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* [Caml-list] OFFER CIFRE Ph.D. thesis Accenture Labs Sophia Antipolis and Inria Sophia-Antipolis Méditerranée, Kairos Team
@ 2019-01-15 10:22 LIQUORI
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OFFER CIFRE Ph.D. thesis
Accenture Labs Sophia Antipolis and Inria Sophia-Antipolis Méditerranée, Kairos Team

Title: Smart Contract Languages for permissioned Blockchains & Distributed Ledgers

Enterprise: Accenture Labs Sophia Antipolis
Research Laboratory: UCA-Inria Sophia Antipolis-Méditerranée, Kairos Team,
Where: Sophia Antipolis 06903, France
Location: Accenture Labs Sophia and Inria Sophia Antipolis Méditerranée, Kairos Team.
Duration: 3 years
Recruitment date: As soon as possible
Application deadline: As soon as possible
Function: 3 years PhD candidate position in Accenture Labs Sophia (CDD). The position will be part time between Accenture Labs Sophia and at Inria Sophia Antipolis Méditerranée, Kairos Team.
Research topic (no confidential): Semantics of programming languages, permissioned blockchain, smart contract, formal verification, distributed ledger

Bitcoin [1], Ethereum [2] and the increase popularity of blockchains and decentralized distributed ledgers brought two main innovations: 1) the capability of building decentralized peer-to-peer ledgers that record and store ordered transactions without the need of trusted and centralized third parties and 2) the introduction of complex applications involving having digital assets being directly controlled by a piece of code implementing arbitrary rules, known as Smart Contracts [2].

Also, if the Bitcoin protocol implements a first concept of “Smart Contract” [3], the terms got popular with Ethereum and with its implementation of Smart Contract. The Ethereum Virtual Machine, that processes and executes Smart Contracts, made possible the creation of Decentralized Applications and extended the blockchain capabilities that were considered only as digital cash system. Distributed Applications, that doesn’t require a middleman to function, opens numerous opportunities: automatic settlement, treasury applications, voting systems and many others.

While public blockchains were getting more and more popular (and numerous) and new platforms were proposing their implementation of Smart Contracts, much of the interest in the blockchain space was going towards the use of the blockchain technology for the enterprise world. We saw in the recent years the development of different platforms that focuses on the so-called private (or permissioned) blockchain(s) and digital ledgers. Some of the permissioned blockchains platforms are fork of public blockchain adapted to the enterprise needs (e.g. Quorum) while others have been designed and built from scratch (e.g. Corda, Digital Asset, Hyperledger Fabric, etc.). Almost the totality of private blockchain(s) present their own implementation of Smart Contact: for example DAML [4] supported by Digital Asset, Chaincode [5] in Fabric, Kotlin/Java [6] supported by Corda and many others.

Between public and private blockchains we are observing a wide variety of different languages with different capabilities and limitations. Both public and private blockchain often lack maturity and a formal semantic as they have been under pressure of the sudden and rapid explosion of Blockchain popularity.

Research Objectives:

The Ph.D. student will first focus his research on studying, understanding and assessing the state of the art of Smart Contract Languages (SCL). The candidate will focus on building a multi-dimensional framework to understand and classify SCLs landscape considering public and private blockchains. Smart Contracts should be evaluated considering their context and their efficacy by taking in account a wide range of parameters (e.g. terminology, automation, enforceability, semantics, security, scalability, formal verifiability, extendability, turing completeness, etc. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] ).

In the second phase the candidate will focus on proposing and building extensions of existing SCLs and/or proposing new SCLs and their respective execution environments to overcome limitations and rigidity of existing languages and extend the current capabilities. As well the focus could also be oriented to experiment programming languages paradigms that has not been applied before to Smart Contracts (e.g. typed/untyped, compiled/interpreted, object-oriented/functional, etc.). The focus should be on permissioned and private blockchains.


  Luigi Liquori, Ph.D., Research Director, Kairos Team, UCA-Inria, <>; 

  Giuseppe Giordano, R&D Senior Manager, Accenture Labs, <>;

  Luca Schiatti, R&D Associate Manager, Accenture Labs, <>;

Candidate’s skills and profiles:

The PhD candidate should preferably have a previous training or a first research experience in 2 of the following 3 areas:

●  Semantics of programming languages and formal methods.

●  Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers.

●  Distributed programming and Networking.

The required documents for applying are the following:

●  CV.

●  A motivation letter.

●  Your degree certificates and transcripts for Bachelor and Master (or the last 5 years if not


●  master thesis (or equivalent) if it is already completed, or a description of the work in progress,


●  All your publications, if any (it is not expected that you have any)

●  Recommendation letters from the persons who supervised your Master thesis (or research project

or internship)

About Accenture: Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. With 459,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Accenture is an influent actors in the Blockchain space ( <> en/insights/blockchain-index) and has been named as a leader in the newly published Blockchain Services PEAK MatrixTM Assessment 2019: Race to Make Enterprise Blockchain Real conducted by Everest.

About Accenture Labs: Accenture Labs incubates and prototypes new concepts through applied R&D projects that are expected to have a significant strategic impact on clients’ businesses. Our dedicated team of technologists and researchers work with leaders across the company to invest in, incubate and deliver breakthrough ideas and solutions that help our clients create new sources of business advantage. Accenture Labs is located in seven key research hubs around the world: Silicon Valley, CA; Sophia Antipolis, France; Arlington, Virginia; Beijing, China; Bangalore, India; Herzliya, Israel and Dublin, Ireland.

The Sophia Antipolis Accenture Labs is the Accenture Blockchain Center of Excellence and is leading the Blockchain R&D activities in the firm. The Sophia Labs is leading the way in distributed ledger technologies and blockchain solutions across industries and domain specialization, underpinned by the best underlying technologies from startups, our key alliances and from the open community. Current area of focus are: Distributed Identity, Decentralized Storage Systems and Blockchain Integration ( <>).

About Inria: Inria ( <> ), the French national research institute for the digital sciences, promotes scientific excellence and technology transfer to maximize its impact. It employs 2,400 people. Its 200 agile project teams, generally with academic partners, involve more than 3,000 scientists in meeting the challenges of computer science and mathematics, often at the interface of other disciplines. Inria works with many companies and has assisted in the creation of over 160 startups. It strives to meet the challenges of the digital transformation of science, society and the economy.


[1]  S. Nakamoto, "Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system," [Online]. Available: <>. [Accessed 6 December 2018].

[2]  V. Buterin, "Ethereum Whitepaper: A Next-Generation Smart Contract and Decentralized Application Platform," [Online]. Available: <> Paper/f18902f4e7fb21dc92b37e8a0963eec4b3f4793a. [Accessed 6 December 2018].

[3]  "Bitcoin Contract," [Online]. Available: <>. [Accessed 6 December 2018].

[4]  "The Digital Asset Platform: Non-Technical White Paper," Digital Asset, [Online]. Available: <> technical%20White%20Paper.pdf.

[5]  "Chaincode Tutorials," Hyperledger Fabric, [Online]. Available: https://hyperledger- <https://hyperledger-/> <>. [Accessed 6 December 2018].

[6]  M. Hearn, "Corda: A distributed ledger," R3 Corda, 29 November 2016. [Online]. Available: <>. [Accessed 6 December 2018].

[7]  C. D. Clark, V. A. Bakshi and L. Braine, "Smart contract templates: foundations, design landscape and research directions," arXiv preprint arXiv:1608.00771 , 2016.

[8]  L. Luu, D.-H. Chu, H. Olicke, P. Saxena and A. Hobor, "Making Smart Contracts Smarter," Cryptology ePrint Archive, Report 2016/633, 2016.

[9]  K. Bhargavan, A. Delignat-Lavaud, C. Fournet, A. Gollamudi, G. Gonthier, N. Kobeissi, N. Kulatova, A. Rastogi, T. Sibut-Pinote, N. Swamy and S. Zanella-Béguelin, "Formal Verification of Smart Contracts: Short Paper," PLAS '16 Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Workshop on Programming Languages and Analysis for Security, pp. 91-96 , 24 October 2016.

[10]  K. Delmolino, M. Arnett, A. Kosba, A. Miller and E. Shi, "Step by step towards creating a safe smart contract: Lessons and insights from a cryptocurrency lab".Cryptology ePrint Archive, Report 2015/460, 2015.

[11]  P. Di Gianantonio, F. Honsell and L. Liquori, "Extension, A Lambda Calculus of Objects with Self- Inflicted," Proceedings of OOPSLA’98. ACM Press, New York, p. 166–178, 1998. 

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2019-01-15 10:22 [Caml-list] OFFER CIFRE Ph.D. thesis Accenture Labs Sophia Antipolis and Inria Sophia-Antipolis Méditerranée, Kairos Team LIQUORI

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