PhD Candidate in Energy Efficiency Analysis of Computer Systems Applications

Faculty/Services:  Faculteit der Natuurw., Wiskunde en Informatica
Educational level:  Master
Function type:  PhD position
Closing date:  17 December 2021



The computing continuum, from devices to the cloud, is relying on digital services. In this project you will focus on measuring the energy consumption of the applications and computing systems that compose these digital services, and translate the results into energy labelsScientific discovery, product development, data science and artificial intelligence, online shopping, and entertainment rely increasingly on digital services. Digital services come with a significant, rapidly-increasing energy cost, raising sustainability concerns. Even more concerning, worldwide estimates project the ICT sector to reach 21% of the global energy consumption by 2030.


Users interacting with devices — mobile phones, tablets, or laptops — trigger entire digital chains, combining multiple communicating computing layers and data transfers: from the device itself, through the edge, to the datacenter. Each layer has its own computing infrastructure. At each layer, decisions are made about how, where and when applications are running and/or data are transferred. These decisions have a significant impact on the user-perceived quality-of-service (QoS), but also on the energy consumption – per layer, and for the entire digital chain. In this complex environment, even though the energy footprint of different devices along the chain might be known, the actual energy consumed by the application is unknown, because it depends on infrastructure choices, and on user QoS requirements, and on mapping decisions made on the edge and in the datacenter. In fact, the energy efficiency, i.e., the amount of energy consumed to perform the actual task at hand, is largely unknown for most digital chains.


The first step to reduce waste in computing is to quantify the energy efficiency of end-to-end digitalchains. This project will design an integrated framework (i.e., the methods, metrics, and tools) for this quantification effort. Specifically, we aim to define a reference architecture of digital chains, use it to define an analytical digital-chain energy-efficiency model that exposes the factors that impact energy efficiency along the chain, and support it with a high-level functional simulator to assess different operational scenarios and parameters that affect the energy efficiency of digital chains.



What are you going to do



  • Perform high quality research in the field of computer science and/or engineering. Specifically, we foresee the following tasks:
    • select (and implement/tune) several candidate case-studies (of digital chains) to be used as real-life examples;
    • define and implement the tools and methods for accurate performance and energy measurement for different digital services along the chain, from device to datacenter; validate these methods and tools on the selected case-studies;
    • define a reference architecture of digital chains; validate the applicability of the reference architecture through on the selected case-studies;
    • implement basic models (using the reference architecture) to reason about the performance and energy of the entire chains of digital services; validating these models on the case-studies;
    • design and implement methods and tools to monitor the energy consumption of digital chains for digital services;
    • publish the results of the research in international venues (conferences and/or journals) in computer science and/or engineering;
    • combine all the research work in a PhD thesis.
  • Work independently but in close collaboration with other members of the team, including the industrial partners.
  • Take part in scientific and social activities with other members of the ZeroWaste lab, the research departments and the faculty.
  • Contribute to dissemination activities about the project in national and international venues.
  • Actively contribute to the teaching of the new Science for Design Bachelor program and relevant programs.



What do we require of you



  • An MSc degree (or equivalent) in computer science or engineering, preferably with a strong focus on computer systems;.
  • Basic expertise in empirical computer-science/computer-engineering research (e.g., designing and conducting real-life experiments). Affinity for experimental research is a must;.
  • Experience with programming in C/C++ is a bonus;
  • Experience with performance modeling and/or energy consumption analysis in computer systems is a bonus;
  • Very good communication skills in English, including reading, writing, and speaking;
  • Ability and willingness to conduct research in a multidisciplinary and diverse team.



Our offer



A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting on 1 March 2022 for the duration of four years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of four years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and Master students.


Your salary ranges between 2.434 to 3.111 gross per month on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the '30% ruling', may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) is applicable. Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.



About us


The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.


The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.


The mission of the Informatics Institute is to perform curiosity-driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The main research themes are Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science and Systems and Network Engineering. Our research involves complex information systems at large, with a focus on collaborative, data driven, computational and intelligent systems, all with a strong interactive component


Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.






If you have any questions about the position, please contact:



Job application


If you feel the profile suits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your letter and CV. You can apply online via the link below. We will accept applications until 17 December 2021.


The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.


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