PhD Position in Computer Science
University of Amsterdam

PhD Position in Computer Science

Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Science
Educational level:  Master
Function type:  PhD position
Closing date:  28 July 2023
Vacancy number:  11732

Are you interested in combining theoretical research with interesting algorithmic challenges? If so, AI planning could be the right PhD topic for you!


The Theoretical Computer Science unit of the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) at the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) offers a fully-funded 4-year PhD position on the topic of AI planning using Boolean Satisfiability (SAT) techniques. The position is funded by the NWO (Dutch Research Council) project “Exploiting Problem Structures in SAT-based Planning” and will be supervised by dr. Gregor Behnke.


Currently, many SAT-based planners treat the plan as a sequence of indistinguishable and opaque timesteps. This view is problematic as it obscures inherently present structures, leading to unnecessary decreases in efficiency. In this project, we investigate how such inherent structures can be detected and exploited.


What are you going to do?


Tasks and responsibilities:

• conducting research in AI planning, resulting in academic publications at peer-reviewed conference or in journals;

• present research results regularly at international workshops and conferences;

• completion of a PhD thesis within the periode of appointment;

• supporting the Institute’s teaching mission by being a teaching assistent and supervising Bachelor and Master theses;

• openness to collaboration with other researchers;

• participate in and to contribute to the organisation of activities and events at the Institute, such as workshops and colloquia;


What do you have to offer?


Your experience and profile

• MSc in Computer Science, Logic, AI, Mathematics, or a related field. You may apply if you have not yet completed your Master's degree if you can provide a signed letter from your supervisor stating that you will graduate before your starting date, but no later than 31. October 2023;

• Excellent research skills demonstrated by an outstanding Master's thesis and the potential to develop a track record of publishing in high-ranking conference and journals;

• Good writing and presentation skills;

• A strong background in algorithmics and theoretical computer science (including propositional logic, automata theory, and linear algebra);

• Good programming skills, preferrably in C++ or willingness to learn C++;

• Prior knowledge of AI planning is advantageous;

• Basic skills in machine learning are a plus;

• Professional command of English


Knowledge of Dutch is not required nor is it required to learn Dutch during the PhD, nor is it required for being able to live in Amsterdam. However, PhD candidates at the ILLC have the opportunity to attend Dutch language classes if they wish.


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). The preferred starting date is as soon as possible. This 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 gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,541 to € 3,247 (scale P). This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. The UFO profile PhD Candidate is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.


Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:

  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;

  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;

  • a complete educational program for PhD students;

  • multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;

  • multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;

  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;

  • partly paid parental leave;

  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;

  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;

  • help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.


Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.


About us


The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.


The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 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 Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is a research institute at the UvA in which researchers from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities collaborate. Its central research area is the study of fundamental principles of encoding, transmission and comprehension of information. Research at ILLC is interdisciplinary, and aims at bringing together insights from various disciplines concerned with information and information processing, such as logic, mathematics, computer science, linguistics, natural language processing, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, music cognition, and philosophy.


Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Any questions?


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:


Job application


If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 28 July 2023.


Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file):


  • a detailed tabular CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;

  • a letter of motivation of up to two pages;

  • a list of all Bachelor- and Master-level courses you have taken, with an official transcript of grades;

  • a copy of your most recent academic writing (your Master’s thesis if completed, otherwise your Bachelor’s thesis, seminar or term paper, or any scientific publication);

  • the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation upon request.


Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.


The interviews will be held in the course of August 2023.



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.


If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application. 


No agencies please.



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


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