PhD position in Certifying Compilation of Smart Contracts

Wouter Swierstra at Utrecht and my IOHK colleague Manuel Chakravarty are looking for someone to undertake a PhD to build a certifying compiler for our smart contract language, Plutus.
This project aims to develop a certifying compiler for Plutus Tx, a subset of the purely functional language Haskell that is used to implement smart contracts for the Cardano blockchain. The Plutus smart contract framework is being developed by IOHK for Cardano and the present project is a joint effort of IOHK and Utrecht University. The Plutus Tx compiler is based on the GHC Haskell compiler and adds a translation step from GHC Core to a minimal lambda calculus. Programmes in this lambda calculus are executed during transaction validation in a sandboxed execution environment in a manner that is crucial to the security of the blockchain. The aim of this project is to formalise the semantics of the languages involved in a proof assistant such as Coq, to reason about the transformation and optimisation steps that the compiler performs, and finally, to generate a proof object certifying the correctness of the generated code together with that code.

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