Universiteit van Amsterdam

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Postdoctoral researcher in Neural Machine Translation

Deadline: Friday 3 May 2019
Postdoctoral researcher in Neural Machine Translation
Publicatiedatum 20 maart 2019
Sluitingsdatum 3 mei 2019
Opleidingsniveau Gepromoveerd
Functieomvang 38 hours per week
Salarisindicatie €2,709 to €4,274 gross per month
Vacaturenummer 19-171

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) at the University of Amsterdam invites applications for a two-year research position at the postdoctoral level in the Probabilistic Language Learning group.

The ILLC is a research institute in which researchers from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities collaborate. It offers a very international English-speaking research environment. Research is interdisciplinary and aims at bringing together insights from various fields concerned with information and information processing, such as logic, mathematics, computer science, artificial intelligence, linguistics, computational linguistics, cognitive science, musicology, and philosophy. The institute is located in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, renowned for its historic canals, its cosmopolitan laid-back atmosphere, and its excellent connections to the rest of Europe and beyond.

Project description

This position is part of the EC-funded project Global Under-Resourced Media Translation (GoURMeT). The overall aim of the project is to develop data-efficient NMT by exploiting prior linguistic knowledge within deep generative models. A central theme of the project is latent variable modelling and for that experience with approximate inference and efficient gradient estimation for deep generative models is a must. The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr Wilker Aziz and in collaboration with PhD candidates already funded by GoURMet.

You will become a member of the Probabilistic Language Learning group, the research agenda of which is dedicated to probabilistic modelling of language data. The group's research revolves around efficient techniques for approximate inference and gradient estimation of deep generative models involving both continuous and discrete data. Applications of interest include machine translation, word representation, paraphrasing, textual entailment, and question answering.

You will be expected to contribute to this broad research agenda. Specifically, we will ask you to perform the following tasks:

  • to regularly present research results at international workshops and conferences, and to publish them in conference proceedings and journals;
  • to collaborate with other members of the project;
  • to contribute to the supervision of PhD candidates in the group;
  • to participate in and to contribute to the organisation of research activities and events at the ILLC, such as workshops and colloquia;
  • to contribute to the dissemination of research results to non-specialist audiences;
  • to deploy translation models once or twice a year as part of evaluation campaigns (both internal to the project and open campaigns such as the WMT).

While this is primarily a research position, as a postdoctoral researcher at the ILLC you will be expected to also make a modest contribution to the institute's educational mission, e.g., by supervising MSc or BSc theses or by giving guest lectures in courses related to your own area of research.


You should have completed a PhD in the field of Machine Translation. Exceptionally strong candidates with a broader Natural Language Processing profile or Machine Learning profile who indicate a clear interest in moving into the field of Machine Translation will also be considered. Beyond this basic requirement, you should possess the following qualifications:

  • a strong publication record (relative to your career stage);
  • experience deploying state-of-the-art neural machine translation systems (e.g. published and open-source code);
  • excellent writing and presentation skills;
  • good social and organisational skills;
  • full professional proficiency in spoken and written English.

The following will be considered strong advantages:

  • familiarity with deep generative modelling and variational inference;
  • familiarity with processes of word formation;
  • proficiency in a language morphologically more complex than English;
  • experience with the supervision of students;

Please note that knowledge of the Dutch language is not required for this position, nor is it required to live in Amsterdam. However, as a postdoctoral researcher at the ILLC you will have the opportunity to attend Dutch language classes if you wish.

Further information

Should you have specific questions regarding this position or the application procedure, please contact:


The successful candidate will be employed by the Faculty of Science on a fixed-term full-time position (38 hours per week).

The appointment is intended to be for a period of two years. The initial employment contract will be for one year. This will be extended with a further year after a positive evaluation.

The gross monthly salary will range from €2,709 to €4,274 (scale 10), depending on relevant experience. The annual salary will be supplemented with an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities applies.

Starting date: 1 May 2019 or soon thereafter. 

Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

Your application should include the following information (in one single PDF file, using your surname as the file name):

  • a cover letter, including a description of your research interests and accomplishments, as well as an explanation for why you are applying for this position (at most two pages);
  • a detailed curriculum vitae, including your list of publications;
  • links to two selected publications available online (mature drafts of papers or papers currently under submission are also acceptable);
  • a link to your PhD thesis available online (if available already) or an indication of the current status of your PhD thesis;
  • the names, affiliations, and email addresses of two people we can contact for letters of reference for you.

Please quote vacancy number 19-171 in your cover letter.

Please submit your application no later than 3 May 2019 using the link below. Only fill in the fields marked as mandatory and use the CV field to upload the PDF file specified above. Please note that we can only consider complete applications that have been submitted in this manner. #LI-DNP

Application form: https://ssl1.peoplexs.com/Peoplexs22/CandidatesPortalNoLogin/ApplicationForm.cfm?PortalID=16107&VacatureID=1031984

Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.