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PhD candidate in Machine Learning for Natural Language Inference / Semantic Parsing

Publication date
24 November 2015
Level of education
Salary indication
€2,147 to €2,744 gross per month
Closing date
22 December 2015
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is a research institute at the University of Amsterdam, 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, cognitive science, artificial intelligence and philosophy. Research is organized in three research groups: Logic and Computation (LoCo), Logic and Language (LoLa) and Language and Computation (LaCo).

Besides Ivan Titov, who will supervise the PhD project, many staff members at ILLC (e.g., Khalil Sima’anRens Bod, Raquel Fernandez, Jelle Zuidema) as well as the nearby Institute of Informatics (IvI) (e.g., Max Welling, Maarten de Rijke, Christof Monz, Joris Mooij) do research on a variety of topics in natural language processing and machine learning.

Project description

The Institute for Logic, Language & Computation (ILLC) at the University of Amsterdam is looking for a PhD candidate in the machine learning for semantic reasoning and semantic parsing, as part of Ivan Titov’s NWO VIDI Project.

The aim of the PhD project is to develop effective semantic parsers and statistical models for reasoning relying on machine learning (incl. tensor factorization methods and deep learning). The primary focus is on inducing these models from large amounts of unannotated text (on the Web) while guided by existing prior knowledge (e.g., in the form of annotated data).

The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Ivan Titov. The PhD candidate will be expected to fulfil the following tasks:

  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • regularly present intermediate research results at international workshops and conferences, and publish them in proceedings and journals;
  • collaborate with the researchers in other relevant parts of ILLC, IvI, and the University of Amsterdam in general;
  • participate in the organisation of research activities and events at ILLC, such as conferences, workshops and joint publications;
  • assist in teaching activities at ILLC in subjects relevant to the candidate's research activities.


A master’s degree in computer science (preferably with a specialization in artificial intelligence and/or machine learning), applied mathematics or computational linguistics.

Candidates are expected to have an excellent command of English, and good academic writing and presentation skills. Applicants are kindly requested to motivate why they have chosen to apply for this specific position.

Further information

Further information can be obtained from:

  • Ivan Titov
  • Research being carried out in the different ILLC groups
  • Research carried out by the individual staff members of ILLC.


The full-time appointment at ILLC will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of four years (18 months plus a further 30 months after a positive evaluation) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings will be drawn up.

On the basis of a full-time appointment (38 hours per week), the gross monthly salary amounts to €2,147 during the first year, rising to €2,744 during the fourth year. The Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities (CAO) is applicable.

Job application

Applications should include the following information, in separate pdf files (not zipped), using surname, initials and a self-evident word as file names (e.g. Smith J. CV):

  • a curriculum vitae (including an url for download of M.Sc. thesis -- if relevant);
  • a letter of motivation (at most 1 page) explaining why you are interested in this position;
  • a research statement (at most 2 pages), explaining your research interests and experience;
  • a list of all graduate courses taken, with a transcript of grades;
  • a report from an undergraduate research project you have done;
  • the name and contact details (including email address) of two – three referees who can provide details about your profile (one of whom should be the main supervisor of your Master thesis).

Completed applications should be submitted by 22 December 2015 to and should state your name and vacancy number 15-454 in the subject field. The committee does not guarantee that late or incomplete applications will be considered.

Please note that you may also apply even if you have not yet completed your Master’s degree.

No agencies please

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