[mercury-users] Computer Science PhD Position at University of Zurich

Norbert E. Fuchs fuchs at ifi.unizh.ch
Tue Dec 12 11:48:52 AEDT 2000

(Please distribute to suitable candidates. Apologies for multiple postings.)

Computer Science PhD Position at University of Zurich

Within the research project 'Practical Applications of Attempto 
Controlled English' funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation 
we seek applications for the open position of a PhD student.

The goal of this project is the practical application of the 
specification language Attempto Controlled English in the fields: 
medical documentation, Internet programming, and program 
specification & synthesis. Background information on this project and 
on the Attempto project in general can be found at the end of this 
message or on our web page http://www.ifi.unizh.ch/~fuchs/.

We offer

  - a well equipped and stimulating working environment,
  - interdisciplinary research combining software engineering,
    computational logic, computational linguistics and theorem proving,
  - an innovative and exciting research project performed in cooperation
    with our partners at the universities of Barcelona, Edinburgh, São
    Paolo, Uppsala, and the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates who

  - have a master's degree or equivalent in computer science,
    computational logic, computational linguistics, or mathematics,
  - have experience in at least one of the following fields:
    software engineering, computational logic, computational linguistics;
    experience in Prolog programming would be an asset,
  - have an excellent command of English,
  - have a basic knowledge of German or are willing to learn German,
  - enjoy teamwork,
  - are highly motivated and committed to success oriented work.

The position is available from the beginning of the year 2001 for 
initially 2 years. An extension by another 2 years is almost 
guaranteed. Payment is SFr. 27'000 in the first year, SFr. 30'000 in 
the second year, and SFr. 33'000 in the following years.

Interested candidates are encouraged to immediately contact the 
project leader Norbert E. Fuchs (fuchs at ifi.unizh.ch) for further 
information. Please take into account that I may not be able to 
respond right away to your emails from December 22, 2000 to January, 
5, 2001.

Applications including a resume and curriculum vitae should be sent 
until January 15, 2001 to

Norbert E. Fuchs
Institut fuer Informatik
Universitaet Zuerich
CH-8057 Zuerich
fuchs at ifi.unizh.ch


Background Information
The specification language Attempto Controlled English (ACE) is a 
controlled natural language, i.e. a subset of standard English with a 
domain-specific vocabulary and a restricted grammar. ACE 
specifications can be unambiguously translated into first-order 
predicate logic, and can be queried and executed to support 
prototyping and validation. Thus ACE makes formal methods available 
in familiar natural language.

Using ACE, we have already specified a simple automated teller 
machine, a small library database, Schubert's steam-roller, data base 
integrity constraints, and several other problems. In cooperation 
with the University of Munich, we successfully used ACE as input 
language to a model generator.

Since 1999 ACE has received a great deal of attention and recognition 
by other researchers who realised that ACE could help them to solve 
their problems. With several groups of researchers at other 
universities we started a project to investigate the practical 
applications of Attempto Controlled English (ACE) in the following 
three fields:

   Natural Language Processing in Medicine
   Together with the Department of Information Science, Uppsala
   University, we will investigate the use of ACE for the description of
   medical diseases and their courses.

   Web Site Synthesis and Knowledge Sharing
   With the Department of Artificial Intelligence, University of
   Edinburgh, the Institute for Artificial Intelligence, University of
   Barcelona, and the Department of Computer Science, University of São
   Paulo we will use ACE for the synthesis of web sites and for knowledge
   sharing between web sites.

   Synthesis of (Constraint) Logic Programs
   In cooperation with the Department of Information Science, Uppsala
   University, and the Department of Computing and Electrical
   Engineering, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, we will investigate
   the use of ACE as the input language of a logic program synthesiser.

In each cooperation our partner groups will be responsible for the 
technical contents of their respective applications while the Zurich 
group will be responsible for the necessary extensions of ACE and for 
the further development of the Attempto system. This involves 
conceptual and practical work in natural language processing and 
theorem proving, as well as implementing Prolog programs and web 

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