PhD student in Computer Science within WASP


Skilled and committed employees are a crucial factor in the success of Linköping University. And we need more of them. Our core expertise comes from teachers and researchers, but a successful university requires experienced and motivated employees in many fields. Everyone is important. We need to recruit many new employees thanks to, among all, an expansion in our research activity. We need you here. We look forward to receiving your application!

The Department of Computer and Information Science was founded in 1983 but its roots go back to the early 1970s. It is one of the largest computer science departments in northern Europe.

Our research covers a broad spectrum of fields, from core to applied computer sciences. Its vast scope also benefits our undergraduate and graduate programmes, and we now teach courses in several engineering programmes at bachelor’s and master’s levels, as well as the programmes in statistics, cognitive science and innovative programming.

Hereby advertises up to four (4) positions as

PhD student in Computer Science
formally based at the Department of Computer and Information Science (IDA) within WASP.

Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP) is Sweden’s largest individual research program ever, a major national initiative for strategically motivated basic research, education and faculty recruitment. The program addresses research on artificial intelligence and autonomous systems acting in collaboration with humans, adapting to their environment through sensors, information and knowledge, and forming intelligent systems-of-systems. The vision of WASP is excellent research and competence in artificial intelligence, autonomous systems and software for the benefit of Swedish industry. Read more: 

The graduate school within WASP is dedicated to provide the skills needed to analyze, develop, and contribute to the interdisciplinary area of artificial intelligence, autonomous systems and software. Through an ambitious program with research visits, partner universities, and visiting lecturers, the graduate school actively supports forming a strong multi-disciplinary and international professional network between
PhD-students, researchers and industry. Read more:

Duties and Qualifications
As a PhD student you will primarily devote yourself to your research. As a PhD student you are limited to work with education and administration up to 20 percent of full time.

The student(s) will carry out research directed by Hector Geffner, a Guest WASP Professor at LiU and recipient of an Advanced ERC Grant on Representation Learning for Planning.

The research is focused on a problem that is at the heart of the current split in AI between data-based learners and model-based reasoners: the problem of learning symbolic representations from raw perceptions. In our case, first order symbolic representations, involving objects and relations, are to be learned from scratch for planning and generalized planning. Other dimensions of representation learning to be pursued include representation grounding, transfer, composition, and scaffolding.

As an illustration, deep reinforcement learning methods became popular in AI when they were used to learn to play the Atari video games directly from images and scores by producing effective but opaque behavioral boxes. The idea of representation learning for planning is to learn meaningful first-order models based on objects and relations, from the same data, and to use them to generate meaningful and explainable behavior.

We are seeking highly motivated doctoral students eager to make a difference in these problems, with some background in areas such as machine learning, planning, logic and knowledge representation, combinatorial optimization and SAT.

Qualified to PhD studentships are only those who are or have been admitted to graduate studies. Good oral and written skills in English are required.

Ideal candidates should be able to do or will learn to do: theoretical and experimental work, logic and algorithms, and programming and “differential programming” (deep learning)

Some relevant bibliography:

Learning first-order symbolic representations for planning from the structure of the state space
B. Bonet and H. Geffner. Proc. ECAI 2020

Model-free, model-based, and general intelligence.
H. Geffner. Proc. IJCAI 2018.
Video at

Reconciling deep learning with symbolic artificial intelligence: representing objects and relations.
M. Garnelo, M. Shanahan. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 29, 2019.

Appointment time
The appointment will be until further notice for a maximum of one year at a time. A doctoral student may not be employed during a period exceeding eight years. The total time of appointment must not exceed the equivalent of four years´ full time research training.

Starting date 
By agreement

The salary for PhD students is based on the department’s salary scale.

Union representatives
For contact with union representatives see below.

Application procedure
Apply for the position by clicking the “Apply” button below. Your application must be received at latest September 3rd, 2020.

Applications and documents received after the date above will not be considered.

Equal opportunities

A majority of our PhD students  within the Department of Computer and Information Scienceare are men, which is why precedence will be given to women in cases where qualifications are deemed otherwise equivalent.

Linköping University will continue to develop as an attractive and creative place of work, characterized by equal terms and actively works for equality and diversity.

We look forward to receiving your application!

Linköping university has framework agreements and wishes to decline direct contacts from staffing- and recruitment companies as well as from vendors of job advertisements.

Contact person

Hector Geffner

Guest WASP Professor

Sandra Malmström



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