PhD Position in Bayesian Modeling for Hybrid Intelligent Systems
University of Amsterdam Informatics Institute

PhD position in Bayesian Modeling for Hybrid Intelligent Systems

Publication date 9 July 2020

Closing date 1 September 2020

Level of education Master's degree

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €2,395 to €3,061 gross per month

Vacancy number 20-410

Why build AI systems that replace people if we can build AI systems that collaborate with people? Hybrid Intelligence is the combination of human and machine intelligence, expanding human intellect instead of replacing it. Our goal is to design Hybrid Intelligent systems, an approach to Artificial Intelligence that puts humans at the centre, changing the course of the ongoing AI revolution.

We are looking for a PhD student to design Hybrid Intelligent systems using Bayesian principles.  Bayesian modeling is an appealing paradigm from which to build such systems. Firstly, priors allow existing information and human expertise to be given primacy in model specification.  Secondly, Bayesian inference remains coherent in sequential, online environments. Lastly, maintaining a distribution over parameters allows the model to juggle multiple competing hypotheses of the data, thereby mitigating overfitting in small-data scenarios.  Agents designed from these principles should be able to quickly adapt to new scenarios, possibly with the help of human guidance. Special attention will be given to applications in bioinformatics and healthcare. In such domains, learning with humans in-the-loop is crucial for leveraging expertise as well as ensuring the system’s safety and integrity.

This position is sponsored by the Hybrid Intelligence Centre, a collaboration of AI researchers from across the Netherlands.  The position is also affiliated with the Amsterdam Machine Learning Lab at UvA and the ADA Research Group at Leiden University.

The Hybrid Intelligence Centre will be recruiting 15 PhD or postdoc positions in total.  If you also want to be considered for one of the Hybrid Intelligence Centre’s other PhD positions, then upload your documents to the HIC Talentpool. Your information will then be shared among the researchers in the consortium.

What are you going to do?

  • Invent and evaluate novel methodologies at the intersection of probabilistic modeling and artificial intelligence;
  • apply these methods in impactful domains such as bioinformatics and healthcare---with an emphasis on learning under human guidance and cooperation;
  • present your research by contributing to international conferences, workshops, and journals;
  • actively participate in local research communities (e.g. Hybrid Intelligence Centre, Amsterdam Machine Learning Lab, ADA Research Group);
  • complete a PhD thesis within the appointed duration of four years;
  • assist in teaching activities: teaching labs and tutorials or supervising bachelor and master students.

What do we require?

  • A Master’s degree in Machine Learning, Statistics, Computer Science, Mathematics, or a related field;
  • experience in statistical or mathematical modeling;
  • experience in programming and software development.  Familiarity with Python and scientific computing libraries (e.g. NumPy, Stan, TensorFlow, PyTorch) is preferred;
  • enthusiasm for the scientific process: formulating and conducting experiments, data collection and analysis, disseminating findings via writing and oral presentations;
  • ability to cooperate and work effectively within a team;
  • fluency in English, both written and spoken.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (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) that 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 salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,395 to €3,061 (scale P) gross per month, based on a full-time contract (38 hours a week). These amounts are exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • Dr Eric Nalisnick, Assistant professor

About the Faculty of Science and the Informatics Institute

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 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 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.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise 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.

The Informatics Institute strives for a better gender balance in its staff. We therefore strongly encourage women to apply for this position.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 1 September 2020. You can apply online by using the button below. 

Applications should include:

  • a curriculum vitae, including a list of publications if applicable;
  • a complete record of your Bachelor and Master courses, including grades and an explanation of the grading system;
  • the names and contact information of at least two academic references (please do not include reference letters);
  • a link to / a copy of your work product.  Examples: thesis, research paper (working draft or pre-print is acceptable), course project, blog post, open source software;
  • (optional) a letter providing any additional information not sufficiently highlighted by the other materials.  The letter could include an in-depth description of a relevant experience or an explanation of mitigating circumstances (example: the reason for a period of poor academic performance).

Interviews will be held (likely virtually) in mid-September.

No agencies please

Apply now

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Engineeroxy


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