Formal Methods: Formal Techniques and Retrenchment.

Primary supervisor

Additional information

Contact admissions office

Other projects with the same supervisor


  • Competition Funded Project (Students Worldwide)
This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. Applications for this project are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Project description

These days, the benefits of having a formal perspective in a development methodology are increasingly recognised. Up to now most formal approaches focus on some aspect of *compliance*, e.g., the compliance of an implementation to an abstraction (during development), or the compliance of an abstraction in reflecting suitable properties of a concrete model (during property checking). But many real world development activities involve changes to the system models used, that *go beyond* such compliance notions. Retrenchment seeks to bring a degree of rigour to such activities that are comparable to that achievable during compliance based activities. See for more details.

There are many potential PhD projects in this area. These range from purely theoretical investigations into the foundations of retrenchment, to tool building projects (eg. plugin development for Rodin), to the development of application specific areas (eg. formal safety analyses of various kinds), to integration with formal requirements frameworks (eg. KAOS). Interested individuals should contact Dr. Richard Banach ( in the first instance.

Person specification


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • This project requires mathematical engagement and ability substantially greater than for a typical Computer Science PhD. Give evidence for appropriate competence, as relevant to the project description.
  • You must be capable of performing at a very high level.
  • Candidates must meet the School's minimum English Language requirement.
  • Upper Second Class UK Honours degree or international equivalent in a relevant science or engineering discipline.
  • You must have a self-driven interest in uncovering and solving unknown problems and be able to work hard and creatively without constant supervision.
  • You will have no problem with taking supervision, advice, and direction from either gender (male or female); or from people with a disability (such as blindness); or from people who may be of a different race, religion, colour, or sexual orientation.


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You will possess determination (which is often more important than qualifications) although you'll need a good amount of both.
  • You will have good time management.


Applicants will be required to address the following.

  • Discuss your final year Undergraduate project work - and if appropriate your MSc project work.
  • How well does your previous study prepare you for undertaking Postgraduate Research?
  • Comment on your transcript/predicted degree marks, outlining both strong and weak points.
  • In terms of personality & temperament, why do you believe you are suitable for doing Postgraduate Research?
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