PhD student position in theoretical computer science and/or combinatorial optimization at the Department of Computer Science at Lund University.
The PhD student will be working in the Mathematical Insights into Algorithms for Optimization (MIAO) group headed by Jakob Nordström, which is active at both Lund University and the University of Copenhagen.
The MIAO research group has a unique profile in that we are doing cutting-edge research both on the mathematical foundations of efficient computation and on state-of-the-art practical algorithms for real-world problems. This creates a very special environment, where we do not only conduct in-depth research on different theoretical and applied topics, but where different lines of research cross-fertilise each other and unexpected and exciting synergies often arise. Much of the activities of the group revolve around powerful algorithmic paradigms such as, e.g., Boolean satisfiability (SAT) solving, Gröbner basis computations, integer linear programming, and constraint programming. This leads to classical questions in computational complexity theory—though often with new, fascinating twists—but also involves work on devising clever algorithms that can exploit the power of such paradigms in practice.
Our most recent new line of research is on how to verify the correctness of state-of-the-art algorithms for combinatorial optimization. Such algorithms are often highly complex, and even mature commercial solvers are known to sometimes produce wrong results. Our work on designing a new generation of certifying combinatorial solvers, which output not only a solution but also a machine-verifiable mathematical proof that this solution is correct, has already led to prestigious AAAI ’22 distinguished paper and SAT ’22 best paper awards for our work, but many more exciting problems are still waiting to be solved!
With this call, we are mainly looking for a mathematically gifted PhD student with excellent programming skills to continue our ground-breaking work on certifying algorithms, funded by the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP). There is some flexibility as to what kind of research PhD students in the group pursue, though, and all candidates are welcome, both those who want to go deep into either theory or practice and those who are inspired by the challenge of bridging the gap between the two.