Internship | Ensuring backwards compatibility: Detection and Correction of Incompatible Service Interfaces

Airplanes, trains or ships have long life times and need to continuously evolve after deployment. You will be part of a research team researching solutions enabling fast responses to changing technology and business needs.



Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


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What will you be doing?

Cyber-physical systems with long life times need to continuously evolve after deployment in response to changing technology and business needs. Lacking this ability not only prevents systems from quickly reacting to these changes, but also increases risk, as many small updates are collected into big infrequent upgrades. Service-oriented software architectures support continuous evolution by decoupling the application from a particular product, technology, and implementation using service interfaces that hide the component implementing the service. However, this arrangement results in a large number of possible interactions between different components and versions, making it difficult and time-consuming to detect and correct structural and behavioral incompatibilities caused by updating service interfaces. Automation is hence required to detect and correct incompatibilities, such as different message structures and protocol mismatches, when a service interface is updated.

Initial steps towards a methodology to address this problem have been taken by ESI in collaboration with Thales. The methodology uses a domain-specific language to specify the structure and behavior of service interfaces. Formal models based on Petri Nets, representing the possible interactions with the service interface, are automatically generated from this specification and are used as a base for identifying incompatibilities and to synthesize adapters to correct them.
Additional research is still needed to improve the scalability of the approach and deal with complex behaviors, such as unbounded message production and data-dependencies. This provides opportunities for both theoretical research on Petri Nets and more applied research on its application in a software-intensive cyber-physical system.

This project can be organized as a paid internship at ESI and is an opportunity to do research in an industrial context.

What do we require of you?

You are an MSc student Computer Science, Computer/Electrical Engineering, or a similar program, looking for a graduation assignment of 6-9 months. You have experience with formal methods and software development. In particular, we value experience with Petri Nets and C++ programming, although this is not a strict requirement. You are interested in software-intensive cyber-physical systems and like your graduation assignment to show the benefits of scientific system development methods in a high-tech organization.

What can you expect of your work situation?

TNO is an independent research organisation whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organisations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. Innovation with purpose is what TNO stands for. With 3000 people we develop knowledge not for its own sake but for practical application. To create new products that make life more pleasant and valuable and help companies innovate. To find creative answers to the questions posed by society. We work for a variety of customers: governments, companies, service providers and non-governmental organisations. Working together on new knowledge, better products and clear recommendations for policy and processes. In everything we do, impact is the key. Our product and process innovations and recommendations are only worth something if our customers can use them to boost their competitiveness. 

ESI is a leading research group within the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). It contributes to society and economy by driving advances in high-tech and embedded systems design at a multidisciplinary level, with a strong shared research programme, dedicated innovation support services and a focused competence development programme. Its key objective is to raise high-tech and embedded system design from a craft to a scientifically based engineering discipline. ESI works for global technology leaders with research programs that focus on the design of complex high-tech systems. Research programs are tailored to address a variety of application domains, such as microelectronics manufacturing, medical imaging, IC design, high-end printing solutions, digital consumer products, safety & security, etc. These applications are typically characterized by the large-scale and tightly coupled integration of intelligent components and multidisciplinary enabling technologies. Our success is based on delivering high-impact methods, techniques and tools that increase the rate of innovation, both to industry and societal applications. Please refer to for further details.

What can TNO offer you?

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

Has this vacancy sparked your interest?

Then please feel free to apply on this vacancy! For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Contact: Ronald Begeer
Phone number: +31 (0)60118 35631

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now



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