The Korteweg-de Vries Institute for Mathematics (KdVI) of the University of Amsterdam invites you to apply for a PhD position in mathematical machine learning. We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic researcher (F/M), who likes to work in an internationally oriented environment;

You will be working under supervision of Dr Tim van Erven to design and mathematically analyze new machine learning algorithms. The ambition is to publish at top-level international conferences and journals, like COLT, NeurIPS, the Journal of Machine Learning Research, etc. Possible topics include:

Adaptive Online Learning: Online learning deals with learning algorithms that process data sets sequentially, one data point at a time. Such algorithms play a key role in machine learning for very large data sets, for instance when training deep neural networks. The goal of this project is to develop new online learning algorithms and prove that they are optimal for multiple types of loss functions and under multiple different types of assumptions, without the need to manually tune any hyperparameters.

Mathematical Formalization and Analysis of Explainability Methods: Recently there has been much interest in generating explanations that clarify and communicate how machine learning methods make their decisions. But none of the existing methods gives any formal mathematical guarantees on how well they can be expected to work and under which conditions their explanations can be trusted. The goal of this project is to formalize explainability and to design new methods with provable guarantees.

What are you going to do?

You will:

  • perform research on mathematical machine learning;
  • be part of the research programme Stochastics and interact with its senior and junior members;
  • contribute to educational programmes at the University of Amsterdam.

What do we require?

  • An MSc degree in Mathematical Statistics/AI/Computer Science or related area;
  • the focus of the position is on mathematical analysis, but good programming skills are considered an advantage;
  • excellent writing and communication skills in English.

Knowledge of directly relevant courses like, for instance, the Mastermath course Machine Learning Theory is considered an advantage as is experience in teaching.

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). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. The starting date is flexible, but not later than 1 September 2021.

The salary will be €2,395 to €3,061 (scale P) gross per month, based on a full-time contract of 38 hours a week. This is 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? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.

About the Faculty of Science and the Korteweg-de Vries Institute for Mathematics

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 Korteweg-de Vries Institute for Mathematics (KdVI) is the mathematics research institute at the University of Amsterdam. We conduct world-class research in the fields of Algebra, Geometry and Mathematical Physics; Pure, Applied and Numerical Analysis; Discrete Mathematics and Quantum Information; and Stochastics. A smaller portion of our research is directed at teaching (focus area blended learning) or history of mathematics. We are involved with various national and international research collaborations. In addition, we also provide the lecturers and instructors for the mathematics teaching within the Science faculty and within the national programme Mastermath. The institute has about 30 faculty members and 40 postdoctoral researchers and PhD students.


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

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 Korteweg-de Vries 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 31 January 2021. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a motivation letter of 1 page A4 that explains why you have chosen to apply for this specific position and mentioning the relevant courses you have taken;
  • a copy of your Master’s thesis or, if not completed, a copy of your Bachelor’s thesis (please include it even if it is not written in English);
  • a complete record of Bachelor and Master courses (including grades);
  • contact information for a referee who is willing to provide a reference letter upon request.

All these should be grouped in a single PDF attachment.

Please mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.

Apply now

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