Open PhD position: Multi-resource optimization for application hosting in heterogeneous clouds

 NOTE: this position has been taken and is no longer available.

The University of Rennes 1 (France) has an open position for a PhD student in the domain of cloud computing.


Title: Multi-resource optimization for application hosting in heterogeneous clouds.


Cloud computing systems are currently composed of large numbers of relatively inexpensive computers, interconnected by standard IP routers and supported by stock disk drives. However, many demanding applications have now reached a fundamental limit in their ability to scale out using traditional machines. Future performance improvements will derive from the use of high-end specialized equipment in addition to standard hardware: GPUs of course, but also FPGAs, programmable routers, and advanced storage technologies. In this context the European project HARNESS investigates: (i) how cloud providers may offer such extremely heterogeneous hardware to its users; and (ii) how cloud customers may make use of these heterogeneous resources to run their applications such that they exhibit the best possible price-performance tradeoff.

The goal of this thesis is to explore ways to host flexible applications on heterogeneous cloud systems. An application may be hosted in different ways, for example by mapping it on an FPGA and a conventional storage system, or alternatively on a set of normal VMs connected to high-end storage systems using high-end programmable routers. We will investigate: (i) how to express the requirements of such flexible applications; (ii) how to predict the costs and performance they would exhibit in a number of possible configurations; and (iii) control systems capable of dynamically adjusting the use of resources according to the needs of the application and the availability of specialized resources. The work will be based on ConPaaS, an open-source Platform-as-a-Service environment developed by Guillaume Pierre‘s team in another project.

This thesis is funded by the HARNESS European project. It will be realized in close collaboration with the other members of the HARNESS project: Imperial College London, EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland), Zuse Institute Berlin, SAP (the world leader of e-business solutions), and Maxeller (an FPGA manufacturer). Note that this consortium is of exceptionally high quality.

Required qualifications:

  • Strong expertise in large-scale distributed systems, Cloud computing or high-performance computation
  • Excellent programming skills in Linux environments
  • Good communication and writing skills
  • Good command of English
  • Knowledge of French is not required for this position.

Start date: November 1st 2012.

Location: Rennes is the capital city of Britanny, in the western part of France. It is easy to reach thanks to the high-speed train line to Paris. Rennes is a lively city and a major center for higher education and research. The thesis will take place within the IRISA research center, which is internationally recognized for its research in the domain of information and communication sciences.

PhD supervisor: this thesis will be directed by Guillaume Pierre. Guillaume is currently working at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam but he will move to Rennes in November 2012.

Contact: Guillaume Pierre ( Please send a CV, transcripts of grades, and a description of your previous achievements in a domain close to cloud computing.

Submission deadline: July 1st 2012.


ConPaaS: a Platform for Hosting Elastic Cloud Applications. Guillaume Pierre and Corina Stratan. Accepted for publication in IEEE Internet Computing, 2012 (to appear).

Resource Provisioning of Web Applications in Heterogeneous Clouds. Jiang Dejun, Guillaume Pierre and Chi-Hung Chi. In Proceedings of the WebApps Conference, June 2011.

Autonomous Resource Provisioning for Multi-Service Web Applications. Jiang Dejun, Guillaume Pierre and Chi-Hung Chi. In Proceedings of the International WWW conference, April 2010.

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