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TFA.JobOpeningr1.2 - 07 Nov 2006 - 13:59 - EelcoVisser

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Three year postdoc position or Four year PhD student position

in Program Transformation and Domain-Specific Languages

at Delft University of Technology

The Delft Software Engineering Group has an opening for a postdoctoral researcher or PhD student in the area of program transformation and domain-specific languages. The three year position is available in the Transformations for Abstractions (TFA) project, which is funded by the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

Research Description

The project is about techniques at the intersection of two areas of software engineering. (1) In order to automate software engineering we would like to automate the process of producing programs by means of automatic transformations, thereby computing with programs as we do with other data. (2) In order to improve the expressivity of programming languages to the concepts and notations of specific application domains, we would would like to extend general-purpose languages with domain-specific abstractions. Combining these desiderata leads to the need to extend transformations for new domain-specific abstractions.

The goal of this project is to develop a systematic approach to the extension of general purpose languages with domain-specific abstractions, integrating those abstractions in the syntax and transformations of the programming environment. This requires research into the following issues:

  • strategies for the definition of domain abstractions

  • mechanisms for open extensibility of transformations

  • methods and patterns for design of open transformations

  • constraints for independent extensibility of transformations

  • derivation of transformation extensions from definitions of abstractions

We approach this goal by analyzing a variety of existing domain-specific languages and transformations, developing generic extensibility mechanisms, and validating these first in an `in vitro' setting and then in a programming environment for the Java language. The project builds on a solid body of work from the Stratego/XT project that will allow us to concentrate on the core of the problem, rather than being distracted by infrastructural issues.


The research will be conducted in the Software Engineering Group at Delft University of Technology, where the Software Evolution Research Lab is active in the field of program analysis and reverse engineering

The new Meta Programming Research Lab, which is being founded by Eelco Visser (formerly at Utrecht University) researches improvement of software engineering by means of program transformation, program generation, and domain-specific languages.

The TFA project will be conducted in close collaboration with the Model-Driven Software Evolution (MoDSE) project, which targets the integration of domain-specific language development in the software development process. The MoDSE project will be the primary client of the results of the TFA project and provides ample oppportunity to work with industry. Another 2 PhD student positions and 2 Post-doc positions are available in the MoDSE project.

The Job

The funding is for a three year post-doc position, but may also be used to hire a talented PhD student.

Appointment as a post-doc requires a completed PhD thesis and experience in one or more of the topics relevant to the project, as witnessed by refereed publications in conference proceedings or journals. You will be employed by Delft University of Technology for a period of three years. Salary depends on prior experience, and will be in one of the salary scales 10 to 12 (with maximum salary at 4605 euros a month) as stipulated by the Collective Labour Agreement for the Dutch Universities (see

Appointment as a PhD student requires a complete MsC thesis in Computer Science, preferably in a topic related to the TFA project (software engineering and programming languages). You will be employed by Delft University of Technology for a period of four years. The estimated starting monthly PhD salary is 1,956 euro gross, with a maximum of 2,502 euro gross in the fourth year. The position is expected to lead to a dissertation in the fourth year. Benefits and other employment conditions are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities ( For further details about conditions of employment, please consult the website of Delft University of Technology (

For more information you can contact


Send your letter of application, together with a comprehensive curriculum vitae, a list of your publications and a list of your academic results (preferably by e-mail) to:

   dr. Eelco Visser
   Software Engineering Research Group
   Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EWI)
   Department of Software Technology
   Delft University of Technology
   Mekelweg 4
   2628 CD Delft
   The Netherlands


The position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

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