Trustworthy Systems

Students in Trustworthy Systems

TS students discussing research.

Students are an integral part of the Trustworthy Systems Group: They contribute to research at various levels, gain highly sought-after skills in systems, formal methods and security, and produce code and proofs that end up protecting real-world systems. If this appeals to you, and you like the idea of being part of a highly-diverse, high-impact and fun team, then read on.

Research Training

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). The situation is only marginally better in formal methods, particularly the kind of proof-engineering we do. In TS we are addressing this challenge through a number of strategies:

Information for prospective PhD students

Outgoing Internships

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, Google, 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.

Projects for Undergraduate Students

Honours Theses

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.

Taste of Research aka Undergraduate (Incoming) Internships

We strongly encourage the top performers in systems coursework to take an internship 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. Taste of Research (ToR) projects are similar to thesis projects, but often with more of a development than research angle. UNSW now allows the ToR internships to be taken during a teaching term, not just during summer.

We also frequently host interns from top universities around the world.


We provide or contribute to a number of courses in the systems and formal-methods area, all aimed to provide strong insights and accompanied by significant practical components.