Call for PhD projects in Mathematics for AI

This call is by invitation only and is targeted towards the members of WASP which are Chalmers University of Technology, Linköping University, Lund University, Royal Institute of Technology, Umeå University and parts of Uppsala University.

Background

The expansion of Artificial Intelligence (AI), in the broad sense, is one of the most exciting developments of the 21st century. This progress opens up many possibilities but also poses grand challenges. The center Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems, and Software Program (WASP) is launching a program to develop the mathematical side of this area. The program will be conducted in close cooperation with leading Swedish universities with an aim to promote the competence of Sweden as a nation within the area of AI.

Aims and call

AI/Math aims at producing a new generation of AI researchers. The graduate program will deliver PhDs that have a strong mathematical expertise and an understanding of at least one application area of AI. These PhDs will contribute to future development of AI in industry and in academia. During their time as graduate students they will also build bridges between the mathematics departments and other university departments as well as industrial partners of WASP. To create a stimulating environment of PhD-students within AI/Math some of these students will hence be affiliated with departments other than mathematics.

The call is by invitation only and is targeted towards the members of WASP which are Chalmers University of Technology, Linköping University, Lund University, Royal Institute of Technology, Umeå University and parts of Uppsala University. An application is submitted by a researcher with a faculty position at one of the universities listed and should be approved by the head of department (or equivalent representative of the university). The application should contain information about the items below. The required format is a single pdf document for which the maximum lengths of each section are indicated below.

  • The area of mathematics that is addressed by the research project. Please also indicate the “forskarutbildningsämne” of the student. 2 pages.
  • A discussion on how this area/project links to AI. 1 page.
  • The CV of the intended main advisor including a description of his/her current research area. 2 pages.
  • For projects of interdisciplinary nature, include a CV of an assistant supervisor from a different field. This is not needed if the project is not interdisciplinary. 1 page.

All documents should be in English.

Evaluation process and criteria

All proposals will be evaluated by the national Program Management group for Mathematics (PMM) within WASP to select a number of PhD student positions for advertisement. The evaluation criteria include:

  • The mathematical quality.
  • The relevance to the foundations of AI.
  • The qualifications of the proposed advisor(s).

After this selection of proposals the PhD student positions are advertised and candidates evaluated by the normal procedures of the respective universities.

The top ranked candidate is submitted to PMM for approval. The group makes a recommendation to the WASP board, which makes the final decision regarding financial support. Evaluation of the submitted candidates will consider grades, mathematical training and other parameters relevant for the position. Candidates are normally expected to have a background sufficient for a PhD position in mathematics, even if the studies are to be carried out in a neighbouring subject.

Research areas

The program supports mathematics relevant to AI, where this concept is interpreted in a broad sense. The call is oriented towards long term relevance and foundations as opposed to immediate applications. The focus is on mathematical aspects, but can also include interdisciplinary projects.

The graduate school

The accepted graduate students are expected to be part of the WASP AI graduate school wasp- sweden.org/graduate-school. The student will of course also be subject to local regulations of graduate studies at his/her host university.

Level of support

A grant covers the salary costs of the graduate student for the duration of the graduate student career, i.e. the cost for four years full time salary possibly spread over 5 years in case the position includes departmental duties. The grant also gives support of 15% of full time for advising, to be split among the advisors. Salary costs are calculated with an “LKP” level of 50 % and may include indirect costs to a maximum of 17.5%. A grant also includes costs related to the project, such as travel expenses, up to a yearly level of 40k SEK. All costs related to participation in common graduate school activities are covered separately.

The target of this call is to fund a total of 15 graduate students.

Additional details

The questions of gender balance and diversity are of central importance. For a position which has two excellent candidates of which at least one is of under-represented gender the possibility of hiring two candidates will be discussed with the hosting university.

Applications should be received by October 25, 2019 at https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=math4ai2019. A short email from the head of department indicating support of the project should be sent to position@wasp- sweden.org. One email covering all proposals within the department is sufficient.

The decision on which graduate student positions should be advertised will be taken by December 4. Last day to get final funding approval for a candidate: May 31, 2020.

Any questions in connection with this call should be directed to Johan Håstad, by email to johanh@kth.se or by calling 070-565 5211.