PhD Position in Dynamics of Cooperation and Fairness in Artificial Systems-University of Amsterdam-Netherlands

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  • Post Date: October 14, 2021
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Job Overview

PhD Position in Dynamics of Cooperation and Fairness in Artificial Systems

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Meeting today’s major scientific and societal challenges — from over exploitation of natural resources to intergroup conflict — requires understanding the dynamics of cooperation, coordination and conflict in complex adaptive systems (CAS). Artificial Intelligence (AI) is intimately connected with these challenges, both as an application domain and as source of computational techniques: On the one hand, AI suggests new interaction paradigms that involve artificial agents and humans, offering new possibilities to engineer cooperation in multi-agent (hybrid) systems; on the other hand, new learning algorithms provide improved techniques to simulate sophisticated agents and analyse increasingly realistic CAS. These can be used to understand complex social dynamics and as a platform to test real-world interventions. We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to join us at the Socially Intelligent Artificial Systems (SIAS) group and contribute to develop cooperative, fair and inclusive artificial systems with a positive social impact.

The goal of this project is to combine methods from CAS (e.g., dynamical systems, stochastic processes, complex networks analysis) and AI (e.g., multi-agent learning, game theory, machine learning) to understand cooperation in multi-agent domains (from distributed AI to online planforms). We intend to formalize models to infer the evolution of behaviours in populations facing collective action dilemmas — that is, situations where benefits are only attained when a minimal level of cooperation is achieved. How can algorithmic recommendations and artificial agents contribute to sustain long-term cooperation in such settings?

In this position you will work in a highly stimulating research environment, both multi-disciplinary and international. You will interact with faculty and other PhD students at the Informatics Institute and the Civic AI Lab — a new research lab formed as a collaboration between The University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Free University of Amsterdam (VU University), the City of Amsterdam and the Ministry of Interior Affairs. Do you combine a strong computational/mathematical background with curiosity, passion for scientific research and eagerness to comprehend social dynamics in hybrid systems where AI and humans co-exist? Do not hesitate to reach out to us to get more information and apply.

What are you going to do

This project will be conducted at the Informatics Institute of the University of Amsterdam (Socially Intelligent Artificial Systems group, SIAS) under the supervision of Fernando P. Santos.

You are expected to:

  • read scientific literature on the topics of multiagent systems, game theory, dynamics on complex networks and algorithmic fairness;
  • develop and analyze new models combining complex adaptive systems and multi-agent learning techniques;
  • collaborate with other researchers within SIAS and the Civic AI Lab;
  • regularly present results at international conferences and workshops, and publish them in proceedings and journals;
  • assist in relevant teaching activities;
  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within four years.

What do we require

  • A Master’s degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Computational Physics, or a related field.
  • Strong interest in computational/mathematical modelling.
  • Experience in multiagent systems, game theory (evolutionary or algorithmic), dynamical systems and/or complex networks analysis.
  • Good programming skills (e.g., Python, C/C++, Java, Mathematica).
  • Good knowledge in statistics, probability theory and linear algebra.
  • Strong communication, presentation and writing skills and an excellent command of English;
  • Socially engaged, highly motivated to understand social dynamics, autonomous and creative.

Our offer

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,434 to €3,111 (scale P) gross per month, based on a fulltime contract (38 hours a week). This is 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:

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.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 12 November 2021. We will invite potential candidates for interviews on 22 November 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,
  • a list of all Master-level courses you have taken, with an official transcript of grades
  • a link to a writing sample available online, such as a Master’s thesis, a term paper, or a publication (in case of joint authorship, please clearly indicate your own contribution);
  • the names, affiliations, and email addresses of two or (at most) three people who can act as references for you.

Please mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.

Please note that we will change our recruitment software during the application period. This may cause a change in the recruitment user environment, but does not impact the recruitment process. All applications submitted during the application period will be considered.


How to Apply



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  • Offered SalaryNot Specified
  • Career LevelNot Specified
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  • GenderBoth
  • INDUSTRYEducation
  • QualificationMaster's Degree(M.Sc.)
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