ERTOS Education Agenda
ERTOS contributes to student education by supervising PhD students, supervising undergraduate students for honours theses and summer internships, and by delivering coursework in the systems area.
The primary objective of our education agenda is to produce systems PhDs comparable in quality to those from top international institutions, while operating in the constraints of the Australian university system. A secondary objective is to produce (honours) graduates with strong systems skills which will make them excellent employees for companies operating in the embedded systems market. Strong contribution to undergraduate education are essential to supporting both of those aims.
The time normally available in the Australian university system for obtaining a PhD (four years of undergraduate studies followed by 3–3.5 years of postgraduate study and research) is too short to produce top-quality systems PhDs (the average duration of a systems PhD in the US is 6 years). In ERTOS we are addressing this via a number of strategies:
- giving graduates a head-start by putting them through an intense buildup consisting of world-class courses, summer internships and challenging honours theses where they work on real research projects with researchers in the group;
- strongly encouraging graduates to gain a few years of further relevant experience and maturity prior to commencing a PhD. This can be obtained by employment in ERTOS, by doing a Master's degree in the area, or by relevant industrial experience;
- strongly encouraging PhD students to take internships in top industrial or public-sector research labs, or companies doing cutting-edge systems development;
- providing PhD-level coursework specifically aimed at helping the development of young systems researchers;
- ensuring as far as possible that PhD students work on a project that has enough critical mass, expertise and international links to make success likely in the time given, and support this by a rigorous yet constructive review process;
- encouraging a culture of colleagiality, collaboration and hard work.
PhD students are strongly recommended to do an internship of between three and twelve months duration at a top R&D institution. This can either happen between completing their undergraduate degree and commencing PhD studies, or by taking course leave during their PhD.
Past placements included IBM Research (Watson), Microsoft Research, Intel Research, HP, Apple, and a number of leading universities. Internship offers exist from other leading companies and universities.
We also provide a limited number of incoming internships. These are specifically meant for evaluating potential PhD students. Applicants are expected to have a strong systems or formal methods background (significantly beyond standard university coursework) as well as a strong academic track record. Please check the information for prospective PhD students.
We presently provide two courses specifically aimed at PhD students
We provide an extensive and frequently-updated list of thesis projects. Most of them expect a strong grounding in systems, as provided by our advanced-level coursework. In average one honours thesis per year leads to a publication.
We strongly encourage the top performers in systems coursework to take one or two summer internships in the group, in order to deepen their experience with large systems, gain the first taste of research, and get better preparation for a successful honours thesis. Summer projects are similar to thesis projects, but often with more of a development than research angle.
We also frequently host interns from top universities around the world.
We provide or contribute to a number of courses in the systems area, all aimed to provide strong insights and accompanied by significant practical components.