PhD Software Visualization Positions – CWI, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is an internationally renowned research institute in mathematics and computer science, located in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The focus is on fundamental research problems, derived from societal needs. Research is carried out in 18 research themes. More information about these themes can be found on the website where you can also find the Annual Reports of the institute. A substantial part of this research is carried out in the framework of national or international programs.

CWI maintains excellent relations with industry and the academic world, both in the Netherlands as well as abroad. After their research careers at CWI, an increasing number of young staff members find employment in these sectors, for example in spin-off companies that are based on research results from CWI. Of course, library and computing facilities are first-rate. CWI’s non-scientific services to its personnel include career planning, training and courses, assistance in finding housing, and tailor-made solutions to problems that may occasionally arise.

CWI has vacancies for two talented PhD candidates for research on Software Visualization in the Escher project.

Project Summary

Software dominates our modern civilization. However, as size, complexity, and lifetime of software in- crease, so does its cost. It is estimated that software maintenance exceeds 80% of the total evelopment costs. Of this, nearly half is spent in program understanding. Two main classes of instruments support program understanding. First, program analysis techniques extract a wealth of information from source code, dynamic program execution, and the development process itself, such as models, metrics, and proofs of correctness. Secondly, software visualization methods present this information in interactive ways to support the comprehension process using techniques such as graph layouts, diagrams, dense pixel displays, treemaps, glyphs, and timelines. However, a fundamental gap is identifiable between the two: software analysis and visualization are not integrated in ways that effectively and efficiently support the sense making, reasoning process, and hypothesis forming central to understanding. We argue that this gap is at the center of the limited adoption and success of software visualization methods and, arguably, of some more complex software analysis methods. For software visualization to make a true difference, it has to be centered on answering the questions of its stakeholders, rather than show the data emerging from program analyses. We cast software analysis and visualization in a new framework, inspired by the highly successful visual analytics field. Central to our approach is providing abstractions, methods and tools that enable the stakeholders to effectively and efficiently formulate their questions as directly and as easily as possible, and ways that translate these questions, abstracting away from the raw analysis data, into suitable combinations of analysis and visualization instruments.


The PhD candidates are required to have at least a master degree in computer science. Preferable qualifications for candidates include proven research talent, system programming skills, affinity with computer graphics and visualization, practical experience with systems and software development in a team. It is essential that you have good academic writing and presentation skills. Candidates are expected to have an excellent command of English.

Terms and conditions-PhD

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Research Institues (“CAO-onderzoeksinstellingen”). Moreover CWI offers attractive working conditions, including flexible scheduling and help with housing for expat employees. The gross monthly salary, for an employee on a full time basis, is €2,037 during the first year and increases to €2,610 over a four year period. CWI also offers excellent and flexible terms of employment, including an employee pension fund.

More Information:
Additional information can be obtained from Prof. dr. Paul Klint, email telephone +31(0)20 592 4126 and on the group’s website and on

Please send your application before 15 November 2010 to:
Applications should include a detailed CV, a motivation letter, a list of university grades, a copy of your masters thesis, and preferably a list of publications.


About Craig Anslow

Craig Anslow is a Lecturer in Software Engineering at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, with research interests in software visualization.
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