Master 2011 2012
proposition de thèse (univ. Twente)

Smarter railroad maintenance via stochastic model checking ?

The University of Twente seeks 2 PhD candidates

The Formal Methods & Tools group at the University of Twente has 2 open PhD positions in the ArRangeer project, funded by the Dutch Technology Foundation STW and railroad company ProRail. ProRail is responsible for the railway network in the Netherlands, including its construction, management, maintenance, and safety. The project is led by Dr. Marielle Stoelinga and Prof.dr. Joost-Pieter Katoen.

The research project. Goal of the ArRangeer project is to develop smart railroad maintenance techniques through stochastic analysis and optimization techniques. In particular, our aim is to extend the widely used fault tree formalism with maintenance models, including strategies for preventive, corrective, clock- and age-based maintenance, inspection, monitoring, etc. Aim is to develop techniques that are able to :

(1) compare the effect of different maintenance strategies on the availability, reliability, cost, recovery speed, robustness to changes, etc., and

(2) automatically synthesize maintenance strategies that are optimal w.r.t. given criteria (availability, reliability, …) subject to a (cost) budget.

Key to tackle these challenges is the exploitation of stochastic model checking ; scientific core of our work is the extension, refinement, and tailoring of stochastic model checking and stochastic decisions techniques to maintenance planning problems.

During the whole project, we will extensively cooperate with the RWTH Aachen University, and maintenance engineers from ProRail, as well as the companies Movares and NedTrain. Key project deliverables are efficient analysis algorithms and a workable tool to be used in the ProRail context.

For more information about the project, see :

The candidates. We seek two PhD candidates, one with a more applied profile, and one with a more theoretical profile. Both should have an MSc degree in Computer Science (or an equivalent qualification). The candidates have a thorough theoretical background and a demonstrable interest in railroad maintenance. The more theoretically oriented candidate should have a strong background in mathematics and/or formal methods ; the candidate with an applied profile should have ample experience with software development, and with industrial case studies.

Further we ask for good communication and collaboration skills.

Our offer. The University of Twente offers excellent working conditions, an exciting scientific environment, and a green and lively campus. We offer

- A PhD position for four years (38 hrs/week).

- Full status as an employee at the University of Twente, including pension and health care benefits.

- Gross salary ranging from EUR 2042 (1st year) to EUR 2612 (4th year) per month, plus holiday allowance (8%) and end-of-year bonus (8.3%).

- Excellent facilities for professional and personal development.

- Good secondary conditions, in accordance with the collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.

- A green campus with lots of sports facilities.

Starting date of the position : as soon as possible after November 1, 2012.

The PhD students will participate in the Twente Graduate School on Dependable and Secure Computing, led by prof.dr. Jaco van de Pol. This research programme offers advanced courses to deepen your scientific knowledge. Participation in national and/or international summer schools, conference and workshops, as well as visits to other prestigious research institutes and universities are also foreseen.

Further information :

- FMT group :

- Dr. Marielle Stoelinga (

- Prof. dr. Joost-Pieter Katoen (

Your application To apply for one of these positions, please include

- a cover letter (explain your specific interest and qualifications) ;

- a full Curriculum Vitae

- a list of all courses + grades, and a short description of your MSc thesis project

- references (contact information) of two scientific staff members

Please submit your application via before August 16th, 2012.