1 PhD/PD position: Photonic Neural Networks for Edge Computing

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 16 Apr 2023

The Eindhoven University of Technology has a vacancy for 1 PhD/PostDoc to work on Photonic Neural Networks for Edge Computing within the Electro-Optical Communication Systems (ECO) group of the department of Electrical Engineering.

Irène Curie Fellowship



Electrical Engineering

Reference number


Job description

The aim of this research project is to investigate and implement novel concepts of optical and electro-optical neural networks (deep, recurrent, neuromorphic, etc.) for optically assisted edge computing.

Research challenges

Proposing a series of innovations in the area of hardware accelerators, design stack and middleware software that revolutionize the ability of edge computing platforms to operate federatedly, leveraging sparse resources that are coordinated to create a powerful swarm of resources is the aim of a newly granted Horizon KDT-RIA CLEVER. Focus Topic is on Processing solutions for AI at the edge, addressing design of accelerators and processing engines, of layer stack and middleware.

Within this project, TU/e aims to collaborate with international and national companies to contribute to ultra-low power non-von Neumann compute architectures for sensor-edge intelligence. This task will explore the practicalities of applying non-von Neumann (i.e. neuromorphic computing) analog-mixed signal computing elements in the form of a programmable hardware platform to sensing applications.

Photonics can play an important role here by designing and developing compact, energy-efficient, low latency and high-capacity computing engines. Several on-chip computing paradigms have already been proposed based on the use of light, but never designed for a specific application in mind nor validated for real applications, if just toy example. A different approach needs to be explored and realized in this program, which starts from application specifications, and proceed with the aimed metrics for the design and mapping of artificial neural networks for computation in photonics. The exploitation of brain-inspired architectures for the design, realization and integration of on-chip processing architecture, as well as for the control plane optimization is foreseen to provide a step-change in the edge AI processing engines and their overall impact on edge computing performance. 

In this research program, the student will understand the edge computing requirements, explore novel optical techniques for neuromorphic computing using different encoding techniques and architectures (all connected and sparse), map these models on chip, realize the chip and envision the chip embedding and interface within state-of-the-art engines. He/she should design and realize integrated optical circuitry which can perform these functions efficiently. The work comprises system understanding, design, simulation, fabrication and experimental activities. The final goal is to demonstrate the feasibility of optical AI chips for edge computing.

The team

The PhD/PostDoc position is within the Electro-Optical Communication Systems (ECO) group, part of the Institute for Photonic Integration (IPI), in the Department of Electrical Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands. ECO has about 30 members, 20 of which are PhD students. The Institute for Photonic Integration (IPI) has five dynamic and ambitious research groups, which are closely cooperating: a systems group, a photonic integration technology group and three materials research groups. Moreover, the newly launched Eindhoven Hendrik Casimir Institute (EHCI), with a predominant focus on neuromorphic and quantum computing, is the ideal eco-system where to develop this research. The PhD student will participate in this international KDT research program and will collaborate intensely with a Post-Doc from TU/e, also involved within the project, as well as with the involved Dutch companies, Innatera (https://www.innatera.com/) and Synopsis (https://www.synopsys.com/ ).

Job requirements

Candidates for this challenging project must have:

  • A Master within Electrical Engineering or Telecommunication Engineering or Applied Physics;
  • Strong background in optics and integrated photonics;
  • He/she must be familiar with optical and electronic laboratory measurement equipment, optical fiber system setups and components, electronic circuits as well as have programming skills.
  • Affinity with AI models;
  • Background in semiconductor devices and general knowledge about semiconductor physics, modelling and component design and knowledge of photonic integration technologies;
  • Independency in thinking and problem solving attitude;
  • He/she must have good communication skills, must be fluent in English, both in speaking and in writing, and must have good team-working capabilities.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process .
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.
  • For a PostDoc; A TU/e Postdoc Association that helps you to build a stronger and broader academic and personal network, and offers tailored support, training and workshops.

Information and application

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?
Please contact dr. Patty Stabile (r.stabile[at]tue.nl) or Diana Patterson (d.kiss[at]tue.nl).

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact HR Services Flux, hrservices.flux[at]tue.nl.

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page .


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button. The application should include a:

  • A cover letter explaining: 1) your motivation for applying to this position, 2) background and qualifications for the position, 3) the proposal for a research plan for next four years, based on the project description.
  • A detailed Curriculum Vitae (including a list of publications and awards),
  • Contact information of two reference people,
  • Copies of diplomas and a list of your courses taken and grades obtained,
  • Half-page summary of your MSc thesis,
  • Proof of English language skills (if applicable), and
  • All other information that might be relevant.

We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible.

You can apply for this vacancy before April 16th , 2023. 

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary please combine files.

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