[Computer-go] Ph.D. Position on Learning Online Search-Control Knowledge for General Game Playing (Maastricht University, NL)

Winands M (DKE) m.winands at maastrichtuniversity.nl
Thu Oct 23 05:44:52 PDT 2014


Ph.D. Vacancy on Learning Online Search-Control Knowledge for General Game Playing

The Department of Knowledge Engineering (DKE), of the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences (FHS), has a vacancy for a Ph.D. Researcher on the GoGeneral project funded by NWO and DKE. The project, supervised by dr. Mark Winands (Maastricht University) and prof. dr. Yngvi Björnsson (Reykjavik University), aims to create intelligent programs that can automatically learn how to play many different games at an expert level without any human intervention. 

The domain of General Game Playing (GGP) poses many research challenges in several areas of Artificial Intelligence, such as knowledge acquisition, heuristic search, and machine learning. A recent development in GGP is the successful application of simulation-based search methods such as Monte-Carlo Tree Search and Nested Monte-Carlo Search. These search methods overcome to some extent the knowledge-acquisition bottleneck. Still, all relevant search-control knowledge required for expert-level play must be discovered using machine-learning techniques during online play. This is a challenging task, for which more effective methods are required than currently exist. Therefore, this project aims to develop new and more methods for online learning of search control, which will lead to improved search algorithms. 


Successful candidates are expected to meet the following requirements:

- A M.Sc. degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Knowledge Engineering, or Applied Mathematics. Candidates expecting to graduate by 1 February 2015 can also apply.
- Proof of excellence and ambition.
- An enthusiastic and cooperative working attitude.
- Perseverance to meet the targets that are set.
- Good communicative skills.
- A strong background in programming.

Preferred skills are as follows:

- Experience with C++ or Java.
- Strong self-motivation and drive.
- Fluency in English.


-  PhD position for four years (full time, 38 hrs/week, yearly evaluation)
-  Gross salary ranging from Euro 2083 (1st year) to Euro 2664 (4th year) gross per month
-  Holiday allowance (8%), end-of-year bonus (8.3%)
-  Stimulating scientific environment
-  Excellent facilities for professional and personal development


UM (www.maastrichtuniversity.nl) is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 16,000 students and 4,000 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair number of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.

Founded in 1992 as part of the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, today DKE (www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/web/Schools/DKE.htm) broadly covers Knowledge Engineering in research and teaching. DKE comprises three internationally respected research groups, having their foci on "Robotics, Agents and Interaction", "Networks and Strategic Optimization", and "Biomathematics and Bioinformatics". Education programs currently offered by DKE are Knowledge Engineering (Bachelor), Artificial Intelligence and Operations Research (both Master). DKE has been top-ranked in Keuzegids Hoger Onderwijs (2014). With respect to both research and teaching DKE is engaged in various national and international collaborations.


Informal inquiries concerning this position can be directed to dr. Mark Winands (m.winands_at_maastrichtuniversity.nl).

Applicants are asked to email a curriculum vitae and the name of at least one reference to  Recruitmentfhs at maastrichtuniversity.nl with relevant vacancy number (AT2014.201) in the subject line before 1-12-2014. 


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