Postdoc in Empirical Software Engineering for Green Robotics Software

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Postdoc in Empirical Software Engineering for Green Robotics Software
  • Doctorate
Do you have a PhD in Software Engineering and would you like to apply Empirical Software Engineering techniques for Green Robotics Software? Then the VU would like to get to know you!

FTE:         0,5 - 1

Job description

This position is part of a recently funded project targeting the usage of repository-mining techniques for extracting architectural tactics for energy efficient robotics software. The principal investigator of the project is dr. Ivano Malavolta ( 

The general goal of this project is to develop new techniques to help roboticists to systematically develop energy-efficient robotics software. At the core of the project lies the concept of architectural tactic, i.e., design decisions that influence the achievement of system qualities and can be reused across projects. For example, a tactic for energy efficiency is to offload computationally-expensive mapping algorithms from the battery-powered robots to the cloud. Today there is no solid evidence on tactics for energy efficiency for robotics software, leaving roboticists far behind the state of the art in software development.

Your tasks:

The visiting postdoc will be part of a team composed of the principal investigator and several students. The main tasks to be performed by the team are two:

  1. Mining software repositories. We will identify the tactics by exploiting an already-built dataset of GitHub repositories containing millions of lines of code belonging to real-world robotic systems. The key technological enabler of this project is the Robot Operating System (ROS). ROS is the de-facto standard for robotic software and officially supports more than 140 types of robots. Currently, there are more than 80,000 GitHub repositories containing ROS-based software, 4,152 publicly available ROS packages, 7,696 users for ROS Wiki, and 22,427 users for ROS Answers. We will use this ecosystem for synthesizing the green tactics in a data-driven fashion out of real projects developed in real development contexts.

  2. Empirical experiments. The team will design and conduct one or two quantitative experiments for empirically assessing the run-time impact of the extracted tactics, e.g., in terms of tasks execution times, energy consumption of the robots, communication overhead. The experiments will be carried out on already-available Turtlebot 3 robots and a representative sample of software stacks and architectural topologies.



The general requirements for this position are:

  • A PhD in Computer Science or related areas (with a thesis topic on software engineering)
  • Expertise in at least one of the following three topics: Mining Software Repositories, Empirical Software Engineering, ROS
  • High proficiency in programming
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English
  • Good academic writing skills, preferably with a promising publication record in relevant and high-quality conferences and/or journals (e.g., ICSE, ASE, MSR, TSE, JSS)

Also, candidates who would like to apply should be motivated to do high quality scientific research, should have the ability to collaborate in groups as well as carry out work individually, and should have strong communication skills. 

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,789 (scale 10)
and a maximum €4,274 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience.
The job profile (Researcher 4): is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.5 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a temporary period of 6 months to one year.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment 
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus 
  • solid pension scheme (ABP) 
  • contribution to commuting expenses

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,500 students. We employ more than 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the department, institute, project
The candidate will be part of an international research network and exploit a variety of development and analysis tools available. The candidate will be appointed in Amsterdam as visiting postdoc and work primarily in Amsterdam with possible visits to the other labs and universities. The Software and Sustainability group ( will be involved in this research. The Faculty offers opportunities to attend conferences, to meet other international researchers and to participate in high-quality discussion groups in support of writing papers for top-class publications. 


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 1 May 2020.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr. Ivano Malavolta
Position: Assistant Professor
Telephone: 06 24942590

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