Postgraduate study

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Pervasive Parallelism

Awards: MScR

Study modes: Full-time

Funding available

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Pervasive Parallelism addresses the most disruptive challenge faced by the computing industry for 50 years. Driven by performance and energy constraints, parallelism is now crucial to all layers of the computing infrastructure, from smartphones to globally distributed systems.

This EPSRC-sponsored programme tackles the many urgent interconnected problems raised by parallel systems. How do we design programming languages for such systems? How should the architecture be structured? Which theories, tools and methodologies will allow us to reason about the behaviour of this new hardware and software?

We urgently need answers to these questions to maintain the familiar pace of technological progress, and the benefits it brings to so much of modern life. Spanning theory and practice, the centre addresses this "pervasive parallelism challenge", educating the graduates who will undertake the fundamental research and design required to transform methods and practices. As a pervasive parallelism graduate, you will develop not only deep expertise in your own specialism, but crucially, an awareness of its relationships to other facets of the challenge. These cross-cutting synergies will enable us to unlock the true potential of current and future technologies.

This MSc is the first part of a longer 1+3 (MSc by Research + PhD) programme offered by the School through the EPSRC.

Our supervisors offer internationally leading expertise across all aspects of the pervasive parallelism challenge. These include parallel programming, wireless and mobile networking, reasoning about interaction, models of concurrent computation, energy efficient computing, systems architecture, and performance modelling.

Many more topics can be found be exploring the centre's pages and those of its supervision team and research teams. Most importantly, we believe that key research insights can be made by working across the boundaries of conventional groupings.

We offer a four year programme, focused throughout on your development into an independent researcher, under the guidance of an expert supervision team. In the first year, you will undertake a small number of courses, and a large introductory research project, together with a range of sessions on transferable research skills.

Courses are designed to broaden your awareness of pervasive parallelism. Successful students will be awarded a Master of Research degree at this point. From this basis, the subsequent three years will be spent developing and pursuing a PhD research project, under the close supervision of your primary and secondary supervisors.

Our industrial partnerships and engagement programme will ensure that your research is informed by real world case-studies and will provide a source of diverse internship opportunities.

You will have opportunities to take up three- to six-month internships with leading companies in this area, including ARM, Intel, IBM and Microsoft, and to participate in our industrial engagement programme, exchanging ideas and challenges with our sponsor companies at brainstorming and networking events.

The School of Informatics holds a Silver Athena SWAN award, in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The School is deploying a range of strategies to help female staff and students of all stages in their careers and we seek regular feedback from our research community on our performance.

You will have access to state-of-the-art facilities from on-chip accelerators including GPGPUs and multicore CPUs to the supercomputer scale systems hosted by the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre.

More broadly, the award-winning Informatics Forum is an international research facility for computing and related areas. It houses more than 400 research staff and students, providing office, meeting and social spaces.

It also contains two robotics labs, an instrumented multimedia room, eye-tracking and motion capture systems, and a full recording studio amongst other research facilities. Its spectacular atrium plays host to many events, from industry showcases and student hackathons to major research conferences.

Nearby teaching facilities include computer and teaching labs with more than 250 machines, 24-hour access to IT facilities for students, and comprehensive support provided by dedicated computing staff.

Among our entrepreneurial initiatives is Informatics Ventures, set up to support globally ambitious software companies in Scotland and nurture a technology cluster to rival Boston, Pittsburgh, Kyoto and Silicon Valley.

We intend for our graduates to become the research leaders, both in industry and academia, whose work will lead the way into the era of mainstream parallelism. This vision is shared by our industrial supporters who have indicated their strong desire to find highly qualified candidates to fill roles in this area. We also have outstanding support for entrepreneurial initiatives through Informatics Ventures.

Our component research groups already have excellent track-records in post-graduation destinations, including the research labs of industry-leading companies, and post-doctoral research positions in top tier universities.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in computer science, or a related discipline appropriate to the area within which you plan to study.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section
  • PTE(A): total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

  • School of Informatics Graduate School
  • 5 Forrest Hill
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2QL

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

You must also submit a research proposal.

Find out more about the application process for this programme on the Pervasive Parallelism website:

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Informatics Graduate School
  • 5 Forrest Hill
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2QL