Umeå universitet, institutionen för fysik

A position within the Wallenberg Autonomous Systems and Software Program.
Research topic: Self-Driving Transparent Analytics

The Department of Physics is looking for an exceptional PhD student to join our interdisciplinary group at Integrated Science Lab, IceLab, where we work on solving computational and life science problems with tools from physics, mathematics, and computer science. This is a full-time position over a period of four years. Application deadline is June 15, 2017.

The Wallenberg Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP)
The Wallenberg Autonomous Systems Program (WASP is Sweden's largest individual research program ever, and provides a platform for academic research and education, fostering interaction with Sweden's leading technology companies. The program addresses research on autonomous systems acting in collaboration with humans, adapting to their environment through sensors, information and knowledge, and forming intelligent systems-of-systems. WASP's key values are research excellence and industrial relevance.

The graduate school within WASP is dedicated to provide the skills needed to analyze, develop, and contribute to the interdisciplinary area of autonomous systems and software. The curriculum provides the foundations, perspectives, and state-of-the-art knowledge in the different disciplines taught by leading researchers in the field. Through an ambitious program with research visits, partner universities, and visiting lecturers, the graduate school actively supports forming a strong multi-disciplinary and international professional network between PhD students, researchers and industry.

The graduate school provides added value on top of the existing PhD programs at the partner universities, providing unique opportunities for students who are dedicated to achieving international research excellence with industrial relevance.

Project description
Many autonomous systems rely on state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms. The best-performing algorithms are also the most opaque. This transparency problem - the fact that we do not understand how they work - causes a great challenge for verification. That is, for autonomous systems that are supposed to work in dynamic conditions, such as robots, self-driving cars, or smart analytics tools, we only know that they work in tested conditions. And as the autonomous systems acquire new knowledge, how do we know that the new machines still handle previously tested conditions? This challenge calls for more transparent machine learning algorithms that allow us to look under the hood and understand the machinery. This project seeks to integrate transparent but domain-specific inference techniques from network science with versatile but opaque machine learning algorithms and enable self-driving transparent analytics.

We are now seeking a PhD student to join our interdisciplinary group and develop innovative and transparent machine-learning algorithms for autonomous systems. This will allow us to take advantage of today's data explosion for revealing and taking advantage of dynamic patterns in complex systems with important applications in industry.

IceLab offers a thriving, creative environment for interdisciplinary research and plentiful opportunity to explore and realize other projects as well.

Admission requirements
The successful candidate should hold a master degree (or equivalent) in mathematics, computer science, physics, or relevant field, and have excellent programming skills using modern languages. Experience in computational or mathematical modelling is an advantage. The candidate should have strong interest in interdisciplinary research, and must be highly motivated and have the ability to work independently as well as a part of the research group. The candidate must be fluent in both oral and written English.

To be admitted for studies at the third-cycle level, the applicant is required to have completed a second-cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from abroad or equivalent qualifications. To fulfil the specific entry requirements to be admitted for studies at the third-cycle level within the subject of computational science, the applicant is required to have completed courses applied mathematics, computer science, physics or relevant field comprising at least 120 credits.

The procedure for recruitment for the position is in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance (chapter 12, 2§) and the decision regarding the position cannot be appealed. The recruitment aims at a balanced gender distribution, and in particular women are encouraged to apply.


The application should include:

  1. A cover letter with a brief description of qualifications, research interests, and motivation.
  2. Curriculum vitae.
  3. Copies of relevant degree diploma(s).
  4. A list of university courses with grades.
  5. A copy of master thesis and publications (if any).
  6. Contact information of three reference persons.

The position is a full-time employment that extends up to four years. If part-time teaching (max 20%) is offered, then the period of employment can be extended. The position will open in September 2017 (exact start date can be negotiated).

For more information, contact Martin Rosvall,
Mapping tools:
Research environment:

Applications must be submitted via e-recruitment system MyNetwork Pro no later than 2017-06-15. Reference number: AN 2.2.1-790-17. Log on to the system and apply via the button at the bottom of the web page.

Umeå University is dedicated to providing creative environments for learning and work. We offer a wide variety of courses and programmes, world leading research, and excellent innovation and collaboration opportunities. More than 4 300 employees and 31 500 students have already chosen Umeå University.

We look forward to receiving your application!


Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
Contract type Full time
First day of employment September 1, 2017, or as otherwise agreed
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-790-17
  • Martin Rosvall, Senior Lecturer, +46 70-239 1973
Union representative
  • SACO, 090-786 53 65
  • SEKO, 090-786 52 96
  • ST, 090-786 54 31
Published 04.May.2017
Last application date 15.Jun.2017 11:59 PM CET

Return to job vacancies