysis of staged computation, 2001). The aim of this project is to generalise their approach to graded modalities, capturing truly multi-stage programs: not just 2 stages, but n-stages, with their interactions controlled and described by a graded modal type system. This approach can then be combined with other kinds of graded modality to explain the role of data across multiple levels of a staged compilation pipeline.

Grade-directed compilation and verifying optimisations

Graded types provide an opportunity to capture program properties at the type level, which can be used to expose static analysis information to the user. This aids the programmer in reasoning about their programs, but can also benefit the compiler: the information in graded types can be used to direct compilation. This project would develop a compiler for Granule (or a similar language with graded types) that uses the graded type information to inform optimisations, e.g., leveraging linear types and bounded-reused modalities to statically de-allocate memory and use mutation where possible, or using security modalities to change how binaries are compiled to obscure data and data structures. There is already an initial LLVM compiler which provides a starting point. An additional, or alternate, project is to push grades into a semantics in order to verify compiler optimisations at the semantic level. Initial work suggests that graded structures in semantics (e.g. graded monads and graded comonads) can allow common optimisations to be proved correct in a unified way at the denotational level, allowing a new compiler verification technique. There is a lot of work to be done here.