PhD position in Explainable Combinatorial Optimisation

PhD position in Explainable Combinatorial Optimisation

Published Deadline Location
20 May 14 Jun Delft

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 14 Jun 2022).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

PhD position on the intersection between combinatorial optimisation, AI, and explainability

Job description

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate to work on the intersection between combinatorial optimisation, AI, and explainability. Modern optimisation methods are invaluable in assisting decision-makers in complex problems with difficult constraints, e.g., scheduling, production-planning, logistics, and transportation. However a glaring problem is that, even though the final solutions provided by the algorithms may be optimised, it may be difficult to understand the reasoning behind the algorithmic decisions. This is particularly a problem in cases where the algorithm is expected to interact with a human decision-maker who needs to justify the decisions to relevant stakeholders. 

The goal of the project is to develop novel combinatorial optimisation methods that not only exhibit excellent performance, but also concisely break down the main factors behind automated decision-making in a way that is easy for humans to interpret.

The candidate with join the newly formed XAIT Delft AI Lab alongside three other PhD students. The aim of the lab is to develop novel approaches that focus on the explainable aspect of artificial intelligence for transportation and other civil engineering problems and promote AI-related education. XAIT is led by Panchamy Krishnakumari (Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences: Department of Transport and Planning) and Emir Demirović (Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science: Department of Software and Computer Technology).

The position is for five years. The extra year compared to the usual four-year contract accommodates the 20% additional AI-related education related activities.

The PhD student will be supervised by Dr Emir Demirović and Dr. Gonçalo Correia at TU Delft (The Netherlands).


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Key requirements:

  • MSc degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Mathematics, or a closely related field
  • Excellent algorithmic and programming skills
  • Fluency in English


Desirable skills:

  • Knowledge of combinatorial optimisation, e.g., operations research, constraint programming, Satisfiability solving
  • Knowledge of formal reasoning and logic
  • Programming in C/C++
  • Teaching experience, e.g., working as a teaching assistant for a course.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 5-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 3,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

You will be deployed for AI-related education for the usual teaching effort for PhD candidates in the faculty plus an additional 20%. The extra year compared to the usual 4-year contract accommodates the 20% additional AI, Data and Digitalisation education related activities. All team members have many opportunities for self-development. You will be a member of the thriving TU Delft AI Lab community that fosters cross-fertilization between talents with different expertise and disciplines

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact! 


Faculty Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) brings together three disciplines - electrical engineering, mathematics and computer science. Combined, they reinforce each other and are the driving force behind the technology we use in our daily lives. Technology such as the electricity grid, which our faculty is helping to make future-proof. We are also working on a world in which humans and computers reinforce each other. We are mapping out disease processes using single cell data, and using mathematics to simulate gigantic ash plumes after a volcanic eruption. There is plenty of room here for ground-breaking research. We educate innovative engineers and have excellent labs and facilities that underline our strong international position. In total, more than 1,100 employees and 4,000 students work and study in this innovative environment.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02309


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Learn more about this employer


Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you