Doctoral student in theoretical computer science and/or combinatorial optimization

Lund University
January 12, 2023
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Lund University, Faculty of Engineering, LTH, Department of Computer

science

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world's top 100 universities. The University has around 46 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Research subject

Computer science

Subject description

The PhD student will be working in the Mathematical Insights into Algorithms for Optimization (MIAO) (https: // jakobnordstrom.github.io/miao-group/) headed by Jakob Nordström (https: // jakobnordstrom.github.io/), which is active at both Lund University and the University of Copenhagen.

The MIAO research group has a unique profile in that we are doing cutting-edge research both on the mathematical foundations of efficient computation and on state-of-the-art practical algorithms for real-world problems. This creates a very special environment, where we do not only conduct in-depth research on different theoretical and applied topics, but where different lines of research cross-fertilise each other and unexpected and exciting synergies often arise. Much of the activities of the group revolve around powerful algorithmic paradigms such as, e.g., Boolean satisfiability (SAT) solving, Gröbner basis computations, integer linear programming, and constraint programming. This leads to classical questions in computational complexity theory—though often with new, fascinating twists—but also involves work on devising clever algorithms that can exploit the power of such paradigms in practice.

Quite recently, we have made research breakthroughs on how to verify the correctness of state-of-the-art algorithms for combinatorial optimization. Such algorithms are often highly complex, and even mature commercial solvers are known to sometimes produce wrong results. Our work on designing a new generation of certifying combinatorial solvers, which output not only a solution but also a machine-verifiable mathematical proof that this solution is correct, has only started. Even so, our tool VeriPB can already handle techniques that have long remained beyond the reach of other tools, and we have recently received prestigious AAAI '22 distinguished paper and SAT '22 best paper awards for our work.

With this call, we are mainly looking for a mathematically gifted PhD student with excellent programming skills to continue our ground-breaking work on certifying algorithms, funded by the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP). There is some flexibility as to what kind of research PhD students in the group pursue, though, and all candidates are welcome, both those who want to go deep into either theory or practice and those who are inspired by the challenge of bridging the gap between the two.

Work duties

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%), in which case the position is prolonged accordingly.

Admission requirements

Applicants meet the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if they:

  • have been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • have satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.
  • A person meets the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in computer science if the applicant has:

  • at least 60 second-cycle credits at an advanced level with relevance for the research topic, or
  • an MSc in Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, Engineering Physics or Engineering Mathematics.
  • Additional requirements:
  • Very good oral and written proficiency in English.
  • Assessment criteria

    Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the candidate's potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:

  • Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study.
  • An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  • Written and oral communication skills.
  • Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.
  • Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

    Other assessment criteria

    The successful candidate is expected to have a strong background and passionate interest in computer science and mathematics. Problem solving skills and creativity are a must. For candidates aiming to do more applied research excellent programming skills are also crucial.

    Terms of employment

    Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

    Instructions how to apply

    Applications shall be written in English and shall include the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Brief statement as to why the applicant wishes to conduct doctoral studies, including a description of the applicant's qualifications and interests.
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc).
  • If applicable, copies of the applicant's MSc thesis (or possibly BSc thesis) and any research publications.
  • Names and addresses for three references who might be contacted for reference letters later in the recruitment process.
  • Please observe that all the documents above should be in English (or for official documents possibly in Swedish).

    LTH forms the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, with approximately 9 000 students. The research carried out at LTH is of a high international standard and we are continuously developing our teaching methods and adapting our courses to current needs.

    We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.

    Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months

    First day of employment As soon as possible Salary Monthly salary Number of positions 1 Full-time equivalent 100 City Lund County Skåne län Country Sweden Reference number PA2022/3578 Contact

  • Jakob Nordström, jakob.nordstrom@cs.lth.se
  • Union representative

  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, kansli@saco-s.lu.se
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-2229366
  • Published 21.Nov.2022 Last application date 12.Jan.2023 11:59 PM CET

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