PhD Position in AI-enhanced Software Engineering

Catholic University of Leuven

DistriNet is a KU Leuven research group, and is part of the KU Leuven Security and Privacy Competence Center ( The focus and scope of imec-DistriNet is twofold: distributed software, with a focus on middleware, and secure software. Within these two domains, we perform research on a range of topics including: IOT systems, cloud applications, enterprise applications and data systems. Software engineering techniques are researched to realize adaptable and open software systems that are both high quality and trustworthy. IDEAS is the Distrinet applied research unit at Group-T on intelligent and distributed e-application security. IDEAS is also part of the e-Media Research Lab, that brings together expertise from different domains such as electrical engineering, signal processing, data analysis, machine learning, computer sciences, software engineering, social sciences and user experience design. The IDEAS research unit focusses on intelligent solutions for the both the technical problems as well as people problems in secure software engineering of web-based applications. In many application domains, development teams of software-intensive systems struggle to deliver secure software on time. Considering the many security issues reported every day, and considering the lack of personnel at many software development companies, applied research must address important key system architectures that suffer the most of this lack of security-awareness. In the current state-of-practice in software development, applications are continuously delivered too late, and often too insecure. In summary, IDEAS’ research envisions secure and agile development platforms and methodologies that includes - Early visualization of application developer mistakes and bugs with a focus on vulnerabilities in application-level security. - ML-based analytics of software engineering processes and artifacts. - Gamification and incentivization of security in software engineering. - Usable security concepts and reconfigurable security middleware for application developers. The research is experimenting and validating in the following key innovative system architectures: - Cloud applications, including multi-tenant web APIs, and micro-service architectures, - Client-centric web platforms such as the decentralized web Solid and progressive web apps, - Web-connected, distributed, and embedded software for IoT solutions.


Technologies such as GitHub co-pilot are only scratching the surface of what is possible when AI techniques can be used to support and enhance the software development process and lifecycle. AI techniques such as deep learning and traditional machine learning, including both supervised as well as unsupervised learning, can contribute to the software engineering process. These contributions include both the detection of programming mistakes, bugs and software vulnerabilities as well as the generation of code based on common patterns and best practices in secure software engineering. In this project we focus on both embedded software systems in IOT as well as online software systems in data centers. 
We are looking for new colleagues to strengthen our research on software engineering and secure software development. If you join us, you will be challenged to further improve the secure software development process with AI-enhanced software engineering in the following topics of interest:
- ML-driven analytics of code repositories
- Defect prediction models for embedded software systems and IOT
- AI-enhanced software engineering of online API’s
- ML-driven generation of secure code


If you share our strong interest in these research topics and if you have
- a master’s in engineering technology (ICT, software development, etc)
- or a master’s in computer science (or equivalent),
- an analytical mind and technically skilled,
- optionally some industry experience,
- and fluent English communication skills,
then you might be the researcher we are looking for. 
Expertise in programming languages, software engineering and software development tools is essential.  Expertise with machine learning platforms (Weka, Spark MLlib, Mahout, scikit-learn, etc.) is a plus.


We offer
- to work towards obtaining a PhD degree from a highly ranked university and become a well-trained, independent researcher,
- a supportive and collaborative team in which you can develop know-how and expertise in state-of-the-art technologies, 
- the opportunity to build up research and innovation skills that are essential for a future career in industrial as well as academic research and development environments,
- support in the further development of your competences to analyze strategic research problems and to architect and evaluate innovative solutions with industrial applicability,
- an international and multicultural working environment at the KU Leuven Group-T Tech Campus,
- an attractive salary package, complemented with multiple benefits (health insurance, access to university infrastructure and sports facilities, etc.).


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Bert Lagaisse, tel.: +32 16 32 78 55, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than December 31, 2022 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: December 31, 2022
  • Tags: Computerwetenschappen
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