PhD on Event-based Communication Algorithms for Knowledge Transfer with Distributed Digital Twins

PhD on Event-based Communication Algorithms for Knowledge Transfer with Distributed Digital Twins

Published Deadline Location
16 May 11 Jun Amsterdam

Job description

A digital twin (DT) is a virtual representation of a physical object, system, or process (including cities, and even ecosystems), synchronised with the real-world entity it replicates by using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, such as sensors and actuators. By applying digital technologies, such as AI, data analytics and computer simulations, a DT application can be used to experiment, simulate, analyse, and optimise the behaviour, performance and maintenance of the real-world counterpart, including its interaction with other objects or systems.

Critical infrastructures, such as wastewater treatment ecosystems, employ digital twins to monitor and control their facilities. In such complex infrastructures, many separately-controlled systems are participating as interdependent autonomous entities. In order to create a better holistic digital representation of the environment, we need to ensure that effective knowledge transfer is taking place between such autonomous entities. Knowledge transfer mechanisms should take into account that these entities have different authorization levels, different levels of environment representation, different target interests, yet ultimately affect the same ecosystem. You will need to define a logical representation of the environment and its events, create a distributed partial knowledge system, define an efficient event-based communication mechanism, develop a real-time communication framework for distributed DTs, and evaluate it in a real use-case scenario.

If you have an interest and background in the fields of knowledge and data representation, complex event processing, formal AI methods, sensor data analysis, smart environments and context awareness, and would like to apply your knowledge to building a communication model and framework for distributed DTs, this PhD position is for you.

PhD project is a part of the “Intelligent Wastewater Treatment: Distributed Digital Twin for Clean Water (DDTclean)” project, funded by the NWO Merian Fund. The main use-case in this project is the distributed DT of an intelligent wastewater treatment ecosystem, which has many independently-working units.

What are you going to do?
Your tasks and responsibilities:
  • perform novel research in the area of event-based communication algorithms for digital twins, defining formal models, engineering respective software frameworks, scientifically testing and evaluating your approach;
  • establish collaborations with other project partners and beyond, integrating your results into complex systems where possible;
  • publish and present your work in journals and international conferences;
  • be an active part of the Informatics Institute, in particular, Intelligent Data Engineering (INDElab) and Complex Cyber Infrastructures (CCI) groups, and their activities;
  • assist in educational activities and supervision of bachelor and master students;
  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years.

Your daily supervisor will be Dr. Victoria Degeler.

What do you have to offer?
  • A Master’s degree (or equivalent) in computer science, artificial intelligence or a related subject (or be close to completing the degree);
  • demonstrated interest in AI reasoning systems, knowledge representation, context-aware pervasive computing, machine learning and data analysis, software engineering;
  • good programming skills;
  • high motivation in pursuing academic research;
  • fluency in English, both written and spoken.

Our offer
A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). The preferred starting date is as soon possible. This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,770 in the first year to € 3,539 in the last year (scale P). UvA additionally offers an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%. The UFO profile ‘PhD candidate’ is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park, we offer you multiple fringe benefits:
  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • Multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • A complete educational program for PhD students;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • Partly paid parental leave;
  • The possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • A pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • The possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • Help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.

Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.

About us
The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science (FNWI) has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 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 (IvI) 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.

The position is affiliated with two groups. The Intelligent Data Engineering Lab (INDElab) investigates intelligent systems that support people in their work with data and information from diverse sources. INDElab performs both applied and fundamental research informed by empirical insights into data science practice. The Complex Cyber Infrastructure (CCI) focuses on the complexity of human-made systems on all scales. The challenges are addressed by combining methods and results from research into distributed data processing, programmable networks, policy reasoning and normative control, hardware and cryptographic security, and software (language) engineering.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?
Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Job application
If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 11 June 2024.

Applications should include the following information (all files apart from your CV should be submitted in one single pdf file):
  • a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
  • a letter of motivation;
  • an example of your academic writing (e.g. a master thesis, or your publication);
  • previous education diplomas (e.g. Master’s and Bachelor’s);
  • the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation.

Please make sure to provide ALL requested documents mentioned above.
You can use the CV field to upload your resume as a separate pdf document. Use the Cover Letter field to upload the other requested documents, including the motivation letter, as one single pdf file.

A knowledge security check may be part of the selection procedure. (for details: National knowledge security guidelines).

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered. Please don’t send any applications by email.

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.

If you encounter Error GBB451/ GBC451, please try using a VPN connection when outside of the European Union. Please reach out directly to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

No agencies please.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 12978


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Science Park 904, 1098XH, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 11 Jun 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).