PhD position in machine learning, data analysis and visualization

Aalto University School of Science invites applications for a

doctoral student / research assistant

position for a fixed term (4 years: initial contract for 1 year, extension to the remaining 3 years decided at the end of the year).
Start date: 1 September 2012 (negotiable)
Application deadline: 22 June 2012

Visualization and exploratory analysis are crucial in analysis of new phenomena where strong hypotheses are not yet available. You will develop advanced machine learning methods for exploratory analysis, including methods for nonlinear dimensionality reduction, visualization, and exploratory data analysis with multiple data sources. The methods will involve novel probabilistic models for the structure and dependencies between multiple data sets. The methods will be used in bioinformatics, neuroinformatics, analysis of structured data like graphs, proactive information retrieval, and other domains. We have developed novel frameworks for visualization from an information retrieval perspective, and for multitask learning in asymmetric scenarios; your work will extend these research lines.

Research Site:

The position is at the Department of Information and Computer Science, Aalto University School of Science. The focus of the department’s research and teaching activity is on advanced computational methods for modelling, analysing, and solving complex tasks in technology and science. The research aims at the development of fundamental computer science methods for the analysis of large and high-dimensional data sets, and for the modelling and design of complex software, networking and other computational systems. The department hosts three national Centres of Excellence: the Centre of Excellence in Computational Inference Research (COIN) and parts of the Centres of Excellence in Algorithmic Data Analysis Research and Molecular Systems Immunology and Physiology Research.The department also contributes to the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT and the Helsinki node of the EIT ICT Labs. The department is a member of Informatics Europe, the association of European computer science departments. The department was ranked among the top two departments of Aalto University in the Research Assessment Exercise 2009.

The position is located in the Statistical Machine Learning and Bioinformatics research group at the Department. The group is part of Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT in Aalto University. The group is a member of the new Finnish Centre of Excellence in Computational Inference Research (COIN), and is also a member in the EU PASCAL2 network of excellence. The work will be supervised by academy research fellow Jaakko Peltonen. The work involves collaboration with Finnish researchers including members of the Statistical Machine Learning and Bioinformatics research group at Aalto University led by Prof. Samuel Kaski, and international researchers from the UK, Belgium, and the USA.

The research site is located on the Aalto University campus in Otaniemi, a short bus ride away from the centre of Finland’s capital Helsinki. Helsinki and the capital area are a great place to live, with numerous local attractions and events, scenic landscapes of small forests, islands and urban areas, a high standard of living, and excellent travel connections. Helsinki is the World Design Capital in 2012.

Department website: HIIT website: Research group website: Principal investigator website:

Required and Desired Qualities of the Applicant:

A successful applicant must have a MSc degree in computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics, physics, or a related field. It is also possible to start as a research assistant working on one’s Master’s thesis.

– A strong mathematical background and an interest in probabilistic
modeling and/or machine learning are necessary.
– An interest in some of the following topics is essential:
exploratory data analysis, dimensionality reduction, manifold
learning, visualization, and multi-task learning. Experience in
these topics is an advantage.
– A strong study record and strong track record in research are
– Good programming skills in languages such as C/C++/Matlab/R/Python
and good written and spoken communication skills are desired.

Contract Details:

The salary will be determined based on the Aalto University salary system (2200-3200 euro per month before tax for a doctoral student depending on qualifications and performance). Funding is expected to be available for 4 years: the initial appointment will be for one year with extension to the remaining 3 years decided at the end of the year.

Application Procedure:

The application deadline is 22 June 2012. The application materials must include a curriculum vitae, a copy of study records, contact details of at least two references, and any other materials deemed relevant. Applications must be submitted to the Registry of Aalto University, no later than the deadline. Applications must be submitted preferably by email to or alternatively by physical mail to The Registry of Aalto University, Aalto University, P.O.Box 11000, FI-00076 Aalto, Finland (street address Otakaari 1, Espoo). Application materials will not be returned.

Candidates may be asked for an interview at Aalto University or via phone or Skype.

For additional information, please contact academy research fellow Jaakko Peltonen or HR Coordinator Stefan Ehrstedt. E-mail:

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