The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) at the University of Amsterdam invites applications for a fully funded four-year PhD position within the H2020 project ‘Global Under-Resourced Media Translation’ (GoURMET).

The ILLC is an interdisciplinary research institute where logicians, mathematicians, computer scientists, cognitive scientists, and philosophers collaborate. It offers an international research environment with world-class faculty in all of its areas of specialisation. The institute is located in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, renown for its historic system of canals, its laid-back cosmopolitan atmosphere, and its excellent connections to the rest of Europe and the world.

Project And Job Description

In this project your role is to develop deep generative models for machine translation of under-resourced languages and domains. The overall aim of the project is to develop data efficient NMT by generative modelling and induction of latent structure (both continuous and discrete). A central theme of the project is therefore approximate inference and efficient gradient estimation for modelling highly structured data.

The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr Wilker Aziz whose research agenda is dedicated to better NLP by probabilistic modelling with strong statistical assumptions. This agenda is heavily based on approximate inference techniques for latent variable models and includes applications such as machine translation, word representation, paraphrasing, and question answering.

You will be asked to perform the following tasks
to complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
to regularly present research results at international workshops and conferences, and to publish them in conference proceedings and journals;
to participate in and to contribute to the organisation of research activities and events at the ILLC, such as workshops and colloquia.

All PhD candidates at the ILLC furthermore are expected to make a small contribution to the institute’s educational mission, e.g., by working as teaching assistants for courses in their area of expertise and by assisting with the supervision of student research projects.

This PhD position will be embedded in the ILLC’s PhD Programme, which offers training in a range of transferable skills that are relevant for a successful career, in research or elsewhere.


University of Amsterdam


You should hold, or expect to obtain before the start of your appointment, a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline, such as Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Statistics, Mathematics, or Logic. Candidates with an interdisciplinary background are particularly encouraged to apply. You should furthermore possess
an excellent academic track record;
a serious interest in pursuing fundamental research;
good writing and presentation skills;
good social and organisational skills;
full professional proficiency in spoken and written English.

We are particularly interested in candidates who have already had some exposure to
Bayesian statistics;
supervised learning for natural language processing, and in particular, neural machine translation;
unsupervised and/or semi-supervised learning (possibly outside natural language processing);
exact inference for models such as HMMs and CRFs;
optimisation techniques (e.g. coordinate ascent, gradient-based optimisation, dual decomposition);
approximate inference (e.g. MCMC, variational inference, expectation propagation);
variational inference in the context of neural network models.

Please note that knowledge of the Dutch language is not required for this position, 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.

Educational level:

Master Degree

How to apply:

Please mention NLP People as a source when applying


Tagged as: , , ,

About University of Amsterdam

Met meer dan 5000 werknemers, 30.000 studenten en een budget van ruim 600 miljoen euro, is de Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) een intellectueel knooppunt binnen Nederland. De UvA heeft zeven faculteiten waar onderwijs en onderzoek plaatsvinden op het gebied van geesteswetenschappen, sociale wetenschappen, economie en bedrijfskunde, rechtsgeleerdheid, natuurwetenschappen, geneeskunde en tandheelkunde. Midden in Amsterdam, op locaties waar disciplines samenkomen en elkaar beïnvloeden.

De studenten en medewerkers van de UvA zijn onafhankelijke denkers en competente rebellen. Zij durven het aan om dogma’s in twijfel te trekken en nemen geen genoegen met simpele antwoorden of standaardoplossingen. Werken bij de UvA betekent werken in een onafhankelijk, creatief, innovatief en internationaal klimaat. Kenmerkend is de open sfeer en een authentieke betrokkenheid met de stad Amsterdam en de samenleving.


With over 5,000 employe