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Multiple fully-funded Ph.D. student positions in combating technical debt in Machine Learning (ML) systems in New York City

I am currently seeking multiple fully-funded Ph.D. students interested in programming languages and software engineering research for an NSF-funded project on combating technical debt in Machine Learning (ML) systems. The project—based in the heart of New York City—focuses on facilitating the long-lived evolution of ML systems through automated refactoring.

Potential research topics explored during the project may include (static/dynamic) program and data analysis and transformation, empirical software engineering, natural language processing (NLP), and Large Language Models (LLMs). Successful candidates will be expected to work on projects that generally yield open-source developer tool research prototypes, plug-ins to popular IDEs, build systems, or static analyzers. Applicants may find additional information on the PI’s web page and should also apply to the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center (GC) Ph.D. program in Computer Science (deadline January 15) following a discussion with the PI. Students wishing to start earlier should speak with the PI.

This form does not serve as a “pre-application” process. Prospective students interested in attending the university should follow the appropriate application process. I cannot inform prospective students of their likelihood of being admitted to the program. Admission decisions are made by a committee and not an individual faculty member. This form should only be used for students interested in working with me that would like to discuss potential projects. Otherwise, prospective students should apply to the program directly. If desired, prospective students may list me as a faculty member they would like to work with.

Potential Topics of Interest

  • Data analysis
  • Static and dynamic code analysis
  • Machine Learning (ML)
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • Large Language Models (LLMs)
  • Program transformation, automated refactoring, and software evolution
  • Technical debt
  • Empirical software engineering


programming languages, software engineering, automated refactoring, static analysis, dynamic analysis, IDEs, developer tools, software evolution, machine learning, empirical studies, technical debt


Shared lab space will be available to successful candidates at the City University of New York (CUNY) Hunter College Computer Science Department, New York, NY, USA.


The Ph.D. studentship is fully-funded. CUNY provides competitive funding packages. Potential applicants may find funding information on the CUNY GC website.

Start Date

August 2025 (or earlier pending a discussion with the PI).


Raffi Khatchadourian, principal supervisor. More info on this web page.

Expected Skills and Qualifications

Successful candidates will have earned either a BS or MSc degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science or a related field. A successful candidate will have a solid practical and theoretical background in the following areas. Note, however, possessing all such skills does not necessarily disqualify applicants:

  • AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, analytics, and data mining.
  • (Object-Oriented) programming languages.
  • (Front-end) compilers.
  • Data structures.
  • Algorithms.
  • Software design patterns.
  • Software testing.
  • Software engineering tools, e.g., IDEs, build systems, version control.
  • Data mining, software repository mining (MSR).
  • Empirical software engineering.

Successful candidates may also have the following:

  • A strong mathematical logic, statistical, and set-theoretic foundation.
  • Industrial experience.
  • Software engineering skills.
  • High-quality analytical skills.
  • Experience in developer tool design and implementation, relational databases, and statistical software (e.g., R, spreadsheets).


Please complete the following form. Please note that partial form submissions can be saved for later completion.

The City University of New York – CUNY’s Graduate Center Ph.D. program in Computer Science information and requirements regarding admission is available here. Note the deadline for January 15.The Computer Science program requirements are listed here. Also note that the college program requirements may include a GRE. International students are encouraged to visit this web page for more information regarding international requirements.

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    From Bachelor to MSc if applicable.
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