PhD students on a joint project on the development of evolutionary machine learning techniques for explainable AI and their application to medical data.

The Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science (CWI, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica) located in Amsterdam, and the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) together have 2 vacancies for fully funded PhD students, on a joint project on the development of evolutionary machine learning techniques for explainable AI and their application to medical data.

The Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science (CWI, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica) located in Amsterdam, and the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) together have 2 vacancies for fully funded

PhD students,

on a joint project on the development of evolutionary machine learning techniques for explainable AI and their application to medical data.

Job description
CWI closely collaborates with LUMC to work on innovations in the medical domain along the entire spectrum from algorithmic foundations to clinical integration. Currently, CWI (the Life Sciences and Health research group) and LUMC (the department of radiation oncology) have a joint project for which we seek 2 talented PhD students (one to be hired at CWI and one to be hired at LUMC) to work together on new techniques for and novel combinations of evolutionary algorithms and machine learning, in a project funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO, Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek) entitled "EXAMINE - Evolutionary eXplainable Artificial Medical INtelligence Engine".

Machine learning (ML), especially deep learning, has shown to be capable of impressive results in many fields of science and society. Nevertheless, in most cases, learned models are still incomprehensible black boxes for humans. Especially for disciplines such as medicine, this is a bottleneck for widespread adoption, because for clinical use, medical experts want to understand what has been learned and why.

We will therefore focus on types of ML that provide models that can be insightfully inspected and understood. Specifically, these models are made up of (combinations of) symbolic expressions, deep neural networks for medical images and radiation dose distributions (used for treating cancer), and Bayesian networks that can be used to create explainable prediction models (e.g., of treatment outcomes).

To learn such explainable models, powerful and versatile optimization algorithms are required. For this, we will innovate the recently introduced state-of-the-art research line on model-based evolutionary algorithms known as the Gene-pool Optimal Mixing Evolutionary Algorithm (GOMEA) family and exploit recently published new insights into its (GPU) parallelization capabilities.

The intention is that both PhD students will work on novel combinations of evolutionary algorithms and machine learning. However, one PhD student is intended to focus more on symbolic expression evolution and the other on deep neural network evolution. The students are furthermore expected to work together on integrating their results with Bayesian network evolution and to perform clinical validation studies using data of gynaecological cancer patients. Candidates are therefore expected to spend at least one day per week at the other institute.

Requirements
Candidates are required to have an M.Sc. degree in computer science, artificial intelligence, or similar areas with relevant experience. If you are obtaining your M.Sc. degree in the coming months, you are also invited to respond.

Applicants are required to have excellent programming skills, including substantial knowledge of C, C++, or Java (with strong C/C++ experience highly desired). Applicants are further expected to have an excellent command of English.

It is essential that you have a clear interest in working both on fundamental research as well as on applying this research in the medical domain. We expect a flexible, can-do mentality and attitude with a willingness to cooperate with experts across different disciplines (including computer science and medicine).

Terms and conditions PhD student
The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labor Agreement for Research Centers ("CAO-onderzoeksinstellingen"). The initial labor agreement will be for a period of 18 months. After a positive evaluation, the agreement will be extended by 30 months. The gross monthly salary for a Ph.D. student on a full-time basis is €2,346 during the first year and increases to €3,007 over the four years period. Employees are also entitled to a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.33%. CWI offers attractive working conditions, including flexible scheduling and help with housing for expat employees.

Please visit our website for more information about our terms of employment: https://www.cwi.nl/jobs/terms-of-employment

Note: In case of appointment at LUMC, the terms of employment are in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for University Medical Centers in the Netherlands (CAO-UMC).

Application
Applications can be sent until and including Monday, March 1, 2020. Applications must be sent by e-mail to apply@cwi.nl and must include:

  • A detailed CV.
  • A letter of motivation including research interests and reasons for applying.
  • Sc. and M.Sc. level certificates
  • Lists of courses followed (at B.Sc. and M.Sc. level) including obtained grades.

The starting date is flexible, from May 1, 2020 onward.

For non-native English speakers, a TOEFL English language test might be required.

For more information about the vacancy, please contact Peter A.N. Bosman, peter.bosman@cwi.nl
For more information about CWI, please visit www.cwi.nl or watch our video about working at CWI.

CWI encourages a diverse workforce: we endeavour to develop talent and creativity by bringing people from different backgrounds and cultures together. We recruit and select based on capabilities and talent. We strongly encourage everyone with the appropriate qualifications to apply for the vacancy, regardless of age, gender, origin, sexual orientation or physical abilities.

About Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica
Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science and is part of the Institutes Organisation of NWO. The mission of CWI is to conduct pioneering research in mathematics and computer science, generating new knowledge in these fields and conveying it to trade, industry, and society at large.

CWI is an internationally oriented institute, with 160 scientists from approximately 27 countries. The facilities are first-rate and include excellent IT support, career planning, training, and courses.

CWI is located at Science Park Amsterdam that is presently developing into a major location of research in the natural sciences in The Netherlands, housing the sciences of the University of Amsterdam and of the Vrije Universiteit as well as several other national research institutes next to CWI.

Research group
For more information about the research of the Life Sciences and Health group at CWI, please visit our website http://www.cwi.nl/research/groups/life-sciences-and-health