Ph.D. Position in Information Theory at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
There is an open Ph.D. position in the area of information theory in the Signal Processing Group of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain. The position is in relation to the ERC Starting Grant “Information Theory for Low-Latency Wireless Communications (LOLITA).” The duration of the position is for 3 years, renewable for another year.

About the ERC Starting Grant

The majority of wireless connections in the fifth generation (5G) of wireless systems will most likely be originated by autonomous machines and devices rather than by the human-operated mobile terminals for which traditional broadband services are intended. It is thus expected that enhanced mobile-broadband services will be complemented by new services centered on machine-type communications (MTC). An important emerging area among MTC systems is that of low-latency communications, which targets systems that require reliable real-time communication with stringent requirements on latency and reliability.

The design of low-latency wireless communication systems is a great challenge, since it requires a fundamentally different design approach than the one used in current high-rate systems. Indeed, current systems exchange packets of several thousand bits. For such packet lengths, there are error-correcting codes that can correct transmission errors with high probability at rates close to the capacity. Consequently, the design of current systems is supported by the extensive information-theoretical knowledge we have about wireless communications. In contrast, low-latency systems exchange packets of only several hundred bits, so the rate of the error-correcting code must be significantly below the capacity to achieve the desired reliability. Consequently, for such systems, capacity is not a relevant performance measure, and design guidelines that are based on its behavior will be misleading.

Currently, we are lacking the theoretical understanding of low-latency wireless communication systems that would be crucial to design them optimally. This project addresses this problem by establishing the theoretical framework required to describe the fundamental tradeoffs in low-latency wireless communications.

About the Position

The candidate will be working on topics related with the Starting Grant. Of particular interest are finite-blocklength bounds and approximations of the maximal coding rate at a given power, packet length and packet error probability for multi-antenna systems and random-access scenarios.

The following literature is relevant for the project:

[1] G. Durisi, T. Koch, and P. Popovski, “Towards massive, ultrareliable, and low-latency wireless communication with short packets,” Proceedings of the IEEE , Vol. 104, No. 9, September 2016.

[2] G. Durisi, T. Koch, J. Östman, Y. Polyanskiy, and W. Yang, “Short-packet communications over multiple-antenna Rayleigh-fading channels,” IEEE Transactions on Communications , Vol. 64, No. 2, February 2016.

[3] A. Lancho, T. Koch, and G. Durisi, "On single-antenna Rayleigh block-fading channels at finite blocklength," arXiv:1706.07778 [cs.IT], June 2017.


The Ph.D. student will sign a fixed-term contract for 3 years, renewable for another year.


Candidates who wish to apply should satisfy the following criteria:

  • M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, or related areas.
  • Mathematical background.
  • Knowledge of information theory or wireless communications beneficial.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.

About the Host Institution

The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid was founded in 1989 and is one of the top universities in Spain. Our campus is located in Leganés, which is about 10km south of the center of Madrid. The PhD will be part of the Signal Processing Group, which is an interdisciplinary group that conducts research in the areas of signal processing, machine learning, Bayesian and Monte Carlo methods, and information and coding theory. Currently, we are 3 professors, 3 postdoctoral researchers and 1 Ph.D. student working in information and coding theory.

Application Process

Interested candidates should send their application to Dr. Tobias Koch ( ). The application must include:

  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Certified copies of transcripts and diplomas for bachelor and master’s degree.
  • A short statement describing your motivation, area of interest, and past experience with related topics.
  • Name and contact information (including email address) of one academic reference.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed via Skype.

The position will remain open until filled.


For further information, please contact Dr. Tobias Koch ( ).