PhD Position in Security and Privacy of Edge AI

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: ;

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate to work on cutting-edge research in the field of security and privacy of edge AI. The successful candidate will work in the Complex Cyber Infrastructure group (Research groups - Informatics Institute - University of Amsterdam ( , under supervision of Dr. Zoltan Mann.

Edge AI refers to the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI), and especially machine learning (ML) applications to a large number of geographically distributed devices with limited computational capabilities (edge devices). This way, large amounts of data produced at the network edge can be processed locally, without the need to send the data to distant data centers. Edge AI has many important applications in various domains, including manufacturing, healthcare, and smart cities.

Existing ML approaches are associated with considerable security and privacy challenges. In recent years, several successful attacks on ML systems have been demonstrated, in which attackers were able to mislead ML systems or to gain access to confidential training data. Given the potentially devastating consequences of such attacks, this has led to great interest in secure and privacy-preserving ML approaches.

Ensuring security and privacy of ML is especially challenging in the edge AI setting, because edge devices are usually resource-constrained, highly distributed, heterogeneous, and prone to attacks. Applying recently proposed solutions for secure and privacy-preserving ML (for example, based on homomorphic encryption or differential privacy) in the context of edge AI is difficult, for example because of limitations of computing power and energy consumption.

Thus, there is a need for research on secure and privacy-preserving ML that takes into account the specific properties and limitations inherent in edge AI.

What are you going to do

You are expected to:

  • perform original research on security and privacy of ML, taking into consideration the specifics of edge AI;
  • develop new algorithms, models, architectures and tools;
  • complement theoretical work with implementation and validation in practical scenarios;
  • actively participate in the activities of the Complex Cyber Infrastructure group, including project activities and cooperation with partners;
  • contribute to teaching and supervision of students;
  • publish and present your results in renowned international journals and conferences.

What do we require
  • A MSc degree in computer science or related discipline.
  • Strong interest in performing research on security and privacy in edge AI.
  • The ability to quickly acquire knowledge in security and privacy, ML, and edge computing. Previous knowledge in these areas is a plus.
  • The ability to solve complex problems with creative solutions.
  • The ability to pursue ideas through implementation, validation, iterative improvement, and documentation.
  • The ability to study and understand research papers.
  • The ability to clearly explain complex issues in both writing and speaking.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English.
  • The ability to work independently as well as within a team.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of four years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended to a total duration of four years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students. 

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2.434 in the first year to €3.111 in the last year exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3 % end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here .


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • dr. Zoltan Mann , Associate Professor

About us

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The mission of the Informatics Institute is to perform curiosity-driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The main research themes are Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science and Systems and Network Engineering. Our research involves complex information systems at large, with a focus on collaborative, data driven, computational and intelligent systems, all with a strong interactive component.

Job Application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity. The Informatics Institute strives for a better gender balance in its staff. We therefore strongly encourage women to apply for this position.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 18 September 2021. You can apply online by using the link below. 

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a motivation letter and CV, including a list of publications;
  • name and email of two academic references.

We will invite potential candidates for interviews in the last week of September.

No agencies please


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