Job Opportunity: Postdoctoral Research, Service-oriented software platform for social activism
- Lead Inria Project-Team: ARLES-MiMove (Paris-Rocquencourt)
- Other Inria Project-teams: MYRIADS (Rennes) and DICE (Lyon)
- Postdoctoral research in collaboration with the AppCivist Project led by Prof James Holston, co-founder and faculty co-director of the Social Apps Lab (CITRIS) at the University of California, Berkeley
Context of work
The increased adoption of mobile devices and social networking reignites citizen engagement in the monitoring of their living environment, which ultimately prompts action at the government level. The study of socially-grounded software systems toward inclusive smarter cities is specifically the focus of the International Inria Project Lab CityLab@Inria, whose research includes close collaboration with its partners of the Inria@SiliconValley program.
In the above context, mobile social networking appears as a significant tool to support social activism within our cities. However, the exploitation of latest Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for the development of applications oriented toward social activism is still in its infancy, i.e., ranging from the use of emails for internal communication to the use of third-party Web and social media for mass communication. In terms of integrated platforms, there have been a few initial offerings such as Google Apps for Non Profits (see https://www.google.com/nonprofits/products/). However, Google Apps is a generic platform for organizations, and requires significant effort to be customized for the needs of social activists. At the same time, initiatives like the Social Apps Lab (see https://citris-uc.org/initiatives/social-apps-lab/) at CITRIS clearly show the potential of mobile devices to generate an active, critical, and direct engagement of citizens in social issues, which may allow for broader impact of social activism.
It is our vision that the penetration of ICTs within social activism crucially depends on the provision of adequate software tools so that activists can easily assemble applications matching their needs. From a software engineering perspective, architectural principles like service-orientation together with latest advances in distributed computing appear as relevant base building blocks. From the social science perspective, social activism relies on a number of key functionalities that may conveniently be leveraged and re-used across applications, provided the elicitation of associated system abstractions.
The objective of this post-doctoral research is to study, from design to prototype implementation, a service-oriented architecture and supporting platform aimed at facilitating the development of applications by social activists.
This postdoctoral research, jointly performed at Inria and CITRIS Social Apps Lab, will involve the following activities:
- Identification of the ICT requirements for social activism and related state of the art. This effort will be performed in close consultation with social scientists at the Social Apps Lab, as well as social activists based in the Paris region.
- Architecture and Abstraction. Designing the architecture of a service-oriented platform that can provide the functionalities described above. Crucially, this task will involve proposing suitable abstractions in order to enable the activists to instantiate and customize the platform without having to be ICT experts.
- Core platform and services development. Development of the core platform, as well as a set of essential services for social activism. These might, for example, include algorithms and protocols for voting, real-time multi-platform communication between activists as well as the general public, mobile-based crowdsourcing/sensing, dynamic task-allocation and management among volunteers, etc. Further, the interplay between mobile and cloud computing will be thoroughly investigated for the sake of cost-effectiveness.
The candidate should have a PhD in computer science with expertise in the following topics, including experience in the implementation of related software prototypes:
- Service-oriented computing and architecture
- Mobile distributed systems
- Middleware architectures and systems
- Social Networking
- Mobile Systems
Gross salary per month : €2621
Place of work
The research will take place jointly at Inria Paris-Rocquencourt and UC berkeley premises as follows:
- The work will start at Inria Paris-Rocquencourt, in close collaboration with Dr. Animesh Pathak, for the first month so as to become familiar with the background system architecture to be leveraged.
- The work will then be pursued at CITRIS in close collaboration with Dr. Valerie Issarny from Inria@SiliconValley and Prof. James Holston, while interactions will be ongoing with the involved Inria teams.
Start date and duration
The position is for a start in September for a duration of up to 16 months.
Applicants should send the following (PDF files only) to Cindy.Croussouard@inria.fr:
- Detailed CV
- Letter of motivation
- 3 references