Postdoc on the Subject of the Theory, Design, and Implementation of a Declarative Programming Language for Smart Contracts

Country: Netherlands;

City: Amsterdam

Vacancy added: 16.03.2019


Vacancy type: PostDoc vacancy;

Resumes due: 15.04.2019


Job description
CWI and the Systems and Networking Engineering Lab (SNE) at the Informatics Institute of the University of Amsterdam are looking for a Post-Doctoral Research Associate with interests in the areas of Language design, (cross)compilation and automated code generation. The duration of the employment is 2 years, with an ideal start date on 1 May, 2019.

The project
You will work at CWI and at UvA on the theory, design, and implementation of a new programming language for digital enforceable contracts, targeting smart contracts on block chain. A general critic that can be directed to smart contracts is that they are neither smart, neither contracts: they are merely instructions to be executed in a distributed infrastructure. This project stems from the intuition that, if a digital contract aims to specify a desired model of interaction between the parties, so that parties can have a clear understanding of the consequences of its execution, such programming artifact should share primitives found in legally binding contracts.

The objectives of this project are:

  • to design a (declarative) programming language building upon normative positions, starting from existing logical frameworks as deontic logic and Hohfeld's jural relationhips;
  • to develop a method for generating an implementation model, by an adequate distribution of monitoring and execution tasks, configurable by the user;
  • to compile the implementation model into an existing implementation language (e.g. solidity);
  • to elaborate on possible validation or verification methods.

Candidates are required to have a completed PhD in the area of Computer Science or a related discipline.

Needed qualifications for candidates include proven research talent and good academic writing and presentation skills. Candidates are expected to have an excellent command of English.

You should be familiar with:

  • language design and implementation;
  • software verification (model checking, formal verification, symbolic execution, etc.);
  • (cross)-compilation and automated code generation
  • blockchain technology

Terms and conditions 
The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres ("CAO-onderzoeksinstellingen"). The gross monthly salary for an employee on a full time basis, depending on relevant work experience, ranges from € 3,560 to € 4,339. The appointment will be for a period of two years.

Employees are also entitled to a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.33%. CWI offers attractive working conditions, including flexible scheduling.

Please visit our website for more information about our terms of employment:

Applications can be sent before 15 April 2019 to All applications should include a detailed resume and motivation letter.

For residents outside the EER-area, a Toefl English language test might be required.

For more information about the vacancy, please contact Tijs van den Storm ( and Giovanni Sileno (
For more information about CWI, please visit or watch our video about working at CWI.

About Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica
Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science and is part of the Institutes Organisation of NWO. The mission of CWI is to conduct pioneering research in mathematics and computer science, generating new knowledge in these fields and conveying it to trade, industry, and society at large.

CWI is an internationally oriented institute, with 160 scientists from approximately 27 countries. The facilities are first-rate and include excellent IT support, career planning, training, and courses.

CWI is located at Science Park Amsterdam that is presently developing into a major location of research in the natural sciences in The Netherlands, housing the sciences of the University of Amsterdam and of the Vrije Universiteit as well as several other national research institutes next to CWI.

Research group

To find more information about the SWAT research group, please visit the group page and watch their video.

About the University of Amsterdam

With over 6,000 employees and 3,000 PhD researchers, the University of Amsterdam offers an independent, creative, innovative and international academic environment, in which both staff and students can develop their talents optimally. Characterised by a critical, creative and international atmosphere, the UvA has a long tradition of open-mindedness and engagement with social issues, in keeping with the spirit of the city with which it is inextricably linked.

The Systems and Networking (SNE) Lab is a research lab at the Informatics Institute of the University of Amsterdam. SNE conducts research on leading-edge computer systems of all scales, ranging from global-scale systems and networks to embedded devices. Across these multiple scales our particular interest is on extra-functional properties of systems, such as performance, programmability, productivity, security, trust, sustainability and, last but not least, the societal impact of emerging systems-related technologies.

Where to send resume: