PhD position in CS & AI on Algorithms for the Dutch Railways

PhD position in CS & AI on Algorithms for the Dutch Railways

Published Deadline Location
9 Oct 15 Nov Delft

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Job description

PhD position in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at Delft University of Technology in a challenging project on algorithms for scheduling under uncertainty, and making these work for the Dutch Railways (NS)

Are you interested in developing new algorithms, extending state-of-the-art AI techniques, and prepared to take-on a real-life problem involving trains?

Join us in a team that considers the operational scheduling of matching arriving train units at a yard to departures, and their routing, shunting, cleaning and maintenance and repair. Given the time tables of the involved railway companies, a plan has to be made for this rolling stock as well as for the people involved. As the number of train units grows, these plans will need to use all resources available (tracks, people), which makes the problem of finding feasible plans more and more difficult.

The main tasks for the PhD student are to work on algorithms and artificial intelligence techniques from the fields of constraint programming, mathematical optimisation, evolutionary algorithms and/or reinforcement learning to solve such scheduling problems, and to deepen our understanding of these techniques and how they can be successfully combined.

You’ll become part of the Algorithmics research group at Delft University of Technology. In this group, we aim to design, and understand fundamental properties of, planning and coordination algorithms for intelligent decision making in real world applications, such as for predictive maintenance scheduling, coordinating electrical loads within network constraints, or logistic processes on a container terminal. We aim to understand how to build predictive models from data that facilitate effective planning and scheduling algorithms dealing with uncertainty; and how to effectively incorporate behaviour and preferences of stakeholders in the decision-making process. You will also join the respective research group at the NS (in Utrecht) for about two days a week.   


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for excellent candidates who meet the following requirements:

  • a MSc degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Mathematics, Operations Research, or a closely related field;
  • affinity with interdisciplinary work;
  • good programming skills;
  • good English speaking and writing skills.    

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: Temporary.

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.     


Technische Universiteit Delft

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools.


Faculty Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) is known worldwide for its high academic quality and the societal relevance of its research programmes. The faculty’s excellent facilities accentuate its international position in teaching and research. Within this interdisciplinary and international setting the faculty employs over 1100 people, including 225 permanent scientific staff and 500 PhD students. Together they work on a broad range of technical innovations in the fields of sustainable energy, telecommunications, microelectronics, embedded systems, computer and software engineering, interactive multimedia and applied mathematics. The faculty is responsible for the bachelor and master education of over 4000 students, of which the majority is enrolled in Computer Science programs.

The Faculty includes two Computer Science Departments (Intelligent Systems and Software Technology). The two departments closely work together both in research and in education. The departments jointly employ 60 faculty members as well as 10 teaching faculty aimed at supporting the delivery of world class computer science education at substantial scale.

The two departments conduct world leading research in the major computer science disciplines. Their research programs comprise a balanced mix of curiosity-driven foundational research, and use-inspired research in such application domains as health and well-being, creative industry, fintech, logistics, and energy.

Located in a charming college town, TU Delft is the largest and oldest public technological university in the Netherlands. The university is regularly ranked among the most highly-rated worldwide for engineering and technology. Information about academic careers in the Netherlands and working at TU Delft can be found at and 


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • EWI2019-70


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN, Delft

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