Fully funded PhD position in reinforcement learning for information retrieval at the University of Amsterdam

The Informatics Institute at the University of Amsterdam invites applications for a fully funded position for a PhD student in the area of reinforcement learning for information retrieval. The position is within the Intelligent Systems Lab Amsterdam and will be supervised by dr. Shimon Whiteson and prof. dr. Maarten de Rijke.

Application closing date: 30 April 2012
Starting date: 15 July 2012 (later starting date is possible).
Duration: 4 years.

The research will focus on the development of new algorithms for modeling and learning from implicit feedback, such as click behavior, in order to optimize the behavior of information retrieval systems. Doing so will require new reinforcement learning techniques, as well as other types of machine learning. The new methods will be applied to real data from a leading Dutch social networking site. The project is funded by a grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.

Applicants must have a master’s degree in computer science or a closely related area.

In addition, a successful candidate should have:

* strong math skills.

* good knowledge of modern machine learning methods (specific knowledge of reinforcement learning and/or decision-theoretic planning is a plus).

* experience programming in at least one of the following languages: C, C++, Java, Python, or Perl.

* excellent oral and written communication skills.

The successful candidate will be based in the Intelligent Systems Lab Amsterdam (ISLA) within the Informatics Institute at the University of Amsterdam. The institute was recently ranked among the top 50 computer science departments in the world by the 2011 QS World University IT Rankings. ISLA consists of 20 members of faculty, 20 post-doctoral researchers, and more than 50 PhD students. Members of the lab are actively pursuing a variety of research initiatives, including machine learning, decision-theoretic planning and learning, multiagent systems, human-computer-interaction, natural language processing, information retrieval, and computer vision.

Some of the things we have to offer:

* competitive pay and excellent benefits
* extremely friendly working environment
* high-level of interaction
* location near the city center (10 minutes by bicycle) of one Europe’s most beautiful and lively cities
* international environment (10+ nationalities in the group)
* access to high-end computing facilities (cluster with 4,000+ cores)
* brand-new building

Since Amsterdam is a very international city where almost everybody speaks and understands English, candidates need not be afraid of the language barrier.

For further information, including instructions on submitting an application, see the official job ad at http://tinyurl.com/6od9ulb

Informal inquiries can be made by email to Shimon Whiteson (s.a.whiteson@uva.nl).