Open PhD Position in evaluation of clinical skills through monitoring and analysis of logs (LIF24-D2)

The Formal Computing Laboratory at the University of Québec in Chicoutimi is seeking excellent PhD candidates for a 3-year funded doctoral project for the evaluation of clinical skills through monitoring and analysis of logs.

  • Start date: May 1, 2024 (or later)

Project Description

The Charles-Bruneau Foundation is funding a project aimed at setting up an interactive digital training to improve practices for children with cancer and their families. The project seeks to better equip nurses in their role with these patients through the development of a serious game aimed at measuring practitioners’ clinical skills. A team led by researchers from Laval University, with professors from the UQAC Computer Science Department participating, has received a grant of over $6 million to develop this game, which will be deployed among staff at several hospitals in Québec. The design and development of the game will be carried out in collaboration with a major video game studio (whose identity will be made public in the spring of 2024).

The doctoral project aims to formalize, implement, and evaluate mechanisms that will measure the degree of achievement of various clinical skills of nurses by observing their actions throughout the game. To do this, several conceptual challenges must be addressed: establishing scenarios that allow for the training and highlighting of skill achievement; identifying elements to be observed in the game; translating general and informally expressed skills into conditions on these elements; determining the calculation of the level of skill achievement. Achieving these objectives will involve log analysis techniques, as well as concepts drawn from formal methods such as real-time verification (runtime monitoring) and event stream processing (stream processing). Ultimately, the goal is to produce indicators defined by mathematical and logical formalisms, which will ensure the explainability of the results in a continuous improvement perspective.

Research Areas

  • Serious video games
  • Log analysis
  • Formal specification
  • Event stream processing (stream processing)

Host Institution and Laboratory Presentation

The University of Québec in Chicoutimi (UQAC) is part of the largest university network in Canada. It is located in the Francophone region of Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, known for the beauty of its fjord and the majesty of its surrounding nature. UQAC welcomes 6,500 students annually, including more than 1,000 from 50 different countries. The computer science research program is particularly dynamic; it hosts two Canada Research Chairs, currently includes about twenty professors, 30 doctoral and postdoctoral fellows, and more than 100 master’s students.

The doctoral work will take place at the Formal Computing Laboratory, under the supervision of Prof. Sylvain Hallé, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Testing, Specification, and Verification of Computer Systems. The LIF specializes in the application of formal methods to testing and verification of various software systems. Previous projects by LIF faculty members have been carried out in collaboration with numerous companies, including Ericsson, Industrial Alliance, Ubisoft LaForge, Devicom, and Eckinox Media.

Research at LIF is internationally recognized and contributes to the development of concrete, high-quality software tools based on solid mathematical foundations. Notable long-standing projects developed at LIF include the BeepBeep 3 event stream processing engine [2], the Artichoke blockchain monitoring system [3], and the Petit Poucet data lineage library [4]. All these initiatives have been awarded and published at leading international conferences over the last decade.

Candidate Profile

A very good university master’s degree in computer science, management information systems, mathematics, or a related discipline is expected. In addition, we are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Good programming skills (Python, C#, C++)
  • Knowledge of video game development or tests and formal verification will be considered as assets
  • Very good skills in scientific communication and writing.
  • Very good knowledge of communication and writing in English.
  • Strong interest in scientific problems and motivation to conduct independent and focused research.

The University of Québec in Chicoutimi is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion at all stages of its students’ curriculum; individuals from underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged to apply. Applications will be evaluated by a panel of three faculty members of UQAC focusing on the above criteria. Initially selected individuals will be invited for an online interview to further assess their technical and communication skills.

Application Materials

Individuals wishing to apply are invited to fill out the online form at the address, making sure to select the LIF24-D2 contest and providing the following documents:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae, including a) list of publications if applicable; b) names and contact information of at least two references
  • Transcripts from the bachelor’s (license) and master’s (master) degrees
  • A copy of the master’s thesis, if submitted


  1. A. Bédard, S. Hallé. (2021). Model Checking of Stream Processing Pipelines. In Proc. TIME, 5:1-5:17. DOI 10.4230/LIPIcs.TIME.2021.5
  2. S. Hallé. (2018). Event Stream Processing with BeepBeep 3: Log Crunching and Analysis Made Easy. Presses de l’Université du Québec, ISBN 978-2-7605-5101-5
  3. S. Hallé, R. Khoury, A. El-Hokayem, Y. Falcone. (2016). Decentralized Enforcement of Artifact Lifecycles. In Proc. EDOC, 1-10. DOI 10.1109/EDOC.2016.7579380
  4. S. Hallé, H. Tremblay. (2021). Foundations of Fine-Grained Explainability. In Proc. CAV, Springer LNCS 12760, 500-523. DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-81688-9_24


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