PhD Studentship in Programming Languages, University of Wellington, New Zealand

PhD Studentship in Programming Languages, University of Wellington, New Zealand
(Ownership and Immutability)
Unification of Immutability and Ownership. I am actively looking for a PhD student in programming languages (ownership types and immutability). I have full funding available to cover fees, living, and travel. Please email me for more information if you have a Masters or Honours degree and a good background in programming languages and/or type systems! Applications from both domestic and international students invited.

The Project
Object-oriented programs at run-time consist of objects - small software components that are created, changed, and destroyed as the program runs. The uncontrolled ability of objects to change other objects is well known to result in many errors in large systems.

Immutability - an ability to prevent changes to objects - is a mechanism that could be used to provide such control. While immutability controls whether an object can be changed, it is not enough: we need to be able to also control which objects can perform the changes.

Ownership - an ability to control which objects can access a given object - is a mechanism that can be used to control which objects are allowed to perform the changes. Immutability benefits greatly from
ownership that prevents unauthorised objects from accessing and changing the object.

Immutability and ownership evolved separately: while some proposed languages attempt to support both, they treat them as independent concepts.

We propose to treat them as facets of a more general unified concept. This work aims to advance the science of programming by providing a unified treatment of immutability and ownership, simplifying both the theory and practice of object-oriented programming.

The Student
This project requires a strong mathematical logic or formal methods in Computer Science background.

Dr Alex Potanin
alex[ at ]

Closing date: 1 May 2009