PhD Position: Software architectures for flexible data analytics

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: ;

Are you interested in enabling precise, fit-for-purpose, and trustworthy insights from data? Do you want to design the architecture for the next-generation self-adaptive data analytics framework together with a European team of researchers? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 1 - 1

Job description

Data-driven insights need to be extremely timely, accurate, precise, fit-for-purpose, and trustworthy despite the increasing challenges in extreme data characteristics (volume, speed, heterogeneity, distribution, diverse quality, etc.). A complex data analytics process (involving machine learning) should be flexible enough to be tailored to the properties that the end user cares about such as accuracy, time-to-answer, specificity, recall, precision, resource utilization. The challenge then is: how to design, develop, and deploy data analytics processes that adapt to users’ needs? What would be the essential variability points, design patterns, and useful templates in a software architecture that supports flexible data analytics by design?

To address this challenge, the research will look at the existing software architectures of data analytics and machine learning workflows and devise a new architecture that can accommodate flexibility and runtime change. The work will be part of a European project, ExtremeXP, whose vision is to place the end user at the centre of complex analytics processes and to run experiments (i.e., trial and error) to prune the vast solution space of possible analytics workflows and configurations i.e., “variants”. The envisioned architecture and framework will be able to optimize the properties of a complex analytics process that the end user cares about by associating user profiles to computation variants. By using the architecture in the use cases of ExtremeXP, a set of guidelines and best practices will be devised for user-driven analytics.

The PhD position is embedded in the Software and Sustainability (S2) research group of VU Amsterdam. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to work in the exciting research environment of ExtremeXP which will run in cooperation with 20+ academic and industrial partners from 10 European countries.

Your duties

  • Perform research on the areas of software architecture, self-adaptation, and complex data analytics (including AI/ML) systems.
  • Publish scientific articles and present research results at international conferences and journals.
  • Contribute to teaching and supervising activities (e.g., supervision of MSc and BSc students) at VU Amsterdam.

  • A Master’s degree in Software Engineering, Computer Science or related disciplines.
  • Strong motivation for scientific research in the intersection of data analytics and engineering for self-adaptive systems.
  • (preferred) Background in software architecture and related practices and paradigms.
  • (preferred) Background in data analytics (including AI/ML) systems and related technologies.
  • Good communication, organizational and social skills.

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,541 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,247 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 18 months. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 4 years.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment,
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus,
  • solid pension scheme (ABP),
  • contribution to commuting expenses,
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package.

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to more than 11,000 students.

About the department, institute
The VU Department of Computer Science has approximately 200 staff members, including approximately 110 PhD students.Lecturers form a critical and essential basis for the functioning of the department, providing foundational education that helps determine the future of our students.

Our research and our students are diverse, covering disciplines such as Social sciences, Humanities, Economics, and Bioinformatics. Currently, we offer programs in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Information Sciences (BSc and MSc), and Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (MSc), with a total of around 1000 new students each year.

The PhD position is embedded in the Software and Sustainability (S2) research group of VU Amsterdam, which is responsible for research and teaching on various topics of software engineering, software architecture, sustainability, and self-adaptation.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload the following documents until 

  • Your curriculum vitae, including contact information for at least two academic references.
  • Your transcripts of records including your grades (bachelor and master).
  • A cover letter (max 1 page) explaining your motivation for this position.

We strongly encourage women to apply. If equally qualified, we will choose for a female candidate.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Ilias Gerostathopoulos
Position: Assistant Professor
Telephone: +31 (0)20 5987782 (secr.)

Name: Patricia Lago
Position: Full Professor
Telephone: +31 (0)20 5987782 (secr.)

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