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.


University of Amsterdam


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;

Language requirements:

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.

Educational level:

Ph. D.

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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.

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