PhD Position in Theoretical Computer Science

University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science

PhD Position in Theoretical Computer Science

Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Science
Educational level:  Master
Function type:  PhD position
Closing date:  15 December 2022
Vacancy number:  10260

Have you ever wondered about the mathematical techniques that underpin the information revolution that, for example, allow you to read this website? Do you have a passion for mathematics and a desire to solve problems arising in the theoretical study of computation? Are you excited by the prospect of collaborating with other mathematically-inclined researchers to attack these questions? We are seeking a PhD student to carry out cutting-edge research in theoretical computer science (TCS).

One fundamental challenge that must be overcome to allow for the rapid communication we expect in modern life is that data transmissions must be protected from noise. Error-correcting codes (ECC’s) provide a mathematical means for adding judiciously chosen redundancy to messages to protect from errors. Intriguingly, the task of dealing with errors arises in many other areas of TCS, leading to a wealth of new applications for ECC’s together with novel design goals.

The Theory of Computer Science (TCS) group, within the Informatics Institute (IvI) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), is looking for a PhD candidate with an expected research focus on coding theory and its interactions with other topics in TCS.

Potential topics of study include:

  • deepening our understanding of achievable trade-offs between an ECC’s noise-resilience and communication rate;
  • developing ECC’s (specifically, LDPC codes) with more efficient decoding algorithms;
  • solidifying our confidence in the hardness of decoding from a cryptographic perspective, as well as finding new applications for this hardness assumption;
  • broadening the applicability of ECC’s in other areas of TCS, such as randomness extraction and streaming algorithms.

The PhD candidate will be able to greatly benefit from the active and growing community of theoretical computer science researchers within Amsterdam, Theory.Amsterdam.

What are you going to do?

Tasks and responsibilities
You are expected to:

  • carry out original research in the field of theoretical computer science;
  • have strong analytical and mathematical skills;
  • proactively seek out collaborators and, in due time, research topics worthy of study;
  • take part in ongoing educational activities, such as assisting in courses and guiding student theses at the BSc or MSc level;
  • be an active participant in the theoretical computer science field of research, publishing in peer-reviewed international journals and presenting at top-level conferences;
  • take part in committees and carry out departmental administrative tasks as directed.

What do you have to offer?

Your experience and profile
We are looking for a candidate with:

  • an MSc in computer science, mathematics, or a related field;
  • a strong scientific interest in the theory of computing, and particularly in coding theory;
  • strong academic performance in university-level courses in computer science, mathematics, and other related fields;
  • a demonstrated ability to carry out cutting-edge research;
  • the willingness to work collaboratively with other researchers;
  • professional command of English and good presentation skills.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). The preferred starting date is as soon as possible. This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,541 to € 3,247 (scale P). This does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance the UvA offers. The UFO profile PhD Candidate is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:

  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • Multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • A complete educational program for PhD students;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • Partly paid parental leave;
  • The possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • A pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • The possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • Help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

About us

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The mission of the Informatics Institute (IvI) is to perform curiosity-driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The main research themes are Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science and Systems and Network Engineering. Our research involves complex information systems at large, with a focus on collaborative, data driven, computational and intelligent systems, all with a strong interactive component.

The Theory of Computer Science (TCS) group does research on the theoretical foundations of computer science. The aim is to seek greater understanding of fundamental computational techniques and their inherent limitations. You will be joining a growing and vibrant team of colleagues in Amsterdam all working in theoretical computer science from various UvA institutes such as IvI, the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC), the Korteweg de Vries Institute (KdVI) on mathematics, but also the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). See Theory.Amsterdam for an overview.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Job application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 16 December 2022.

All application materials should be submitted in a single pdf file in the CV field. Applications should include the following information:

  • a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
  • a letter of motivation (at most 1 page) explaining why you are interested in this position;
  • a list of all university courses taken, including a transcript of grades;
  • a list of publications;
  • a report from a research project you have done (e.g., your Master thesis);
  • the names and email addresses of two or three references who can provide letters of recommendation (please do not include any reference letters in your application).

Please make sure to provide ALL the requested documents mentioned above.

Use the CV field to upload the PDF document specified above (and do not submit a separate document with a cover letter).

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

We will invite potential candidates for interviews in early 2023, soon after the expiration of the vacancy.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

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