Jeremy.Gibbons | 5 Mar 04:11 2013

Research Assistantship at Oxford on Bidirectional Transformations

Postdoctoral Research Assistant 
Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford

Applications are invited for a Research Fellowship on an EPSRC-funded project "A Theory of Least-Change
for Bidirectional Transformations". The project is a collaboration between Professor Jeremy Gibbons
in the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford, and Dr Perdita Stevens and Dr James Cheney in
the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. 

The project concerns bidirectional transformations, which are a means of maintaining consistency
between multiple information sources: when one source is edited, the others may need updating to restore
consistency. There are applications in model-driven engineering, database design, and program
development, among others.  A bidirectional transformation can be implemented in terms of several
unidirectional restoring functions, one per source; but this duplicates information, wasting effort
and risking inconsistencies. Bidirectional transformation languages allow one to describe the
consistency relationship and the restoring functions with a single declarative specification.

Our aim in this project is to study the principle of least change: that a bidirectional transformation
should not make unnecessary or unnecessarily large changes when it re-establishes consistency. The
primary focus of the Oxford contribution is the development of a theory of alignment for bidirectional
transformations on structured data, especially in the case of non-free datatypes such as associative
lists and graphs. We conjecture that the mathematics of container datatypes and combinatorial species
will be particularly relevant.

The Fellowship will be under the supervision of Professor Jeremy Gibbons at
Oxford, and is available for three years from 31st August 2013 (or any time
before that). The salary is on a standard scale, from £29,541 to £36,298
per annum. For further details, including a job description and information
on how to apply, please see the webpage ( If you have any
questions, please write to me (jeremy.gibbons <at> Please pass this advert on to anyone you
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